Feed Your HeadJun 27th, 2012 | By Madame_Libertine | Category: Columns, Contributors, Madame Libertine
Well, at least your hair and scalp.
If you know me, (and now if you don’t) you know I have changed my diet to being primarily vegetarian, with a few exceptions along the way. This happened naturally, and I love how I’m feeling, so I will continue.
I had a client in a couple weeks ago who was complaining about her hair being weak and brittle. My first question was “Are you vegan or vegetarian?” She is. When we eliminate certain foods from our diet, the foods that literally feed our hair and skin and nails, we compromise our natural luster. The solution for this client was as easy as suggesting an amino acid in vitamin form. Amino acids being the building blocks of proteins we take into our bodies. Amino acids help our bodies derive more protein from the non animal protein sources we eat. Hair being essentially a protein by-product, needs protein to be healthier.
This, I knew. It got me thinking more about the right nutrients to have better health of not just hair, skin and nails, but our entire bodies. How I love practical research. Really, I do.
We can use food to heal our bodies, yes, vitamins are the easy option, but ya gotta eat , why not eat foods that make you healthier?
Sebum, the natural oils our bodies produce to keep us “well oiled”, is your hair’s natural conditioner. It’s what keeps our skin softer than old leather. Sebum is good unless you produce too much . Vitamins A and C are needed to produce sebum. If you tend to have oilier hair, you may not need to increase this. A and C can be found in leafy green vegetables–spinach, kale, swiss chard, romaine lettuce, and the like. Vitamin C is also in citrus fruits, as most of us know. Biotin deficiencies can lead to brittle hair as well, calcium is also important for healthy hair growth. Biotin and calcium as well as protein (in many cases) can be found in peanuts, almonds, tuna, pork, bananas, papayas, carrots, avocados, tomatoes, milk (cow or goat- any mammal milk) salmon, and swiss chard, to name a few. Omega fatty acids are also important. These gems help strengthen our hair (only one of the benefits of omega fatty acids). Salmon, as well as sardines, and olive oil are a few examples of where these can be found.
Iron and zinc, as well as biotin, are wonderful for a healthy scalp–these can all be found in legumes such as lentils, beans of any kind, garbanzo, and black beans, to name a few. Iron, again, is present in leafy greens.
Some sea vegetables also containing iron are arame, hijiki, combu, wakame, and kelp. Part of what makes sushi so nutritious is the kelp or seaweed used as the wrapper to hold all the nom inside. Also with sushi, you are getting omega fatty acids in their purest form–raw. I like to experiment with foods, so I frequent Asian markets. Nori is the seaweed or kelp that has been made into pulp, then spread into thin sheets , then lightly toasted to remove moisture. If you don’t care for sushi, you might try making a thin slice, or chiffonade, of the nori, and use it to make a steamed fish entree or salad. Some vegan chefs are suggesting using nori like you would a tortilla or flatbread for endless sandwich wrap possibilities. Nori can make an interesting sandwich that will put all kinds of vitamins and minerals in your body, as well as being something the co-workers will think twice about snitching a bite. Unless you work with health minded folk, like my salon. Those of us who feed our bodies nutrients vs. processed lunch meats and chips, tend to share. Hey , eating better makes one more generous! If you come into The Hair Forum, and we have a bounty of fresh fruits, it’s pretty common to be offered a snack of fresh fruit. One of the little ways we say “We care about you!”
I am not a licensed nutritionist, just a girl with a thirst for knowledge and an appetite for nutritious foods. I’m geeking on nutrition these days. I also want to add that you should see your physician before you dramatically change your diet. Some health conditions exist where people should avoid certain vitamins and foods.
Here’s to your health!