As with skin, the appearance of your hair is often a reflection of your health, nutrition, and well being. 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 suggest how to best grow healthy hair that’s stronger, longer, and shinier.
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, which is important for keeping hair hydrated and healthy. Additionally, two sheaths surround the follicle and meet at the opening of a sebaceous (oil) gland. This oil gland is important because it produces sebum, which 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 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 lacks the oil and moisture necessary to sustain texture and volume. Since your hair is made up of keratin, it’s important to keep these proteins strong and vital. Since the follicle and root are connected to your capillaries, it’s critical to maintain a nutrient-rich blood supply. You can do so by choosing food for healthy hair.
Jen Atkin’s Top 3 Foods for Healthy Hair
According to Jen Atkin, good nutrition is essential for healthy hair. “I always recommend my clients eat healthy fats for stronger, shinier hair.” Here, she shares her favorite foods for healthy hair.
“They’re 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 and skin their color. A 2012 study found that low copper intake could be linked to early graying. Additionally, the vitamin E in nuts and seeds like walnuts, almonds, fennel, and sunflower seeds benefit blood flow to the scalp. Increased blood flow brings oxygen and nutrients to the hair follicles that keep hair looking and feeling flawless!
“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. It has the 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. Additionally, eggs contain iron to carry oxygen to the hair follicles so your strands are nourished, healthy, and shiny.
Extra tip: Eggs aren’t only a great food for healthy hair, but make for an amazing DIY mask. Combine one egg with one part olive or coconut oil, add in warm water for a smooth consistency, and mix into dry hair. Leave in for 20 to 40 minutes depending on hair thickness and rinse out for shinier, softer hair!
“It’s 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 natural shine. Omega-3s can be found in fish including salmon, mackerel, and sardines. Furthermore, a vegetarian/vegan form can be found in avocado, fennel seeds, and supplemented 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 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.