Joy Bauer https://joybauer.com Life is hard, food should be easy Wed, 17 Feb 2016 12:43:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8.3 Eat Your Way to Beautiful Skin https://joybauer.com/looking-great/food-for-beautiful-skin/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=food-for-beautiful-skin Sun, 14 Feb 2016 18:03:55 +0000 http://www.joybauer.com/?p=4156 There's an important connection between what you eat and how you look.

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There’s an important connection between what you eat and how you look. Learn which foods help you look your best.

A balanced diet is an essential prescription for healthy and vibrant skin. The good news is that the foods that happen to be good for your skin are also good for your overall health.

Many people find that the appearance of aging skin — wrinkles, thickening, discoloration, and decreased elasticity — is one of their biggest beauty concerns. While genetics largely determines when your skin starts to show these signs of aging, and the extent to which it shows them, environmental damage to your skin, as well as damage you cause yourself through lifestyle choices, can greatly accelerate this process.

Skin damage occurs as a result of oxidation, a chemical process in which unstable molecules called free radicals steal electrons from healthy cells. The most damaging oxidative stressors that we expose ourselves to are smoking and sunlight.
Today Show Video: Joy Bauer Talks About Skin and Nutrition

Aside from staying away from cigarettes and using sunscreen when you go out, the next best thing you can do for your skin’s health is to eat a diet rich in antioxidants. These are nutrients that work to defend your body’s cells — including skin cells — against the damage of oxidative stress. You’re probably familiar with some antioxidants, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, and vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene).  Others, which you may be less familiar with, are collectively known as phytochemicals (there are hundreds of them), and they are found in foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and beans.

To keep your skin well-protected and nourished, and to extend its youthful appearance, focus on the foods that are good sources of the following nutrients:

Vitamin C
Vitamin C is involved in the production of collagen (which keeps skin firm) and protects cells from damage caused by free radicals. Scientific studies have found that when lab animals eat vitamin C — fortified food, their skin is better able to fight oxidative damage. It’s important, then, to replenish your skin’s vitamin C stores every day by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables. Good sources include bell peppers (red, green, and yellow), broccoli, cantaloupe, mangoes, oranges, pineapple, snow peas, strawberries, tomatoes, and watermelon.

Vitamin E
Vitamin E helps protect cell membranes and guards your skin against damage from the sun’s UV radiation. Some research has suggested that vitamin E may work in combination with vitamin C to provide an extra degree of anti-aging skin protection. However, because recent studies have raised some questions about the safety of vitamin E supplements, this nutrient should come from your diet, not from high-dose pills. It’s best to stick with food sources like wheat germ, fortified whole-grain cereals, nuts and seeds, olive oil, Swiss chard, and spinach, as well as the small amount of vitamin E found in a multivitamin.

Beta-carotene
Beta-carotene, another antioxidant that’s critical for skin health, is converted to vitamin A in the body and is involved in the growth and repair of body tissues. It may also protect your skin against sun damage. In extremely high doses, however, pure vitamin A from supplements can be toxic, so be sure to avoid them unless a doctor has recommended them and is closely supervising you. Beta-carotene from foods like apricots, cantaloupe, carrots, red bell peppers, mangoes, pumpkin, and sweet potato is sufficient and entirely safe for your skin.
 
Selenium
Selenium is an antioxidant mineral that helps protect the skin from sun damage; it also helps the skin maintain firmness and elasticity. Selenium obtained from food has been shown to reduce sun damage and even prevent some skin cancers in animals. Be sure to avoid selenium supplements, however. The Nutritional Prevention of Cancer Trial found that people with a high risk of nonmelanoma skin cancers who took selenium supplements actually had a 25 percent increased risk of squamous cell carcinomas. The best food sources for selenium are Brazil nuts (no more than 1 or 2 nuts a day because the selenium is so concentrated), tuna (canned, light), crab, oysters, whole-wheat pasta, lean beef, shrimp, whole-wheat bread, turkey, wheat germ, chicken breast, mushrooms, and eggs.
 
