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5 Foods for Healthy Hair!

When it comes to healthy hair, it’s not just the shampoo and conditioner you use that can make a difference. What you eat can have an impact as well. Find out what foods Dr. Weil recommends for healthy hair!

Whole foods rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc and biotin may help promote a healthy scalp and hair. Add these foods to your grocery cart - think of them as ingredients in a healthy hair recipe!

  1. Dark leafy greens. Kale, Swiss chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens are good sources of vitamins A and C, which the body needs to produce the oily substance sebum, a natural conditioner for your hair.
  2. Salmon. Omega-3 fatty acids, of which wild-caught salmon is an excellent source, are important to a healthy scalp. Salmon (choose wild Alaskan salmon) is also a good source of protein. If you don't like the taste of fish, try a high-quality fish oil supplement.
  3. Beans and legumes. They are a good source of protein which helps promote hair growth, as well as iron, biotin and zinc. (Biotin deficiencies can occasionally result in brittle hair.)
  4. Nuts. Specific varieties of nuts contain vitamins and minerals that can help promote the health of your scalp. Brazil nuts are a good source of selenium (limit yourself to no more than two Brazil nuts per day). Walnuts provide the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid, which may help condition your hair, as well as zinc, which can minimize hair shredding. Cashews, almonds and pecans are other hair-healthy choices. Aim for raw varieties as often as you can, or lightly toast yourself if an added crunch is needed.
  5. Eggs. A good source of protein, which helps prevent dry, weak and brittle hair. Choose organic, omega-3 fortified eggs from cage-free hens.

4 Ways To Promote Healthy Hair, Nails and Skin

Certain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are important for healthy hair, nails and skin. Find out which ones provide the most benefit.

In addition to eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as wild Alaskan salmon and freshly ground flaxseed, and taking care to use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 when needed with the goal of avoiding sunburn, certain supplements may help promote healthy hair, nails and skin. Consider the following:

  1. Evening Primrose Oil - nourishes skin, hair and joints by supplying essential omega-6 fatty acids.
  2. Omega-3 - provides the much-needed fatty acids EPA and DHA.
  3. Vitamin D - supports bone and immune health.
  4. Milk thistle - supports a healthy liver and provides natural antioxidant capabilities.

Hair Growth Hope

Here's some good news for men (and for women) worried about hair loss. Researchers in Japan have zeroed in on a substance that may turn out to be an effective treatment to address thinning hair, although so far, it has worked only in mice and has not yet been tested on humans. The substance is propolis, which honeybees use to seal small gaps in their hives. Humans have used propolis and honey from ancient times as treatments for tumors, inflammation and wounds, and these natural substances contain compounds that fight fungal and bacterial infections. More recent research has found that propolis stimulates the activity of cells involved in hair growth. A team from Japan's Hokkaido University tested the substance on mice that had been shaved or waxed and found that the animals treated with propolis had faster fur regrowth than animals that were shaved/waxed and not treated. The scientists also reported that after propolis was applied to shaved mice, the skin cells involved in hair growth increased in number. They also noted that in some cases hair loss is due to abnormal inflammation and that propolis contains anti-inflammatory compounds and might be useful for treating some inflammatory conditions associated with balding. More study is needed to determine whether propolis can help humans regrow hair.

My take: For centuries people have used propolis on wounds and as a remedy for ailments ranging from acne to cancer, osteoporosis, itching, and tuberculosis. Today, it is used in the manufacture of chewing gum, cosmetics, creams, lozenges and ointments. I consider it safe and useful as a home remedy and recommend it as a topical treatment for uncomplicated wounds and, when used as a gargle or in spray form, as a remedy for sores and irritations in the mouth. Tincture of propolis can also be used to treat canker sores and sore throats. You can find it in various forms in health food stores or source it raw from beekeepers. We'll have to wait for clinical trials to see if propolis can actually promote hair growth in humans.