Tag Archives: super foods

5 Nutrient-Packed Foods for Healthy Hair

de5de856512394ea_shutterstock_96575575.previewMany of us assume that buying the best shampoos and conditioners will be enough to keep our hair looking healthy. These products do help to repair existing hair damage but don’t do much to promote new hair growth and cannot replace essential vitamins that we may be missing from our diet. There are certain essential vitamins and minerals that our hair relies upon, and a lack of these is often the source of many hair growth problems. Some simple changes to our diet can really make a big difference to the look of our hair.

Modern lifestyles can also have an impact – a busy lifestyle, lack of sleep, or even pregnancy can seriously make a difference in our hair health. Vitamin supplements have  been proven to help, but if you are looking for the most natural sources of these vitamins then here is a list of 5 food types foods that can help to provide those essential vitamins your hair needs.

Fish

Many sources site that salmon is the number 1 super food for healthy hair. This is because it contains a great combination of essential substances that our hair simply loves. Omega 3 oils help maintain a well hydrated scalp, and many believe this is essential to maintaining healthy hair growth. Oily fish such as herring, mackerel and sardines are rich in omega-3, and salmon is also rich in Vitamin D which is great for your hair follicles.

If you are someone who doesn’t like eating fish then certain vegetable sources can be a great way to get the omega-3 you need. Rapeseed, flaxseed, soya beans, walnuts, almond and even tofu are all good sources of Omega-3.

Vegetables with Beta-carotene

Beta carotene is present in many vegetables and provides us with a great source of Vitamin A. For many people who suffer from dandruff a simple addition of vitamin A to their diet can help solve the problem. Vitamin A helps to promote sebum oil which is our body’s natural conditioner for our scalp. It can also help with hair growth problems as it is said to assist with oxygenating our scalp. Sweet potatoes are known to be one of the best sources, and other vegetables such as carrots, spinach, and broccoli are also recommended.

Oysters

Oysters are also recommended to help fight scalp problems such as dandruff. A lack of zinc in your diet may even be the cause of hair loss, and oysters have a particularly high zinc content. Zinc helps promote the level of androgens in our body, and for some people a low level of androgens has been directly linked to hair loss. Crab, liver and beef are also good sources of zinc.

Eggs and other biotin rich foods

Our hair is essentially built using protein, a nutrient that has been associated with speeding up hair growth. Protein can be found in many types of foods, but eggs are one of the best sources. Another important mineral in eggs is biotin, and those who have a biotin deficiency may suffer from brittle hair. To prevent this, biotin has been proven to be effective from both foods and supplements if needed. Kidney beans and nuts such as almonds and even peanuts are also good sources of biotin.

Fruit and vegetables with Vitamin C

Vitamin C is great for both our hair and skin. Vitamin C helps keep our blood vessels oxygenated, which in turn keeps our hair follicles healthy. Super fruits such as blueberries have a very high level of Vitamin C, and strawberries and citrus fruits are also good sources. Many vegetables such as green beans, spinach and broccoli are good sources, and the old-fashioned rule of eating colorful vegetables can give you a good indication of a high vitamin C content, as well.

You may have identified that one of these essential sources of vitamins is missing from your diet, and that may well be the cause of a particular problem. If you are concerned and believe you may have a nutrient deficiency then simple tests at your doctors can identify what vitamins and minerals you may be lacking. This Women’s Hair PDF can also help you to diagnose any hair health problems you may have!

Seen this title anywhere lately? Well, I have! Whether its popular magazines, book titles, TV segments etc it seems that the Top 10-20 “super foods” are the nutrition topic of the moment.

Here’s the thing, while many of these foods are good, even great for us, their “super-ness” doesn’t hold a candle to some basic “super” nutrition concepts.

  1. Blueberries, broccoli, quinoa, cabbage– yes they are super BUT if we aren’t eating ORGANIC versions super just got served up with chemicals and less antioxidants than its ORGANIC cousin. So go organic with fresh and frozen and get the real benefits of these SUPER foods.
  2. A Super-Sized Super Food eating occasion ain’t So Super – ahh there we have it, everyone’s least favorite health tip: portion control. If we take a super food and have super portions its superness goes away.
  3. Super Foods – Are they Super in any Form? If a super food – say a berry- is super as is, what happens when we make it into a juice, a super fruit smoothie, a super fruit jelly bean (yes they exist), a super fruit leather, super fruit chewing gum – you guessed it, they aren’t so super any more.

And last, but most important, who says those not on the list aren’t super? I think apples are super, and so are lentils, I think parsley is super, and so are its’ song-mates: sage, rosemary and thyme…you get where I’m going with this. While naming a food ’super’ focuses our attention on eating it – if we do so to the exclusion of all else Mama Nature created we lose out on nutrients, variety, the benefits of seasonality and more.

So be a super nutrition sleuth and read / eat beyond the lists of the super 10-20 this year.

Photo: Flickr / leedav

The Secrets of the Super Goji Berry

Have you had your goji berries today?  Personally, I love adding 1-2 tablespoons of dried goji berries to power up my morning smoothies.  Natively grown in central China, this reddish-orange fruit commonly referred to as the goji berry is actually the wolfberry, Lycium barbarum.  Packed with antioxidants like beta-carotene and lycopene, goji berries continue to gain notoriety in the super foods category.  According to traditional Chinese medicine theory, goji berries are nourishing to the liver and kidneys, moistening to the lungs, and supplement the yin. Typical historical include supporting longevity, dry skin, dizziness, diminished sexual desire, low back pain and chronic dry cough.  Some animal studies have shown immune-boosting effects of goji berries, likely attributed to their high antioxidant content.  The dried berries and root bark contain the active constituents.

Many of the highly touted health claims for goji berries (use in cancer, diabetes, arthritis, digestive problems, and weight loss) have yet to be proven by scientific studies in peer-reviewed journals According to a February 2008 article in the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry, more forums to discuss the latest scientific research on the chemistry and biological and physiological functions of "super foods", including goji berries, are necessary.  Goji berries can be consumed raw, in teas, tinctures, and in juices.  While this is certainly a fruit with significant nutritional value, it can come at a premium price.  Please feel free to share your experiences with goji berries, especially any suggestions for healthy treats with them…

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