 
Omega–3 Fatty Acids
Although not classified as antioxidants, omega–3 fatty acids help maintain cell membranes so that they are effective barriers — allowing water and nutrients in but keeping toxins out. These healthy fats also reduce inflammation throughout the body, which may translate into fewer skin breakouts. Omega-3s also seem to offer the skin protection against sun damage. In a study of skin cancer, people who ate diets rich in fish oils and other omega-3 fats had a 29 percent lower risk of squamous cell skin cancer than those who got very little omega-3 fats from food. Good food sources include wild salmon, herring, mackerel (but not king), sardines, anchovies, flaxseed, walnuts, and soybeans. Read more about Omega-3 Fatty Acids
 
 
This smoothie makes a perfect breakfast!

Joy’s Beauty Blend
Try this smoothie for a big blast of complexion-friendly nutrients – vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, and omega-3 fats.

Serves 2

Ingredients:
2 cold oranges, peeled and cut into sections
1/2  chopped mango, chilled
1/2 cup sliced frozen (unsweetened) strawberries
1 medium carrot, peeled and shredded
1/2 cup plain, nonfat yogurt, chilled
2 tablespoons wheat germ
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

Yields 2 1/4  cups

Nutrient Analysis (one serving)
Calories: 250
Protein: 9 g
Carbohydrates: 48 g
Total fat: 4 g
Saturated fat: 0 g
Cholesterol:  0 mg
Sodium: 72 mg
Fiber:  9 g
Vitamin C:  126 mg (209% DV)
Vitamin A (all from beta-carotene): 5,839 IU (117% DV)
Vitamin E: 3.9 IU (13% DV)
+ Omega-3 fats

Learn more about Food Cures for Healthy Living.
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Which Foods Will Stain Your Teeth? https://joybauer.com/looking-great/foods-that-stain-teeth/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=foods-that-stain-teeth Sun, 14 Feb 2016 18:01:54 +0000 http://www.joybauer.com/?p=4154 If you plan to whiten your teeth, avoid foods that can easily stain your enamel.

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If you plan to use a bleaching kit to whiten your teeth, be certain to avoid foods that can easily stain your enamel.

Q: I’m bleaching my teeth to make them whiter. Is there anything I should eat or not eat to get the best results?A: During the active phase of bleaching, and immediately after, tooth enamel is much more susceptible to stains and demineralization (especially following in-office bleaching, which is more intense). Be careful to avoid eating sugary foods, dried fruits, or other sticky carbohydrates, which can also cause demineralization. In addition, avoid foods that can easily stain your teeth, such as coffee, tea, red wine, tomato sauce, and grape juice — basically, if it can stain your clothes, it might stain your newly whitened teeth.

Dentists typically recommend staying away from any foods that can stain your teeth for three days after each bleaching procedure. And because all whitening products are not created equal, always ask your dentist about the safest way to whiten your teeth.

Want more lustrous locks?
Eat these 7 foods to boost hair–health!

Discover more Food Cures for your health.

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Does Calcium Strengthen Nails? https://joybauer.com/looking-great/does-calcium-strengthen-nails/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=does-calcium-strengthen-nails Sun, 14 Feb 2016 18:00:04 +0000 http://www.joybauer.com/?p=4151 Calcium is great for your health, but taking supplements won't strenghten your nails.

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Calcium does wonders for the body in more ways than one; unfortunately, strengthening nails is not one of its proven benefits.

Q: My nails are always brittle and breaking. I’ve heard that calcium strengthens nails. Will taking supplements help?

A: Like hair, nails are made mainly of the hardened protein keratin, which means that the foods that create beautiful hair also help nails stay strong. For example, protein is necessary for nail growth and strength, zinc keeps nails from weakening, and iron keeps nails from distorting into spoon shapes. Just as high doses of selenium can cause hair loss, too much selenium can also lead to nail loss (yikes!).

