How A Vegan Diet Affects Hair & Skin
There’s a realm of health, ethical, and environmental reasons for which some desire a plant-based diet, but is it desirable for your skin? What about your hair? Consider these benefits and risks of a Vegan diet in relation to hair and skin before you make the switch!
Some automatically associate the word Vegan with the image of a big and colorful feverous salad. However, a diet can be fully vegan yet dangerously lacking in nutrient-dense foods. For this reason, Vegan doesn’t always mean “healthy”, but a mindful vegan diet or any diet comprised of whole foods like greens, fruits, nuts, seeds, and plant-based saturated fat like coconut oil holds promising benefits for hair, skin, and overall health.
The right vegan diet can have qulities that help drastically reduce toxin intake, support the body’s detoxification processes, and increase absorption of water, vitamins, and fiber leaving less chances that skin inflammations will manifest. Plant-based diets in particular have the following pros relative to healthy, glowing skin!
- A high water content to keep skin hydrated
- Varieties of colorful and raw/blanched fruits and vegetables providing antioxidants, minerals, and phytonutrients
- No hormone-laced dairy products that can lead to inflammation and acne
- Lots of fiber
- And potentially less toxins
When it comes to maintaining healthy hair, vegan diets get a bit more tricky.
Protein, iron, zinc, vitamin B, biotin, and omega-3 fatty acids are all crucial parts of a diet conducive for growing and maintaining strong healthy hair. Lean red meat is rich in protein, iron, and zinc which help follicles to grow. Protein promotes cell growth and hair strength, and may be harder to consume from plants alone. Iron in plant-based foods may be lower and less available for the body than iron from animal sources. Eggs are a suggested source of healthy fats and B vitamins, also essential for hair growth and hydration.
Since these key nutrients are found easily and in bioavailable form from animal products like eggs, meats, fish, and dairy, which the vegan diet does not include, you will want to be sure to find other substantial sources for these nutrients. A deficiency will put you at greater risk of hair loss and a dry, itchy scalp!
What to Eat
Be sure to include some of these powerful Vegan-friendly foods – avocados, kale, acai, cacao, chia seeds, almonds, walnuts, and tahini!
- Avocados have healthy fats that promote moisture and strength to prevent breakage.
- Chia Seeds are also a good protein source and are rich in calcium, iron, and B vitamins, which help promote strength and growth.
- Almonds provide protein as well as a large amount of Vitamin E. This will help improve collagen for hair growth and strength. Vitamin E further helps hair resist breakage with elasticity and moisture.
- Kale is rich in iron and B vitamins.
- Cacao contains iron, zinc, protein, magnesium, and even a few B vitamins.
- Walnuts have omega 3 fatty acids and B vitamins.
- Acai is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, protein, B vitamins, and antioxidants.
- Tahini made from sesame seeds is packed with iron, zinc, and calcium.
If you already maintain a well-balanced diet and still struggle with skin irritations or hair loss, consult with your doctor or dermatologist as many factors can contribute to hair and skin changes.