Many people are already aware of the fact that what they eat affects their body in either a positive or negative way, but many more may not realize the extent to which proper nutrition can affect the body. Deficiencies in certain nutrients can cause a variety of problems, from poor organ function to brittle nails and hair loss. The key is to understand what is considered a nutrient, and how important they are to overall health.
Micronutrients are essential nutrients that all of our bodies need, but in smaller concentrations, compared to the macronutrients. However, they are still essential for brain development, immune health, and several other functions. The four micronutrients are:
- Water-Soluble Vitamins (B Vitamins and Vitamin C)
- Fat-Soluble Vitamins (Vitamins A, D, E, and K)
- Macrominerals (Calcium, Chloride, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium, and Sulfur)
- Trace Minerals (Copper, Iodine, Iron, Fluoride, Manganese, Selenium, and Zinc)
When it comes to hair growth and beard growth in men, the key is the male hormone testosterone. If you’re experiencing hair growth issues, make sure that you’re consuming enough micronutrients, as they help benefit testosterone levels. Zinc (found in seafood and chickpeas), iron (found in red meat and spinach), and vitamins A, B, C, D, and E (found in a variety of fruits and vegetables) all help to make hair more lustrous.
As the name suggests, macronutrients are the most important nutrients the body needs because they give the body energy. The three macronutrients are carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
Carbs are the body’s main source of energy, and everyone needs them. They can be broken down into two categories: complex carbs and simple carbs. Complex carbs are the “good” carbs that are made up mostly of fiber while carbs are the “bad” carbs that contain mostly sugar and provide no nutritional value. Too much of these can cause heart issues, diabetes, and gastrointestinal problems. Several people become dependent on health-harming medications when the cause of their gastrointestinal problems can be due to too many simple carbs in their diet.
Fats are the body’s second source of energy, and they too are essential for health. They also can be broken down into two categories: saturated fats (typically solid at room temperature) and unsaturated fats (usually liquid at room temperature). Healthy fats (avocados, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish) are also beneficial when it comes to hair and beard health.
Proteins make up virtually every part of the body, from cells to organs. They contain all the essential amino acids needed to keep the organs in the body functioning properly. Protein is also well-known in assisting with muscle growth, which is true. Just keep in mind that protein intake should be balanced with essential vitamins and minerals.
Most importantly, make sure you’re drinking enough water each day. Like macronutrients and micronutrients, water is essential to life and works with the nutrients to help improve their function. Opinions vary on determining how much water intake is essential for each day: some sources say to drink your weight in ounces, while others say to aim for at least eight cups a day. The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine states that women should drink 11.5 cups of water per day, while men should aim for 15.5. Of course, your lifestyle and certain medical conditions may affect how much you should drink, individually.
A healthy diet is the foundation to good health, and hair and muscle growth are both included in this. If you’ve experienced issues in either of these departments, the way you eat could be the issue. Try to include more diverse foods into your diet in order to see a change in your hair/beard growth and muscle growth. Also, be sure to consult with your primary care physician when it comes to making dietary changes concerning major issues.