Beauty Booty: Good Food For Good Hair

by Rachel on September 17, 2009

I’ll be the first to admit, I have a serious preoccupation with my hair. (I’m a Leo. And I’m half-black. It’s a double whammy.) On good hair days, I think I can change the world; on bad hair days, I think I am going to die alone. Anyone else feel this way?

For those of you who haven’t met me, my hair possesses two notable characteristics: serious mass, mostly from the roots, which means I will never need Bump-Its, and a strange/awesome ability to not move once it’s styled. Figuring out how to manage this mane was one of the greatest challenges of my life. (God…that sounds shallow.) I just want it to be shiny. It just wants to be dull.

My uncontrollable desire to constantly try new products has led to overflowing bins of hair products under my bathroom sink. But, turns out, I was better off focusing on what’s in my kitchen. I’ve talked about this before, but the day I went into my hairdresser 15 pounds lighter and came out with hair four inches shorter was the day I knew my eating habits were not healthy. I turned to a lot of foods to make my hair healthier, shinier, and stronger. And it worked! I got my hair done (OK–“did”)  on Saturday and she told me I do not have the same hair anymore…and that is a very good thing!

If you want to improve your hair, add these items to your cart!

Protein. Without adequate protein, your hair is going to get brittle and thin. Whether you’re a picky eater, vegetarian, or chronic dieter, listen up: unless you’ve been dying to try the G.I. Jane look, get enough protein! (Don’t know how much you need? Divide your body weight in pounds by 2.2 and times that by 0.8 for an approximate number of grams to get.)

Fat. All those “good” fats: monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, omega-3s, omega-6s. They will make your hair shinier, and will keep your scalp flake-free. Fatty cuts of steak and waffle fries aren’t going to do it; switching to olive oil and vinegar salad dressing from your usual sugar-free, fat-free stuff might. (If you do up your fat intake, make sure to adjust your overall calorie intake accordingly, lest you end up with seriously shiny hair and serious muffin top.)

Biotin. This B vitamin is pretty much the magic hair vitamin. It really encourages hair growth. After my new haircut, I started taking biotin a supplement to grow some thick hair ASAP. I knew it was working when my nails started growing super fast, I had to get my roots touched up every six weeks instead of eight, and my hair turned into a mushroom cloud once again!

Iron. This mineral is NFA. It’s like an ex-boyfriend who tries to ruin your life when you dump him. So get enough or it will exact its revenge on your hair and other bodily systems!

Salmon. I know I have a huge crush on fish this week, but salmon is just great for hair. It’s an awesome source of low-fat protein and it contains OMG!-3s, which will give your hair shine and keep your scalp healthy.

Whole eggs. Eggs are another really good source of protein, contain many hair-improving vitamins and minerals, pack a little fat, and are cheap and easy to make. Get cracking!

Nuts. Almonds, walnuts, peanuts…these all-stars are high in many good hair vitamins and minerals, like Vitamin E, zinc, and biotin, and they have protein and healthy fats.

Avocados. Another yummy way to get good fat and Vitamin E. Guac for good hair? Don’t mind if I do!

Sweet potatoes, carrots, red peppers, spinach. These foods contain Vitamin A and Vitamin C, which keep your scalp healthy by producing the oil called sebum. A healthy scalp is crucial to healthy hair.

Whole grain cereals and breads. Carbalicious foods contain hair-happy vitamins and minerals like zinc, iron, magnesium, and copper.

Bottom line: there’s no point in spending all your hard-earned cash on Kerastase if you won’t spend an hour in the grocery store!

Speaking of good hair, have you seen the trailer for Chris Rock’s documentary “Good Hair”? He was inspired to make it after his 3-year-old daughter asked him why she doesn’t have good hair. It looks hilarious, but also so relevant. And who knew Chris Rock was such an awesome dad? I can’t wait to see it!

And did you see Tyra’s “real hair” debut last week? Honestly, I was so disappointed…I thought she was going to be bald.

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