Why You Should Be Eating Biotin Instead of Taking Biotin Supplements
Why You Should Be Eating Biotin Instead of Taking Supplements For Healthier Hair
09 . 27 . 18
Biotin boosters have become an all too familiar cure-all for any and all hair-related issues. While it would be great to take a pill and walk away with a mega-glossy and super-strong mane, real life rarely works like that. Though tempting to try, as long as you’re eating a balanced diet, chances are you don’t need them. Instead, try ditching the unnecessary supplements and eat your way to healthy hair. We tapped Brooke Alpert,registered dietitian and author of The Diet Detox, to find what foods we should be eating to maximize our biotin intake, naturally.
“There are many foods that you can incorporate into your diet that are good sources of biotin,” Brooke assures us. Her grocery list includes whole eggs, legumes, almonds, liver and other organ meats, salmon, yeast, milk, cheese, yogurt, mushrooms, carrots, leafy green vegetables, tomatoes, and raspberries. If this feels overboard, fear not—don’t think of anything with biotin in it as calories wasted. “Foods that are rich in biotin are also beneficial for your diet in other ways,” says Brooke, who points out that these foods add healthy fats, vitamins, and fiber. “If you want to eat these foods daily you can,” she adds.
Maximize Your Biotin
There are easy ways to incorporate biotin into your diet in ways you might not have considered, such as replacing a key feature of a routine meal. “Choosing to use some of the above listed foods as healthier substitutes for less healthy choices can be a great way to add biotin to your diet,” Brooke explains. “For example, if you used cauliflower rice instead of white rice, you are getting the benefit of biotin as well as a great source of vitamin C and fiber.”
To get the most biotin possible, choose foods that contain a denser concentration of the stuff. “Legumes, nuts, and seeds have the highest concentrations of biotin and are a great choice as a snack or as part of a healthy meal,” says Brooke. “The recommended daily dosage of biotin is 2.5 mg,” she notes. However, everyone is different when it comes to health and nutrition. “It is always important to consult with your doctor first to make sure it is an appropriate choice for your unique lifestyle and health profile since you can consume too great a quantity of biotin, leading to negative health effects,” she continues.
Though biotin is typically associated with animal-based protein, if you’re vegetarian or vegan, you can still reap the benefits of this B vitamin, naturally. “There are many vegetable-based sources of biotin,” says Brooke. Among her favorites are nuts and seeds, avocados, sweet potatoes, and cauliflower.
Food > Supplements
While you might think you need additional biotin in vitamin-form, as long as you have a healthy diet, it’s pretty unlikely that you aren’t getting enough through your food. “It is rare that people will have a biotin deficiency and should be able to get the appropriate amount directly from their diet,” she notes.
“Many people who choose to add biotin supplements or biotin-rich foods to their diets are looking for more positive outcomes in the appearance of their hair, skin, and nails,” observes Brooke. However, if you are experiencing any issues, it’s a good idea to talk to a medical professional, pretty much 100% of the time. “If you notice unusual changes or problems in these areas, it is always advisable to talk to your doctor to make sure you are not experiencing any other possible health problem with similar symptoms,” she says.
Don’t just eat your way to healthy hair – HERE’s what you need to be snacking on for a healthy scalp.
Salmon or Fish Oil
Don’t sleep on this popular fish option. If you prefer salmon colored blouses to seeing them on the plate, then try a supplement—either way omega-3’s are crucial to maintaining scalp health. “The anti-inflammatory properties [of fish oil] can reduce itchy scalp (especially when associated with psoriasis),” says Naomi Whittel, New York Times bestselling author of Glow15 and founder of Simply GOODFATS. “If you have dry or brittle hair, or a dry or scaly scalp, you could be deficient in essential fatty acids. Plus, this healthy fat plays a vital role in maintenance of healthy skin, scalp and glossy hair.”
Brooke Alpert, registered dietitian and author of The Diet Detox, agrees. “Salmon may improve hair shininess and scalp moisture levels because is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, a healthy fat that can improve the look and texture of hair.”
There are a ton of nuts that will contribute to scalp health, some even contain the same good stuff found in salmon. “Brazil nuts are a natural source of selenium,” says Naomi. “Walnuts contain zinc and alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid that may help hair condition. Pecans, cashews and almonds also contain zinc.” This is crucial as zinc deficiency can lead to hair shedding.
No need to cut poultry out of your diet if you’re eating with your scalp in mind. According to Naomi, poultry is a source of “high-quality protein and iron with a high degree of bioavailability to strengthen hair and promote growth.” Conversely, “weak brittle hair, and the loss of color have been linked to protein deficiency.
Eat your legumes like kidney beans and lentils!
These provide a bevy of the good stuff, including protein, iron, zinc, and biotin. All things that if lacking, “can result in brittle hair,” Naomi reminds us.
These undersea treats are rich in iodine and can help combat hormonal imbalances (often caused by thyroid disorders) that lead to thinning or slow growing hair. “Boosting your iodine levels, can help to add a bit more regulation to hormone production and hair growth,” explains Naomi.
Sweet Potatoes are packed with of beta-carotene, which is converted by the body into Vitamin A.
“Vitamin A deficiency often results in dry skin, which can affect your scalp. Dry skin on the scalp is otherwise known as dandruff. “For a healthy scalp try incorporating more beta carotene into your diet,” says Naomi.
Brooke also has this treat on her list. “Sweet potatoes can help improve scalp health because they are rich in beta carotene which encourages the production of sebum, an oil that keeps the scalp and hair from drying out,” she adds.
The health benefits of Greek yogurt just keep on going. Not only is this probiotic good for you overall, it’s also optimal for scalp health. This is because it “contains vitamin B5 or pantothenic acid, which can improve blood flow to your scalp,” explains Brooke.
Condition with Coconut Oil
You don’t have to tell us twice—we love coconut oil and so does science; Naomi breaks down the facts on why you should def be adding this to your shopping list. “According to a study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Science, this is the only oil that reduces protein loss (which leads to dryness and breakage). The lauric acid in coconut oil is able to actually penetrate the hair shaft, nourishing the hair with vitamins, minerals and the medium-chain fatty acids (MCTs).” When shopping for coconut oil, make sure you opt for organic. “Try a small amount so as not to weigh hair down (a ¼ – ½ teaspoon depending on length and texture) as a leave-in conditioner.”