Want healthy, shiny hair and plump, smooth skin? If yes, you need to learn about keratin and collagen and how healthy hair can mean healthy skin. And vice versa. For starters, both hair and skin share a common protein – keratin. Keratin smooths cells that overlap to form hair strands, meaning more manageable hair and less frizz, meaning hair that dries with little frizz and has a glossy, healthy look. Keratin can also reduce the look of split ends by temporarily bonding the hair back together. In the skin, keratin is found on epithelial cells, which line the inside and outside surfaces. Keratin allows for strong moisturizing properties and enhanced skin elasticity.
Collagen – the most abundant protein in the body — also shares these same properties, though only a small amount is found in the outer layers of the hair shaft itself. However, collagen plays a key role in maintaining function of a hair follicle, and collagen is found in the skin tissue surrounding these hair follicles. Collagen improves hair health by providing the amino acids that are used to build hair, helps fight damage to hair follicles, and helps prevent hair thinning and greying associated with aging. Collagen makes up about 75% of the skin, though the body produces less with age. And less collagen means more wrinkles and brittle hair. So as a starter, it’s fairly obvious that collagen and keratin are essential for healthy hair and skin.
You can increase your keratin and collagen by consuming foods high in proteins and nutrients, such as lean meats, fish, yogurt, and other foods containing the essential amino acids that boost keratin and collagen production. Here are 15 superfoods for gorgeous skin and hair.
BERRIES: Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, cherries, and other berries contain antioxidants that are essential to the production of collagen and keratin. Antioxidants can protect you from premature aging, so be sure to include berries as part of your daily diet.
WILD SALMON: Wild salmon is one of the best foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which will keep your skin supple and moisturized. Salmon also contains selenium, a mineral that protects skin from sun exposure.
SPINACH: Rich in nutrients and antioxidants, spinach is loaded with lutein, helping to keep your eyes healthy. It’s also a great source of vitamins B, C, and E, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids.
TOMATOES: One of the best anti-aging lycopene sources is that it’s more easily absorbed into your body when the tomatoes are cooked or processed. So canned tomatoes, juice, and ketchup (though ketchup has a ton of sugar) can give you significant time benefits for your skin and hair.
WALNUTS: A handful of walnuts can give you smoother skin, healthy hair, brighter eyes, and strong bones. Walnuts also contain omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E.
KIWI FRUIT: Loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants, which keep your skin firm and help prevent wrinkles. They’re also great for healthy bones and teeth.
DARK CHOCOLATE: Chocolate contains anti-aging antioxidants called flavonoids that fight free radicals to protect skin from UV damage and help prevent the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and skin discoloration.
YOGURT: Think calcium. One cup of low-fat yogurt has more calcium than one cup of fat-free milk. Calcium is great for your nails and teeth, and Greek yogurt, in particular, contains a good amount of it, as well as protein to maintain healthy skin and hair.
SWEET POTATOES: This superfood can help boost immunity and promote glowing, beautiful skin. Full of beta-carotene and vitamins A, C, and E, sweet potatoes can help maintain bright, healthy eyes, protect your skin from UV exposure, and improve the look of your hair and skin.
So remember that healthy hair means healthy skin and vice versa. Making sure that you have the above superfoods in your diet will help you look terrific.