Although many people believe that calcium supplements help build strong nails, research doesn’t support the notion. Researchers from New Zealand examined the effects of calcium on nail health. Nearly 700 postmenopausal women took 1,000 milligrams of calcium every day for a year. At the end of the study, the women reported no change in nail strength. So although I heartily recommend calcium for so many different health issues, nail health isn’t among them.

Your nails are a good indicator of overall health and diet quality, so the best prescription for strong, beautiful nails is to eat a well–balanced diet rich in nutrient–dense foods like colorful produce, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy products.

 

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Can Low Iron Levels Cause Hair Loss? https://joybauer.com/looking-great/low-iron-hair-loss/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=low-iron-hair-loss Sun, 14 Feb 2016 17:58:04 +0000 http://www.joybauer.com/?p=4147 If your hair is thinning, it's possible that an iron deficiency is to blame.

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If your hair is thinning, an iron deficiency may be to blame. Ask your doctor for these tests to determine what you can do to help your hair.

Q: My doctor tested my iron level in the office, and it came up a little on the low side, but still normal. My thyroid, blood sugar, and all other blood tests turned out normal. Is there anything else I should test that might explain my hair loss?

A: Since your iron tested low–normal, be sure to eat lots of iron–rich protein (coupled with vitamin C, if you’re vegetarian) for the next several weeks. This will help bring your iron levels back into the mid–normal range.

You might also want to go back to your doctor and ask for a more extensive test for iron levels. There are actually three main tests for iron: serum iron, which measures the amount of iron in blood; ferritin, which is a measure of the amount of iron stored in the body; and TIBC — Total Iron Binding Capacity — which is a measure of how much iron could be/should be in the body.

Many doctors will only test serum iron, but unless you have severe anemia, serum iron can appear normal even if ferritin and TIBC are low. The other two tests are more sensitive. Low ferritin means low iron stores, which means that you may need more iron. High TIBC means that your body has a big gap between how much iron the body has at its disposal and how much it needs. Both of these tests can be used to help diagnose iron-deficiency anemia or pre-anemia. Talk with your doctor about these additional tests. Your iron levels may yet be the problem. You may be a candidate for a supplemental dose, but don’t try self-diagnosing this problem — never take iron pills unless a medical professional confirms you need them.

Want more lustrous locks?
Eat these 7 foods to boost hair–health!

Discover more Food Cures for your health.

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Hair Basics: How Does Food Affect Hair Health? https://joybauer.com/looking-great/about-hair-health/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=about-hair-health Sun, 14 Feb 2016 17:56:16 +0000 http://www.joybauer.com/?p=4143 Dream of having luscious locks? What you're eating has more to do with it than you think.

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Besides the cosmetic reasons for desiring healthy locks, hair is a also a great marker of overall health. A healthy diet, and smart lifestyle changes, can have your hair — and health — looking luscious.

Unless you are balding, chances are good that you take hair for granted. A little shampoo and conditioner, a bit of styling product, and a good hair day is in your future—right? Not necessarily. Like all other body tissues, the state of your hair is related to your overall health and individual physical characteristics.

Hair starts its lifespan in small, sack-like structures in the skin known as follicles. Each follicle produces a single hair shaft composed of a hard protein called keratin, which is arranged in long, tightly bound strands. New growth begins in the follicle and pushes outward so that the oldest part of the hair is furthest from the scalp.

Each hair has a distinct growth cycle — active growth, maturation, and rest. During the resting phase, the follicle relaxes its hold on the shaft, so hair can easily fall or be pulled out. Every hair on your head goes through the growth cycle, but not at the same time. At any given moment, about 15 percent of all the hairs on your head are resting, and therefore capable of shedding . . . in your hairbrush, in the shower, on the bathroom floor. This is totally normal, and is not a harbinger of baldness. Between my two daughters and myself, our shower drain needs cleaning about every two weeks — that’s about all the “resting” hair it can take before it’s thoroughly clogged. Trust me, none of us is even close to bald. But if you have been experiencing unusual hair loss or problems with dryness, splitting, or breakage, or if you simply want to have more beautiful locks, nutrition can help.

