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FEATURES Jan 16 2013 6:30PM

Healthy Hair From the Inside Out

by Savvy Brown
Your head is attached to your body, but for some reason we all look at our hair as if it’s a separate entity. If you’ve recently made the decision to take better care of your hair, consider taking better care of your body too. Add more of the following the foods to your diet and not only will your hair look better, but you’ll feel better as well.
Wild caught salmon- is an excellent source of protein (one of the building blocks of healthy hair) as well as Omega 3 fatty acids, which help keep hair and nails strong. If your hair is dry and brittle, consider adding more Omega 3 to your diet.  Other sources of Omega 3 are mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines and albacore tuna If you’re vegetarian eat more walnuts or consider taking a supplement.
Organic eggs - An amazing source of protein, eggs were getting a bad rap a few years ago in terms of their cholesterol content. scramble up a couple of eggs whites instead, and not only will you get a whopping 12 grams of protein, but you’ll also get B12, niacin and zinc. all of which are essential for healthy hair growth.
Sweet Potatoes- Don’t get excited, this does not mean that if you eat all of Aunt Stacy’s sweet potato pie, that you’ll experience better growth. (Something will grow, but it won’t be your hair!). A baked sweet potato a couple of times a week however, is a really good source of beta carotene, which your body turns into Vitamin A. It’s essential for protecting the natural oils (sebum) in your scalp and skin. If you suffer from dandruff, try increasing your Vitamin A intake. You can also find Vitamin A in Carrots, cantaloupe, mangoes, pumpkin, and apricots.
Spinach- Popeye was on to something. Another excellent source of protein. Spinach is also full of iron, beta carotene and Vitamin C. All of which improve circulation at the the follicle level and help grow hair. Kale, broccolli, caollard greens and other dark green leafy vegetables are excellent sources as well.
Kidney Beans- Many women with extremely dry hair suffer from a biotin deficiency. Biotin helps Kidney beans are an excellent source of both biotin and protein and are a staple in a vegetarian diet. Black beans are also a good source, as well as swiss chard, rasberries, almonds, oats and halibut.
Water- You know how drinking water is good for your skin right? Well guess what you scalp’s made of? You guessed it! Skin. However, if you’re dehydrated, you can slow down the reproduction of new skin cells as well as hair growth, because your body is busy trying to keep all of your other organs working properly due to the drought.
Other factors to consider:
Stress- this has been known to cause hair thinning and hair loss and in extreme cases, even alopecia. Things like meditation, yoga, tai chi and quigong are all known to have very positive effects on the heart and lungs which in turn oxygenate the blood better and make us feel better. If the eastern arts aren’t your thing, then try walking for 20-30 minutes a day, just to clear your head.
Exercise - Regular exercise not only contributes to a healthy heart, but healthy hair growth as well. Aerobic exercise releases endorphins that reduce cortosone(it’s a hormone that causes hair follicles to stop activiating), and increases serotonin(that’s the “happy” hormone) which makes us feel good and stimulates circulation.
When grocery shopping stay away from the inner aisles, stick to the produce, dairy and meat departments and stop bringing home packaged goods. Most packaged good are laden with preservatives, that’s what gives food “shelf-life”, but we’re in turn, putting those chemicals into our own system. Really can’t live without those cookies? Fine, but don’t buy them in a box. Find a simple recipe like this one and make them yourself. Make this year one where you not only look great, but feel great!
Savvy Brown is a naturalista, geek, greenie-in-training and the creator of Savvy Brown, a blog about green, healthy living on a budget.


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