Celeb nutritionist, Ayurveda expert, and Well+Good Council member Kimberly Snyder has incredibly glossy, thick, and gorgeous hair. (Get this woman a shampoo contract, stat!) What’s her secret? Eating a variety of nutrient-rich, strand-strengthening foods. Here, she shares five foods to incorporate into your diet for healthy hair that *gleams*—plus recipes to along with them.
Gorgeous, thick, healthy, shiny hair is at the top of most of our beauty wish lists. It may feel like such an unattainable goal—or something that costs a fortune—but I promise you it’s easier than you might think! For years I, too, was unable to grow healthy hair. I pulled the frizzy, coarse locks I did have into a bun all the time—so much so that some friends called me Bun Head. (Yes, seriously.) Then, after creating my Beauty Detox philosophy (and reconstructing my diet and my gut health), my hair started to grow in shinier and healthier than ever. Today, it’s nearly to my waist. I want you to have your own amazing hair success story, too.
Certain foods pack a major punch when it comes to you creating your beautiful hair. Here are some of the big ones.
Radishes are rich in vitamin C, silica, folate, and B6. They can contain antioxidants and compounds to help dissolve mucus and fight off the free radicals that cause oxidative damage to your scalp. Good scalp health is crucial for hair growth (after all, that’s where it grows from). In short, the antioxidants in radishes can lower the risk of hair falling out or prematurely graying.
Radishes also help dissolve mucus, which is key to better circulation, which helps more nutrients and oxygen circulate to your hair follicles for better growth and health. Radishes’ content of omega 3-fats also helps with optimal circulation.
Did I mention that radishes are also a phenomenal source of iron? This essential mineral aids in improving circulation in the scalp, which is crucial for strong, healthy-looking hair.
Eat it now: Radishes add some satisfying crunch to any dish. Try them in my refreshing Radish & Asparagus Salad.
If your tresses are looking thin, you may not be getting an adequate amount of easily absorbable protein in your diet. Absorbable protein is the key. One of the major misconceptions is that protein is protein and you absorb whatever a label or chart says you do. Not so! We are what we digest, not what we eat.
Animal protein, for instance, is heated and changes from raw pink chicken or meat to a white or brown color. In the process, a lot of the amino acids are denatured. And unfortunately, most of us have compromised guts and abilities to digest, which the right kinds of digestive enzymes can really help with. Ingesting free-form amino acids that your body can easily uptake and utilize—like the kind in nutritional yeast—can also help supply your hair with the protein it truly needs to be strong. Nutritional yeast contains a whopping 9 grams of protein in just three little tablespoons. Pretty amazing, huh?
That’s not all, though. A serving of nutritional yeast also packs a slew of essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. In fact, it’s chock-full of B vitamins, which support healthy hair.
Eat it now: Nutritional yeast is known for its nutty, cheese-like flavor, which makes it a great addition to a variety of recipes (as well as a great cheese substitute). If you’re not sure where to begin with this versatile food, sprinkle some on Dharma’s Kale Salad for a satisfying lunch.
These amazing hair-supporters are high in omega-3 fatty acids, and when submerged in water or other liquids, create a cleansing gel of both soluble and insoluble fiber, which sweeps junk out of your digestive system, thus allowing you to absorb more of the vitamins and minerals that are crucial to hair health. And on top of that, chia seeds have a high concentration of amino acids and antioxidants themselves.
Eat it now: If you’re craving a creamy treat for breakfast or dessert, whip up my Chia Seed Delight recipe.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a list of health foods that almonds isn’t on, but did you know that they’re a great food for your hair? These nuts are extremely high in vitamin E, which is key for maintaining smooth, supple, hydrated skin. And the fact is, dehydrated skin can negatively affect circulation, thus leading to stunted hair growth or even breakage.
Eat it now: Don’t forget to soak your almonds in water overnight and then rinse them the following day. Believe me, the effort is well worth it! This step ensures that you’re digesting the nuts’ nutrients most effectively. Then you can use them in a variety of recipes, like my Raw Chocolate-Covered Almond Donut Holes, which are sure to satisfy any sweet tooth.
If you’ve read The Beauty Detox Solution and The Beauty Detox Foods, you know that vitamin A plays a major role in cleansing both the liver and the blood. And as a result, this antioxidant helps other nutrients to travel to your scalp and hair follicles much easier. Vitamin A also works in conjunction with vitamin C to develop sebum, an oily secretion that prevents hair dryness—or worse, breakage. Luckily, dark leafy greens like spinach are a wonderful source of vitamin A. In addition, spinach is pretty rich in zinc, which is critical for hair cell growth and renewal.
Eat it now: Of course, an easy way to incorporate some spinach into your diet is with my Glowing Green Smoothie. But you can also use it in a range of other dishes, like a comforting Spinach, Veggie, and Red Lentil Stew.
Eager to see a thicker, shinier, stronger head of hair? It’s simpler than you think—though, beauty, you must be patient! Growing healthy hair is a long-term play, and one that can be supported with a lifestyle of nutrient-dense plant foods, including the ones on our list. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll have that beautiful crowing mane of your own.
Kimberly Snyder, CN, is a member of the Well+Good Council and the New York Times best‐selling author of The Beauty Detox Solution, The Beauty Detox Foods and The Beauty Detox Power, and co-author of Radical Beauty, with Deepak Chopra. Her popular beauty blog, KimberlySnyder.com, features Ayurveda-inspired recipes and products—and she’s also the creator of Glow Bio, an organic juice, smoothie, and cleanse company.
What should Kimberly write about next? Send your questions and suggestions to email@example.com.
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