What Affects Hair Health?

It is estimated that we each lose about 100 hairs a day. The actual number you’ll lose on any given day depends on how abundant and healthy your follicles are, what medications you’re taking, and many other factors, some of which are beyond your control. For example, the recommendations in this section won’t reverse thinning hair due to male pattern baldness or aging — typical male baldness is genetic. As we age, our hair spends more time in the resting phase, which means that we’ll shed more hair than usual, and it won’t grow back as quickly. For more general hair problems, here are some factors that you should be aware of:

Hormonal Shifts

Both male and female hormones affect hair growth. Male hormones known as androgens — a category that includes testosterone — stimulate hair growth on the face and body, and create fuller, thicker hair on the head. In women, ovaries and adrenal glands naturally produce androgens, but only very small amounts. If a woman suddenly starts growing facial hair, she should see her doctor — it could be a sign of a hormone-related health problem.

For some men with a genetic susceptibility to baldness, normal testosterone is converted to a more potent form of testosterone (dihydrotestosterone, or DHT), which binds to cells in the follicle. DHT alters the growth/shed cycle and eventually kills the follicle. These men find themselves becoming bald in their 20s, a few years after their testosterone levels peak. Because the follicle itself shrinks and dies, this type of baldness is irreversible. Some prescription medications may short-circuit the balding process if caught early enough, though the medications need to be continued for life.

In both men and women, levels of androgens decrease after about age 40, which leads to thinner, slower-growing, less luxurious hair as we get older. In contrast to androgens, the female hormone estrogen slows hair growth and creates a finer, thinner shaft of hair, which is why women are, on average, naturally less hairy than men. After menopause, levels of estrogen fall off dramatically, causing some genetically susceptible women to lose significant amounts of hair. Experts believe that female balding follows a processes much like male balding — without enough estrogen to off-set the tiny amounts of androgens in their bodies, they also can have androgen-related hair loss. But male and female hair loss aren’t identical. While men tend to bald in a distinct pattern that includes a receding hairline and hair loss at the crown, women tend to lose hair evenly, leaving them with a sparse head of hair instead of a totally bald scalp.

When levels of estrogen and progesterone are both high, such as during pregnancy, the combination works to synchronize the hair growth cycles, so more hair is in the growth stage at the same time. In the second and third trimester of pregnancy, the percent of hair in the resting phase falls by one-third to about 10 percent. For those few months, pregnant women have the fullest, richest heads of hair they’ll have in their entire lives. About three months after delivery, the percent of shedding hairs goes back up to 15 percent. As all those synchronized hairs enter the resting phase together, it can look like you’re suddenly losing all your hair. Don’t panic! Once the hair starts to regrow, it returns to its usual growth/rest cycle.

Stress

Stress is one of the most common causes of unusual hair loss. Accidents, major illnesses, severe psychological stress, or other traumatic events can send hair follicles into the resting phase prematurely. Around three months later, when those resting follicles release the hair shaft, large amounts of hair can seem to fall out simultaneously, and for no discernable reason since several months will have passed since the event that triggered this whole episode. Again, getting through this is simply a matter of waiting it out. Your hair should begin to regrow almost immediately.

