As with skin, the appearance of your hair is often a reflection of your health, nutrition, and wellbeing. Celebrity hair stylist and founder of Mane Addicts Jen Atkin recommends you nourish your hair from within. See her thoughts on the best food for healthy hair to grow longer, add shine, and boost volume.
How hair is structured
Your hair is made up of two structures that explain a lot about how to best grow healthy hair that is stronger, longer, shinier, and fuller.
The follicle starts at the root, and extends all the way down into the dermis of the skin. Hair follicles play an important role in the health of your hair due to their structure: The base is where tiny blood vessels nourish your cells, important for keeping hair hydrated and healthy. Two sheaths additionally surround the follicle and meet at the opening of a sebaceous (oil) gland. This oil gland is important because it produces sebum, which is what hydrates your hair (and skin) for the appearance of shine and health.
The second part of your hair is the shaft, or the part of your hair that is visible. The shaft is made up of a protein, keratin, which is the same hard protein that can be found in the dead cells at the surface level of your skin.
The structure of your hair shows the vital role of nutrition on hair health. When your hair is dry or dull, it is lacking the oil and moisture necessary to sustain texture and volume. Since your hair is made up of keratin, it is important to keep these proteins strong and vital. And because the follicle and root is connected to your capillaries, it’s critical to maintain a nutrient-rich blood supply — which you can do by choosing food for healthy hair.
Jen Atkin’s Top 3: Foods for Healthy Hair
According to Jen Atkin (celebrity hair stylist & CEO of Mane Addicts) good nutrition is essential for healthy hair. “I always recommend my clients eat healthy fats for stronger, shinier hair.” Here she shares her favorite food for healthy hair!
“Walnuts – they are rich in omega oils, biotin, vitamin E, and copper (which keeps your hair color looking rich).”
Walnuts are a great food for healthy hair both to lock in color and improve hair vitality. Your body uses copper to make melanin, what gives your hair & skin its color. A 2012 study found that low copper intake could be linked to early graying. In addition, the vitamin E in nuts and seeds such as walnuts, almonds, fennel and sunflower seeds benefit blood flow to the scalp, bringing oxygen and nutrients to the hair follicles that keep hair looking and feeling flawless!
“Eggs – they contain keratin protein (the same type our hair is made from), biotin, and iron (which carries oxygen to the hair follicles).”
Biotin is a powerful vitamin in its ability to promote cell growth and repair damage caused by oxidative stress to the hair. Packed with biotin and keratin, eggs are amazing for keeping hair strong and preventing breakage that impedes growing it out. In addition, eggs contain iron to carry oxygen to the hair follicles, so that your strands are nourished, healthy and shiny. Extra tip: Eggs are not only a great food for healthy hair, but make for an amazing DIY mask. Combine 1 egg with 1 part olive or coconut oil, add in warm water for a smooth consistency and mix into dry hair. Leave in for 20-40 minutes depending on hair thickness and rinse out for shinier, softer hair!
“Avocado – it is rich in omega oils, which help create stronger, shinier hair.”
Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids have been found to significantly reduce hair loss. These fatty acids feed the oil gland that surrounds your hair follicles, keeping your scalp and hair hydrated for a natural shine. While omega-3 can be found in fish including salmon, mackerel and sardines, a vegetarian/ vegan form can be found in avocado, fennel seeds, and in supplemented by plant-based healthy fats such as black currant seed oil.
Ready to see how nutrition can improve the look and feel of your hair? Jen Atkin recommends HUM’s Runway Ready as a weekend hair essential, a great supplement to your favorite food for healthy hair. See how HUM’s Runway Ready combines plant-based healthy fats from black currant seed oil, vitamin E from sunflower seed oil and a vegan formula biotin to support healthy, glamorous hair.