Foods that promote healthy hair and skin

Photo courtesy of Metro Creative

The secret to beautiful skin and hair may be hiding in plain sight at your local supermarket.

Millions of people across the globe deal with conditions that affect the skin and hair. Acne is a skin and hair ailment that, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, is the most common skin condition in the U.S.

But what if the foods people eat could affect the health of their hair and skin? There is evidence that they can. Foods that contain certain nutrients, phytochemicals and enzymes may help people develop healthier hair and skin.

Blueberries: The U.S. Department of Agriculture gave blueberries its top ranking for antioxidant activity. The antioxidants in blueberries neutralize free radicals and protect people from premature aging, which can help the skin look younger and more vibrant.

Eggs: Eggs are great sources of protein and biotin, which are two nutrients that may help promote hair growth. The health and wellness information site Healthline.com says biotin is essential for the production of a hair protein called keratin.

Fatty fish: Fatty fish, such as salmon, are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Ciara Foy, a Toronto-based holistic nutritionist, says about 3% of the hair shaft is made up of omega-3 fatty acids. They are also found in cell membranes and in the natural oils that keep the scalp and other areas of the skin hydrated.

Red bell peppers: These peppers contain more vitamin C than oranges. According to dermatologist Dr. Julia Carroll of Compass Dermatology, vitamin C is an antioxidant precursor to collagen production, so consuming more vitamin C through foods can neutralize free radicals that could damage skin.

Spinach: Trade lettuce for spinach, which is rich in calcium, iron, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids and more. These nutrients can be the building blocks of healthy skin and hair.

Oysters: Nutritionist and author Lisa Drayer says oysters are good sources of zinc, which aids in skin cell renewal and repair.

Coconut: Coconut water is great for hydration and contains potassium, an electrolyte that moves nutrients into the cells. Coconut oil can also be used to boost hair health as a pre-wash conditioning treatment.

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