Lack of Protein

Hair is made of protein. All basic nutrients contribute to keeping us whole and healthy, but protein provides the building blocks that allow us to repair, replace, or grow bones, skin, muscles, and hair. Although we tend to think of dietary protein as coming from steak, fish, chicken, and other meats, it is also found in eggs, legumes (such as starchy beans and lentils), dairy products, soy foods, and — in smaller amounts — some whole grains and vegetables. People who don’t get enough protein in their diets, such as those with anorexia nervosa or who follow any extreme weight-loss diet, will slow the rate of new hair growth. As hair is naturally shed, it won’t grow back as quickly. With enough hair loss, the scalp will start to show through. Starvation also depletes the body of other nutrients important for hair growth and quality. And over the long term, starvation and extreme weight loss will lead to a reduction in hormone production, which can also lead to thinning hair.

Medications and Supplements

Most people understand that chemotherapy treatments for cancer can cause widespread balding, but many other commonly prescribed medications may lead to less extensive hair loss. These include anticoagulants (such as warfarin), antidepressants, oral contraceptives, and medications for blood pressure, gout, or arthritis. In addition, very high doses of vitamin A and selenium are toxic and can cause hair loss. This type of toxicity happens only if you take high-dose supplements, so don’t take individual supplements for vitamin A or selenium. If you take a multivitamin supplement, it shouldn’t contain more than 100% DV for vitamin A (5,000 IU) or selenium (70 micrograms). Better yet, make sure your multivitamin provides 50 to 100% of its vitamin A in the precursor form of beta carotene and/or mixed carotenoids. There is no known chance of Vitamin A toxicity when you’re getting your standard supplemental dose from carotenoids. Because beta carotene in food and supplements is converted to the active form of vitamin A by your body in controlled amounts, you won’t make more than your body needs. Once you stop taking the medication or supplements, hair will usually begin to grow back within a few months.

Thyroid Gland Malfunction and Other Disorders

Thyroid hormones affect the metabolism of all cells, including cells in hair follicles. Too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroid) or too little thyroid hormone (hypothyroid) can result in thin, brittle hair or hair loss. With uncontrolled diabetes, body cells (including cells in hair follicles) starve because glucose can’t get in; and in systemic lupus erythematosus, the body attacks its own collagen, including the collagen in hair follicles. These disorders and many others — including celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease — may cause hair loss or damage by altering cell metabolism or structure. Once the underlying disease is treated, hair growth should return to normal. All cases of unexplained hair loss should be investigated by a physician to rule out the possibility of serious disease.

Now that you know the basics of hair health, it’s time to learn how food can help hair health.
Discover more Food Cures for your health.

 

 

NEXT: How Food Affects Your Hair

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How Food Affects Hair Health https://joybauer.com/looking-great/how-food-affects-hair-health/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=how-food-affects-hair-health Sun, 14 Feb 2016 17:52:00 +0000 http://www.joybauer.com/?p=4139 Dream of having luscious locks? Battling thinning or balding hair? Your diet has more to do with it than you think

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Besides the cosmetic reasons for desiring healthy locks, hair is a also a great marker of overall health. A healthy diet, and smart lifestyle changes, can have your hair — and health — looking luscious.

Now that you understand the basics of hair health, the best thing you can do is to start a hair–healthy diet today! By adding the correct foods into your diet you can have a healthier head of hair in less than a year.

Hair is a great marker of overall health. Good hair depends on the body’s ability to construct a proper hair shaft, as well as the health of the skin and follicles. Good nutrition assures the best possible environment for building strong, lustrous hair. But this is not a quick fix. Changing your diet now will affect only new growth, not the part of the hair that is already visible. You could get a completely fresh start if you shaved your head today and started eating a perfect, hair-improving diet tomorrow. Your new head of hair would positively radiate with health. But there’s really no need. Take my word for it: Starting a hair-healthy diet today will mean a more gorgeous head of hair within six months to a year, depending on how fast your hair grows. Hair growth rates vary between about 1⁄4″ and 11⁄4″ per month depending on age, gender, ethnicity, and other genetic and lifestyle factors. On average, a person can expect to have about 6 inches of new growth every year, so it will take about that long to notice the effects of your nutritional changes.

