Our knowledge of the importance of gut health has increased in recent years. Researchers  are making connections between gut health and many diseases. From weight management to diabetes, the health of your gut has far reaching consequences that can surprisingly extend to hair health.

Having a healthy, balanced diet that contains plenty of fiber can help support the good bacteria in your gut. These beneficial bacteria can in turn help your gut synthesize nutrients that are critical for the growth of healthy hair.

Beneficial Gut Bacteria

The good bacteria in your gut supports quality digestion, regulates your immune system and enhances brain health. It is also responsible for breaking down the food you eat into tiny particles called micronutrients. These micronutrients that are broken down by gut bacteria include vitamin K, B12, B3, folic acid and biotin, all of which are essential for the health of your hair.

In fact, biotin helps breakdown amino acids which produce keratin. Keratin is an important protective protein in hair. When your body doesn’t have the ideal balance of gut bacteria, the process of absorbing biotin and other nutrients can be disrupted which could affect the health of your hair.

Importance of Fiber

So why is fiber so important? Fiber provides food for the beneficial bacteria in your gut and supports the growth of good bacteria. A recent review of the literature found that diet and gut health are directly related and that fiber-rich foods benefit the gut microbiome

Could fiber rich foods be the natural beauty secret for shiny, sleek hair? When it comes to the health of your hair, what takes place inside your body may be just as important as your favorite hair products. The following are the healthiest sources of fiber to help your gut give you the best hair possible.

Legumes

Legumes like lentils, black beans, peas, lima beans, garbanzos, and peanuts are packed with protein, fiber, and other nutrients that can support your overall well-being as well as the health of your hair. Legumes are rich in B vitamins which are essential for the metabolism of protein and vital for hair growth.

Legumes help produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) that support your intestine cells and enhance the absorption of micronutrients. They also nourish your gut flora and help to regulate your gut microbiome.

Fermented foods

Fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi and miso are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and probiotics. Eating fermented foods infuses your gut with healthy bacteria. These fermented foods can benefit digestion and the absorption of nutrients, which can in turn, improve the health of your hair.

Avocado

Avocados are loaded with dietary fiber and healthy fats. Additionally, avocados may improve your gut health by increasing the good bacteria found within your gastrointestinal tract.

A recent study found that people who ate an avocado every day had more diverse gut bacteria compared to people who did not eat avocado. Not only does avocado help your gut help your hair, but it is also chock full of hair-friendly nutrients like biotin and vitamin E.

Whole Grains

The fiber found in whole grains helps to nourish, grow, and maintain healthy bacteria in your gut. Moreover, whole grains are loaded with B vitamins, iron, and zinc, all of which will help support the health of your hair. Sources of whole grains include brown rice, whole wheat pasta, oats, quinoa, and barley.

Green Leafy Vegetables

Green leafy vegetables are loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Emerging research suggests that leafy greens are essential in feeding good gut bacteria and limiting the growth of bad bacteria.

Dark green leafy vegetables are also an excellent source of vitamins C and A. These vitamins are required to produce sebum. Sebum, secreted by hair follicles, is an oily substance that can act as a natural hair conditioner. Examples of green leafy vegetables include collard greens, kale, spinach, swiss chard, and beet greens.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends that you have 25 to 30 grams of fiber each day. While it may seem achievable, most Americans only get half of that amount.

While trying to increase your intake of fiber-rich foods, you may also consider supplemental pre and probiotics to improve your gut health. What’s in your pantry and fridge may hold the secret to helping you get the thick, healthy hair you’ve always wanted.

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