It turns out the saying — “You are what you eat” — really is true (especially when it comes to your hair)! We spoke with two renowned experts to get the scoop on what vitamins, minerals and foods to consume to grow stronger, longer, healthier strands.
Losing your hair, or concerned that it’s thinning out? Beyond genetics, a mineral deficiency — especially that of zinc — may be the cause, says Rania Batayneh, MPH, Nutritionist, America’s Eating Strategist and owner of Essential Nutrition For You. While zinc isn’t highly concentrated in the hair, it does help to maintain a healthy scalp and affects your growth as well.
To get your daily dose of zinc, try snacking on Tribe Hummus. Chickpeas, the hummus’s main ingredient, contain zinc, notes Rania. Hummus also provides a great source of protein and fiber, keeping your energy levels up throughout the day.
Hair loss and premature graying are both associated with low levels of B vitamins. To help hair grow long and strong, Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research in the Department of Dermatology at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City, urges women to take their B-complex vitamins. In particular, he recommends Biotin, which is known to aid in healthy hair growth.
As we all know, healthy hair starts at the scalp. And, of course, you can’t have a healthy scalp if you don’t eat the right things. Spinach, like broccoli and Swiss chard, packs numerous vitamins and nutrients that are critical to hair growth. It’s rich in vitamins A and C, which help produce sebum, and also contains the antioxidant Vitamin E, which increases scalp circulation.
For a yummy snack, Rania recommends munching on Veggie Patch Spinach Nuggets. With no artificial flavors or preservatives, these bites are actually good for you, but taste oh-so-delicious! Hey, who knew?
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Physical or emotional stress can trigger hair loss. Three to four months following a stressful event, Zeichner says hairs can be stunned from an actively growing phase and into a resting one. “When this happens, strands may suddenly fall out,” he notes. This is known as telogen effluvium and may take up to a year to right itself. A prime example of this is after a woman gives birth and she experiences hair loss. This is known as postpartum telogen effluvium.