B Vitamins: Folate, B6, B12

These vitamins are involved in the creation of red blood cells, which carry oxygen and nutrients to all body cells, including those of the scalp, follicles, and growing hair. Without enough B vitamins, these cells can starve, causing shedding, slow growth, or weak hair that is prone to breaking.

BEST FOODS FOR VITAMIN B6:Chickpeas (garbanzo beans), wild salmon (fresh, canned), lean beef, pork tenderloin, skinless chicken, potatoes (white and sweet), oats, bananas, pistachio nuts, lentils, tomato paste, barley, rice (brown, wild), peppers, winter squash (acorn, butternut), broccoli, broccoli raab, carrots, Brussels sprouts, peanuts and peanut butter, eggs, shrimp, tofu, apricots, watermelon, avocadoes, strawberries, whole grain bread

BEST FOODS FOR VITAMIN B12:Shellfish (clams, oysters, crab), wild salmon (fresh, canned), soy milk, trout (rainbow, wild), tuna (canned light), lean beef, veggie burgers, cottage cheese (fat-free, 1% low-fat), yogurt (fat-free, low-fat), milk (fat-free, 1% low-fat), eggs, cheese (fat-free, reduced-fat)

BEST FOODS FOR FOLATE:Lentils, black-eyed peas, soybeans, oats, turnip greens, spinach, mustard greens, green peas, artichokes, okra, beets, parsnips, broccoli, broccoli raab, sunflower seeds, wheat germ, oranges and orange juice, Brussels sprouts, papaya, seaweed, berries (boysenberries, blackberries, strawberries), starchy beans (such as black, navy, pinto, garbanzo, and kidney), cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, corn, whole grain bread, whole grain pasta

Biotin

People ask me about biotin for hair health all the time. Usually, they’ve heard about it on a shampoo commercial or read a magazine article that recommended biotin supplements. Biotin is a B vitamin essential for hair growth and overall scalp health. Because our bodies make their own biotin in the intestines, and it is plentiful in many common foods, deficiency is very rare. In those few cases where people are very ill and don’t have use of their intestines, biotin deficiency causes hair loss. So yes, biotin is important for hair health, but you don’t need to take supplements. Just eat a balanced diet that includes some high biotin foods.

BEST FOODS FOR BIOTIN:Eggs, peanuts and peanut butter, almonds and almond butter, wheat bran, walnuts, Swiss chard, whole wheat bread, wild salmon (fresh, canned), cheese (fat-free, reduced-fat), cauliflower, avocadoes, raspberries

Iron-Rich Protein

Iron helps red blood cells carry oxygen. Iron deficiency can lead to anemia, a condition in which cells don’t get enough oxygen to function properly. The result can be devastating to the whole body, causing weakness, fatigue, and possibly hair loss. One large scale study found that premenopausal women who reported severe hair loss were more likely to have low iron reserves (as measured by a test for an iron storage protein called ferritin) than women who reported little or no hair loss. Women of childbearing age are more likely to experience iron deficiency because they lose a significant amount of iron from the blood shed during menstruation. Women with heavier periods will lose more iron than those with lighter flow.

For most people, foods can provide all the iron necessary for good health and strong hair. I recommend iron-rich protein for two reasons. First, protein is necessary for all cell growth, including hair cells. Hair gets its structure keratin, and without enough protein for keratin, your strands will weaken and grow more slowly. Second, the iron found in meat (called heme iron) is more easily absorbed by the body than the iron in plant foods (non-heme iron).

Vegetarians can meet their iron requirement by consuming plenty of iron-rich plant foods like starchy beans, lentils, and dark leafy greens. Vitamin C improves the body’s ability to absorb non-heme iron, so vegetarians should eat iron-rich foods and foods rich in vitamin C at the same meal. Before menopause, women may want to consider taking a multivitamin that contains iron.

