Thursday, May 1, 2014

Men's Health: Top 10 Foods That Improve Your Hair

Having a full head of hair isn’t every man’s dream. In fact, some men embrace their baldness, but let’s face it: If you do have hair and want to stay looking as young as possible, then you probably want the hair on your head to be thick, lustrous and shiny.
While all the secrets to healthy hair haven’t been figured out, scientists have identified a handful of nutrients that relate to hair health in some way or another. Include foods with these nutrients in your diet, and you’ll be improving the chances of keeping your mane as full as ever.

Aside from keeping your bowels running like a Porsche 911 Carrera S engine, prunes can also help improve your hair because they are one of very few non-meat sources of iron. Although it’s not exactly clear how iron helps hair, it is well known that individuals who are iron-deficient can experience profound changes to their hair including hair loss, dryness, thinning, stiffness, and discoloration.

Green peas
Although you don’t often see green peas labeled as a superfood, it might be a good time to start regarding them as such. It’s not that they’re teeming with antioxidants or any specific vitamin or mineral. No. On the contrary, green peas are instead very well balanced, offering a vast array of vitamins and minerals in reasonable amounts, including those that are important for healthy hair, like iron, zinc and B vitamins (deficiencies of these elements have been linked to unhealthy hair changes).
We already know that we should limit our red meats, but for men trying to build muscle, finding a protein replacement can be tough. Well, how about shrimp? Not only are these tiny crustaceans delicious served over pasta and red wine, but they’ll also help you keep your hair! Shrimp are an excellent source of vitamin B12, iron and zinc — key vitamins and minerals that you’ll need in your fight against hair loss.

Steel-cut oats
Like prunes, oats are loaded with more than enough fiber to help you maintain a healthy heart and bowels, but beyond fiber, oats are also jam-packed full of other important nutrients, like zinc, iron and omega-6 fatty acids. Also known as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), omega-6 fatty acids are essential to normal skin, hair growth and development. Omega-6 fatty acids are also essential in the sense that they must be obtained from the diet — so don’t be afraid to throw down a nice big bowl of oatmeal now and again.

Kidney beans
Legumes like kidney beans have long been touted for their healthy-hair-promoting properties. Not only are they a great non-meat source of iron and zinc, but they’re also a great source of protein. Studies have shown that severe protein deficiency can lead to unhealthy hair or hair loss and thinning, more specifically. In fact, changes to hair were even considered as a means of identifying protein malnutrition in hospitalized patients back in the 1970s.

Pound for pound, walnuts are incredibly hair-friendly. Not only do walnuts have more omega-6 fatty acids than any other food, but they’re also full of zinc, iron, B vitamins (B1, B6 and B9), and plenty of protein. Of note, however, walnuts also contain a small trace of selenium, a mineral known to cause hair loss in people who are selenium-deficient or have way too much in their system.

Pumpkin seeds
Like walnuts, pumpkin seeds are loaded with all the nutrients that your hair could ever want, like protein, omega-6 fatty acids, zinc and iron. What’s even more exciting is that pumpkin seeds, like other seeds, can be easily combined with nuts for a delicious trail mix. Just throw together a handful of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, almonds, and raisins in a bag, and you have yourself the perfect hair-revitalization snack!

You’d probably never guess it, but eggs will put some hair on your chest (and they’ll help maintain the hair on your head, too). That’s because eggs contain major hair nutrients in large amounts. This includes protein, vitamin B12, iron, zinc, and even omega-6 fatty acids. Deficiencies in any of these have been linked to unhealthy hair. Eggs are also a rich source of biotin (vitamin B7), which is often prescribed alongside other medications to fight hair loss.
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Calf liver
No one ever said eating healthy was easy. Though you might not consider calf liver a necessary component of a well-balanced healthy-hair diet, it’s tough to ignore the fact that each ounce of liver gives you almost three times the daily requirement of vitamin B12, along with a hearty serving of biotin, other B vitamins, iron, zinc, and protein — many nutrients that promote healthy hair. So, next time you’re staring at the meat rack in your local grocery store, just remember that there were reasons your mom made you eat liver and onions besides as punishment.

While you might find few things more disgusting than peeling back a tin of sardines only to catch the sight and smell of several small fish all lined in a row, some men actually welcome the taste of this smoky treat. Maybe it’s time you did, too. Not only do sardines come fully loaded with protein, iron, zinc, and an insane amount of vitamin B12, but sardines are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids and the ever-important vitamin D, both of which have been linked to preventing hair loss in chemotherapy patients. When it comes to healthy hair, sardines are a man’s best friend.

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