DR. PERRICONE DISCUSSES:

Essential Ingredients for Healthy Hair & Nails

Truly healthy hair and nails start with proper nutrition - transform even the most lackluster strands into a healthy, shiny fuller head of hair with these four essential ingredients.
As we age – and unfortunately, even for many even young people - hair can begin to lose its shine and thickness and nails can become thin and brittle. Hormones play a role; however it should come as no surprise that the secret to thick, lustrous, shiny hair and a healthy scalp lies in the foods that we eat and the nutrients we take on a daily basis. The same is also true for healthy, strong nails and youthful, supple and radiant skin.

Four Essentials for Healthy Hair

There are four ingredients that I consider essential for healthy hair, hair growth and strong nails: protein, Vitamin E, healthy fats and antioxidant rich foods.

1. Protein and Cold Water Fish

Salmon and other cold water fish pack a double whammy for great hair, skin and nails. This is because they are an incredibly beneficial source of both protein and healthy fats. They are rich sources of the omega 3 fatty acids, vital to scalp health and shiny, healthy hair. Rich in long-chain omega-3 essential fatty acids— which not only keep skin young, supple and radiant, but also keep the scalp healthy and the hair strong and shiny.

The high quality protein found in these fish will accelerate cellular repair, keep hair strong and promote hair growth. Protein deficiency will be visible in the skin (especially the face) and hair, worsening as we age.

2. Vitamin E for Capillary Growth

Foods rich in Vitamin E are also essential to healthy hair, hair growth and the prevention of dry, brittle hair. Vitamin E promotes the growth of capillaries, which increases circulation and thereby blood flow to the follicles, and can stimulate hair growth. This fat-soluble vitamin can also help combat split ends and dry scalp.

3. Healthy Fats

Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of Vitamin E and omega 6 fatty acids. They are also great sources of protein, and vitamins and minerals including biotin, potassium, zinc, iron, B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium and calcium.

Olive oil, seeds and nuts such as almonds are excellent sources of monounsaturated fatty acids that promote a smooth and radiant complexion, prevent wrinkles and maintain skin elasticity. These healthy sources of fat also help to increase the strength, shine and thickness of your hair.

Extra virgin coconut oil is a genuine super food for many reasons. The fatty acid profile of coconut consists primarily of caprylic and lauric acids, which support immune function. Researchers have also discovered the lauric acid fraction in coconut oil has antiviral and antimicrobial properties. These antimicrobial benefits are hugely important when it comes to preventing hair loss, because one of the main reasons behind hair fall and hair loss is microbial action on the scalp and hair roots.

The people of Polynesia are known for their long, lustrous and beautiful hair—thanks in part to their consumption of coconuts and their liberal use of coconut oil on their hair and in their diets. Ironically (or not) oily hair is often caused by a dry scalp. Eating the foods rich in healthy fats (cold water fish, nuts, seeds, coconut and olive oils, etc.) will combat this problem working from the inside out.

4. Antioxidants

Citrus fruits, like lemons, limes, and grapefruit, are rich in antioxidants known as limonoids and limonene’s. Vitamin C plays a significant role in the creation of collagen, an essential component of hair and nail growth. Vitamin C also plays a critical role in the assimilation of iron, which is another key element for hair growth. Some lesser known anti inflammatory sources of for vitamin c include cantaloupe, broccoli, bell peppers and spinach.

Supplement Wisely

Other Key elements essential for healthy hair, hair growth and strong nails include:
  • Omega 3 fatty acids, vital to scalp health and shiny, healthy hair and strong nails.
  • The B vitamin Biotin is an essential nutrient that plays an important role in the formation of keratin to support healthy strong nails.
  • Vitamin A also promotes hair growth and helps in the production of sebum contributing to a healthy scalp.

Remember, truly healthy hair, nails and skin all start with the proper nutrition. Following the anti-inflammatory diet and incorporating the right supplement regimen can transform even the most lackluster strands into a healthy, shiny fuller head of hair. Please join the conversation on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

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