We get a lot of comments and questions about how to grow your beard to it’s fullest potential. While a good skin care regimen using clean products play a big role in the over all success of your beard game, those elements are really second to taking care of your beard and skin from the inside out. I’m talking about healthy living for a healthy beard.
The conversation on healthy eating can be polarizing. With so many different and very convincing diets out there it’s no wonder why people bounce from one to another, never really getting the full effects of one versus another. The very nature of the word diet is misinterpreted. Your diet is your way of life, not something you do three weeks into June to look better for your July vacation.
Top 5 Tips For A Healthy Beard
Here are my top tips for a healthy diet that will up your overall health and maybe even fill in your beard a little.
Tip 1 - Drink Water
Everyone knows that our bodies are mostly water. We need it for temperature control, cell renewal and organ function. Specifically for hair, water regulates the circulatory system which feeds the hair follicle, then in turn stimulates hair growth. Stay away from sugary drinks. There are 39 grams or 9 teaspoons of sugar in 1 can of soda. While there isn’t a ton of research on the correlation of sugar and hair growth we do know that sugar does increase inflammation and causes spikes in insulin and androgen levels, which bind to hair follicle and can actually cause it to fall out!
Tip 2 - Eat Mostly Veggies
While I could definitely make a strong argument on the benefits of going totally vegan there is no arguing the fact that eating loads fruits and vegetables is best. The simplest way to ensure you are getting a wide variety of vitamins and nutrients is to eat a variety of color.
Red and orange foods are rich in carotenoids which include beta-carotene. This is converted into Vitamin A in the body which promotes a healthy immune system, builds bone strength and contributes to good eye health. Lycopene, another carotenoid promotes a healthy prostate. Leafy greens are loaded with iron and calcium for muscle, fiber for a lean stomach and Vitamins A, E and C for cell and liver health. Blue and brown foods contain flavonoids which support brain and heart functions, they are also thought to help prevent cancer. White and tan foods are packed with phytonutrients for healthy bones and circulatory health.
"Beauty really is skin-deep. Everything you put into your body and your mind is what radiates out through you. That's why to me getting my nutrition right is so important.
Since becoming vegan and more aware of my nutrition, I've seen huge changes in myself both physically and mentally. I'm able to sleep better, be more alert during the day, my skin has become a lot smoother and brighter and also my hair / beard condition is shinier and much much stronger. In fact when I'm out on shoot i never need to use makeup anymore and very little hair product as I've created the perfect foundations for my body to do what it needs to do and to be perfect just the way it is. One thing I eat a lot of which helps keep my hair and beard thick and strong is iron. I get this from leafy greens such as spinach, broccoli, spinach and kale. Low iron can result in anaemia which in turn effects the nutrient supply to the hair follicles and this can create weak and shedding hair. Other great hair fueling ingredients are avocado, carrots, pumpkin, nuts, seeds and anything with a good dose of vitamin C or E!” -Carlos Costa
Tip 3 - Grass fed and organic meat, poultry, eggs and dairy.
Choosing organic fruits and vegetables means that the produce was grown in a chemical free environment in healthy soil, without pesticides or insecticides and from seeds that are not genetically modified. While there is little data on the long term effects of genetically modified foods, some studies suggest that these foods have a variety of adverse health effects that include hair loss. Organic animal products are fed organic produce and grains, given freedom to roam and are not injected with steroids or hormones or given antibiotics. Grassfed meat, poultry and eggs offers a higher nutrient content because of the wide variety and more natural diet that animal ate.
Tip 4 - Work hard, play hard.
Everyone knows that exercise is good for your heart and lungs, but you might not know it’s also good for your skin, hair and beard. Cardiovascular exercise increases blood flow feeding the skin with increased oxygen that helps nourish skin cells. A healthy sweat helps flush out free radicals like environmental toxins and cleans out pores for a more even complexion. It also helps unclog hair follicles giving space for new and more regular hair growth. A healthy work out also reduces stress which is a major component to early aging and chronic skin conditions such as acne and eczema.
Tip 5 - Rest & Repair
When we work hard and play hard we need to rest well. The body repairs itself during periods of rest. Being rested also reduces stress that leads to unhealthy habits and behaviors like poor eating choices and inactivity. While you lay down to sleep there is increased blood flow to your face which delivers oxygen. This feeds your skin cells and increases the appearance of an overall youthful complexion.
Recipes For Healthy Eating
They say it takes a month to set new habits and it’s easier than you think. Healthy eating gets a bad reputation but it can be really delicious. Here are a few recipes to try out using Carlos’s favorite foods that help him maintain that fabulous beard.
- 1/2 avocado
- sprouts (any kind will do!)
- pumpkin seeds
- feta cheese
- soft boiled egg (optional)
- whole grain bread
Directions: Toast up a thick piece of bread. Whole grain or whole wheat will have more fiber. Smash some sliced avocado on there with a fork. Top with sprouts, pumpkin seeds, feta or chèvre cheese and a soft boiled egg.
- 1 bunch of kale
- caesar dressing of choice
Directions: The key with eating raw kale is to chop it up really fine.
Broccoli Carrot Slaw with Honey Mustard Dressing
- 1 head of broccoli, trimmed. (You can use the stalk too but make sure you peel it first)
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut into sticks.
- handful of dried cranberries
- handful of sliced almonds
- 1/2 small red onion, chopped
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/2 lemon- juiced
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey
- pinch of salt and pepper
Directions: This one is a great bbq side. It actually improves after it sits in the fridge for a day or two (so make extra), and it is awesome on top of a burger. Chop up your vegetables. Mix the dressing in a separate bowl and pour over vegetables adding a little at a time so you don’t over do it.