Eat Your Way to a More Beautiful Beard
By Elizabeth Narins For Men’s Life Today
There’s not too much you can do about a receding hairline, other than curse your gene pool. But facial hair is a different story. “The condition of your facial hair directly corresponds to the health of your body”, says Jim White, American Dietetic Association spokesman. Specifically, he continues, “The same nutrients that have a positive effect on our heart and other major organs also benefit our skin and hair”.
In other words, you can literally eat yourself to a shinier, smoother, more healthy-looking beard. We asked White to tell us which vitamins are an essential part of a healthy facial hair diet, what they do and how to get them into our diet. The results of our conversation are below.
VITAMIN A AND BETA CAROTENE
How they better your beard: “Vitamin A maintains and repairs skin tissue”, says White. “And keeping your skin healthy allows for better hair growth”. Beta carotene is a nutrient that your body converts to Vitamin A. Since it’s found in foods lower in saturated fats than those rich in Vitamin A, you’re better off eating foods high in beta carotene.
Where to find them: Vitamin A is present in milk, cheese, butter / ghee and egg yolks. Beta carotene is found in yellow and orange produce such as carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes and papayas, plus leafy green veggies like spinach.
VITAMINS C AND E
How they better your beard: Vitamins C and E promote the production of sebum, a natural oil produced by our bodies which lubricates and moisturizes hair, making it look thicker and more lush. Additionally, vitamin C assists in the growth of bodily tissues, including those that make up our skin and hair follicles.
Where to find them: Citrus fruits, green peppers and broccoli are good sources of vitamin C. Wheat germ oil, almonds, sunflower seeds, safflower oil, peanut butter, corn oil, spinach, broccoli, mangoes and spinach all contain high amounts of vitamin E.
How it betters your beard: Our skin and hair are composed primarily of keratin, a structural protein made up of amino acids. We don’t produce amino acids on our own — instead, we need to eat protein, which the body then converts to amino acids.
Where to find it: If you’re non-vegetarian, fill up on fish, lean meats, poultry and eggs. If you’re vegetarian, rice, lentils, beans, milk and cheese all contain protein.
VITAMINS B6, B12 AND BIOTIN
How they better your beard: B vitamins help your body synthesize the protein you eat so it can be used to build new skin cells and hair. Getting enough B vitamins, says White, also helps reduce stress that could lead to hair loss.
Where to find them: Animal products like fish, poultry, lean meats and eggs, as well as nuts and whole grains such as brown rice and oats are full of B vitamins. Foods rich in B12 include mutton liver, milk, cheese and wheat germ.
OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS
How they better your beard: Essential fatty acids are just that: essential to normal growth, including that of facial hair. They also protect cell membranes, helping to prevent your whiskers from getting dry and brittle.
Where to find them: Make sure flax seed oil, walnuts, omega-3 enriched eggs and cold-water fatty fish such as salmon and sardines find their way into your diet.
Want to make your beard even more beautiful? Of course you do! Supplementing the above foods with a multivitamin, or any of the individual nutrients listed above, might do the trick. Just don’t overdo it: You’re body will excrete any extra water-soluble vitamins (such as vitamin C or B12), but it’ll hold onto extra fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin A. Excessive doses of vitamin A could actually lead to hair loss. Ask your doctor to recommend a proper dosage, and you’ll soon be on your way to winning whiskers.
Elizabeth Narins en is group editor of Men’s Life Today and Style and Tech for Men at Studio One Networks. The former YourTango.com Love Buzz doesn’t have a beard, but she can certainly appreciate a healthy-looking one. Follow her @Ejnarins.