We are what we eat. Our diet plays a vital role not just in weight management, but for healthy skin and hair as well. Skin health is influenced by both endogenous and external factors. The endogenous or internal cause includes things like our hormones, ageing, and our diet. The external factors are environmental and include ultraviolet radiation and pollution. Since our diet is something we can control, why not eat our way to good skin and hair?
What are the five things you can include in your diet?
Omega-3 is needed for healthy skin and hair. This fatty acid is found in the cells that line our skin and scalp, and they are also needed to provide oils to keep our skin, scalp, and hair well hydrated. Omega-3 fatty acids are important fats that must be obtained in our diet as we cannot make them in our body.
What to eat:
- Oily fishes like salmon, herring, sardines, trout, and mackerel.
- Avocado, pumpkin, nuts, and seeds.
Iron is a very important mineral for healthy hair growth. Insufficient intake of iron may lead to hair loss. Our hair follicles and hair roots get their nutrients from blood, which is made up iron-containing haemoglobin that carries oxygen in our blood. Insufficient intake of iron disrupts the nutrients supply to the hair follicles and roots, thus affecting hair growth, which may result in hair loss.
What to eat:
- Red meats like beef and white meats like chicken and fish.
- Dark green vegetables such as broccoli, kale, and salad greens.
Citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C, another powerful antioxidant that helps slow down the skin-ageing process, thus slowing down the appearance of wrinkles, dry skin, and skin atrophy. Vitamin C is also needed for producing collagen which helps regenerate new skin cells, which helps to repair scars and lighten pigmentations.
What to eat: Oranges, lemon, and lime.
Green tea when consumed orally or applied topically has a protective effect on our skin. This is because green tea is rich in catechin and polyphenols such as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG is a very powerful antioxidant that protects us against ultra-violet (UV) light. It also helps us to reactivate and regenerate new skin cells.
Biotin is a water-soluble B vitamin that is important for healthy hair and nail growth. Insufficient intake of biotin can cause brittle hair and nail, that may lead to hair loss.
What to eat:
- Biotin-rich wholegrain foods such as brown rice, wholemeal bread, and oats.
- Liver and egg yolk.
By Jean Tong, Nutritionist, Halley Medical Aesthetics