You might not believe it, but the foods you eat affect more than just your body weight: They affect your appearance. Certain foods are great for your skin, while others are great for your hair. Have you been suffering from dry, brittle hair? What about oily, frizzy hair? Whatever the case, buying another toxin filled shampoo might not be your best solution. You might just need to change your diet. I say this because certain foods are loaded with nutrients that hair needs to stay happy and healthy. One nutrient hair absolutely loves is manganese, which is prevalent in a few of the foods listed below. Just remember: Hair care is not just external or internal, but a mix of both. Along with eating these foods, please try to use gentler, more natural products on your hair, like herbal shampoos and conditioners, and herbal hair teas. Your locks will thank you.
Oats are mineral-rich breakfast staples. They're extremely high in manganese, which helps maintain healthy hair and hair color and supports mitochondrial health. They're also rich in the beauty mineral iron, for strong hair and nails. Oats are high in anti-aging selenium, a powerful nutrient for skin elasticity and production of champion antioxidant glutathione, and vitamin B1, instrumental in healthy nervous system function. For the most beauty benefits, buy gluten-free oats. If not specifically labeled "gluten-free," oats usually pick up gluten during processing in the same facilities as wheat. I highly recommend eating some oatmeal in the morning: I like to mix mine with cinnamon, honey, and some blueberries or bananas. Speaking of bananas...
Bananas are known for their potassium content, which keeps beautifying nutrition and oxygen circulating, and their ability to provide fast energy, which makes them a great snack for athletes. But they also enhance beauty as well as sports performance! Bananas contain an amino acid that boosts healthy hair and nail growth and protects the body from aging free radicals. They also contain silicon, an essential element for strong hair, nails, and collagen. They're easily digested and soothing to the lining of the stomach, and they feed good bacteria in your gut. Since they're naturally sweet and low glycemic, bananas work very well as a sweetener in skin-friendly desserts. The riper the banana, the more antioxidants! I suggest eating them as they are, without cooking them, to preserve their beauty benefits.
Want the hair and nails of a storybook princess? Strengthen both from the inside with biotin-rich chard. Biotin (vitamin B7) helps the body use protein, which is critically important for repairing damage and keeping skin, hair, and nails strong and healthy. A biotin deficiency can actually cause hair loss, so make chard a regular green in your beauty diet. Of course, you'll get more than just biotin from chard leaves. Calorie for calorie, dark, leafy greens like chard deliver one of the most concentrated sources of beauty nutrition. Chard is full of vitamins A and C, two nutrients that are essential for cell repair and healing after a long summer of damage, as well as vitamins E for UV protection, vitamin K and calcium for healthy bones, and lutein, a critical nutrient for eye health that may also decrease wrinkles. I recommend preparing chard by steaming it, since frying food tends to take away some of its nutrients. If you must fry it, pan fry it lightly for a few minutes to preserve its beauty benefits.
When you eat potatoes, make sure their benefits aren't completely buried under not-so-good additives. This spud gets a bad rep if you prepare it in one of its un-pretty forms, like French Fries, potato chips, hash browns, and loaded-with-cheese-and-bacon baked potatoes. To get the most beauty from your potatoes, eat them organic with their fiber-packed skins, and skip the frying, which usually adds trans fats. From one medium potato, you'll get about a third of your anti-aging vitamin C, potassium, and vitamin B6 for the day, plus additional beauty minerals like iron, magnesium, manganese, copper, and phosphorus. Lucky for your lustrous locks that the nutrients B6, iron, manganese, and copper are especially important for strong, vibrant hair.
Not only is zucchini—and yellow squash, a zucchini variety—a seriously low-calorie vegetable (just 20 calories in one small zucchini), but it's also great for your hair! It has essential beauty nutrients (B6 and folate) that leave hair healthy and happy. If you want to get as much hair love in as possible, I suggest adding some zucchini to your eggs (I do this all the time—trust me, it tastes delish). You can cut it up into little bite sized pieces or spiralize them. Better yet, try some zucchini noodles instead of typical pasta. Your hair will love you!