Are Carbs Good For Your Hair?

Almost everyone has a tempestuous relationship with carbohydrates. Some people’s eyes glaze over in reminiscent bliss. Others save their carb allowance for an indulgent Sunday, while a select few simply run away screaming. Inevitably, the debate rages on: bread or no bread? Salad or french fries? Fast day or free day? Well, the reality is that your body—especially your hair cells—need carbohydrates to function.

Carbohydrates Are a Source of Energy

Carbohydrates provide you with energy, and as the second fastest growing cells in your body, your hair cells need a lot of energy to grow (and keep growing). Hair is also a non-essential tissue, so your brain will never send nutrients its way if another part of your body is lacking. Carbohydrates also give your body the fuel to use proteins in cell repair and growth. Lack of dietary carbs can cause increased hair shedding and hair failing to grow past a certain length—as well as general tiredness.

All Carbs Are Not Created Equal

Now, I’m not suggesting you charge for the nearest cookie jar (which is fine in moderation). What I’m talking about is complex carbohydrates. These contain particular sugar molecules called polysaccharides, which provide a slow-release of energy to the body. They don’t give you that sugar high and the crash that often occurs after eating sweets (mono-saccharides). Great hair-healthy complex carbs include baked or boiled potatoes, rice, grains and whole-grain breads, cereals and pasta. What’s more, complex carbs not only provide energy, but depending on which one you choose also contain fiber, essential B vitamins and other important vitamins and minerals. Include a varied selection of complex carbs in your diet for maximum benefit.

Watch The Clock

I suggest you also snack on a complex carb between meals if longer than four hours pass. Energy to your hair cells drops after this time, which could lead to shedding. If you’re traveling, make sure you have a healthy complex carbohydrate snack on hand so you don’t cave in and eat candy at the airport.

Feed Your Scalp

While complex carbs will help hair growth from the inside out, don’t forget to help your hair from the outside in as well! For an added boost to your hair growth, try using the Philip Kingsley Stimulating Scalp Mask ($30) once a week, plus their daily Scalp Toner ($34). So refreshing.

Note: This post was originally written by Anabel Kingsley for Travel Beauty

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Check out Rita Hazan’s Beauty File. She is also a hair expert. She colors Beyoncé’s hair (!!).  And don’t forget how to eat for beautiful skin and hair.

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