 

BEST FOODS FOR IRON-RICH PROTEIN:Clams, oysters, lean beef and lamb, skinless chicken and turkey (especially dark meat), pork tenderloin, shrimp, egg yolks

BEST IRON–RICH PROTEIN (vegetarian sources): Tofu, tempeh, soybeans (edamame), lentils, starchy beans (such as black, navy, pinto, garbanzo, kidney), black-eyed peas

BEST IRON–RICH VEGETABLES (low in protein, but offer ample iron):Spinach, seaweed, Swiss chard, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, mustard greens, kale, broccoli

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is necessary for hair health for many reasons. Vitamin C helps the body use non-heme iron — the type found in vegetables — to assure that there is enough iron in red blood cells to carry oxygen to hair follicles. Vitamin C is also used to form collagen, a structural fiber that helps our bodies — quite literally — hold everything together. Hair follicles, blood vessels, and skin all require collagen to stay healthy for optimal growth. For example, some of the first signs of severe vitamin C deficiency are tiny bumps and red spots around the hair follicles on the arms, back, buttocks, and legs. These bumps are caused when tiny blood vessels leak around the follicles. Hair growth is also affected. On the body, the small hairs on arms and legs can become misshapen, curling in on themselves. On the head, even minor vitamin C deficiencies can lead to dry, brittle hair that breaks easily.

BEST FOODS FOR VITAMIN C:Guava, bell peppers (all colors), oranges and orange juice, grapefruit and grapefruit juice, strawberries, pineapple, kohlrabi, papaya, lemons and lemon juice, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, kidney beans, kiwi, cantaloupe, cauliflower, cabbage (all varieties), mangoes, white potatoes, mustard greens, tomatoes, sugar snap peas, snow peas, clementines, rutabagas, turnip greens, raspberries, blackberries, watermelon, tangerines, okra, lychees, summer squash, persimmons

Beta Carotene

Beta carotene in foods is converted to vitamin A in the body, and vitamin A is necessary for all cell growth, including hair cells. A deficiency can lead to dry, dull, lifeless hair, and dry skin, which can flake off into dandruff. Note that you can have too much of a good thing when it comes to vitamin A — excessive amounts can cause hair loss. My advice is to add more beta carotene–rich foods to your meals rather than take vitamin A supplements. If you should choose to take a multivitamin, check the label to make sure that your brand supplies no more than 50% DV of vitamin A in the form of retinol. Retinol is listed on supplement labels as palmitate or acetate. The other 50% or more should come in the form of beta carotene or mixed carotenoids, which are converted to vitamin A only as we need it.

BEST FOODS FOR BETA CAROTENE:Sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, butternut squash, turnip greens, pumpkin, mustard greens, cantaloupe, red peppers, apricots, Chinese cabbage, spinach, lettuce (romaine, green leaf, red leaf, butterhead), collard greens, Swiss chard, watercress, grapefruit, watermelon, cherries, mangos, tomatoes, guava, asparagus, red cabbage

Zinc

The mineral zinc is involved in tissue growth and repair, including hair growth. It also helps keep the oil glands around your hair follicles working properly. Low levels of zinc can cause hair loss, slow growth, and dandruff. The amount you get from eating foods rich in zinc is plenty to keep your tresses gorgeous. Aside from a multivitamin that provides up to 100% DV, I don’t recommend taking extra zinc supplements because excess zinc can inhibit your body’s ability to absorb copper, a minor but necessary mineral.

BEST FOODS FOR ZINC:Oysters, lobster, lean beef, crab, ostrich, wheat germ, skinless chicken or turkey (especially dark meat), lean lamb, clams, mussels, pumpkin seeds, yogurt (fat-free, low-fat), pork tenderloin, starchy beans (such as black, navy, pinto, garbanzo, kidney), lentils, black-eyed peas, soybeans (edamame), lima beans, pine nuts, cashews, peanuts and peanut butter, sunflower seeds and butter, pecans

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