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Pomegranate. You probably know it as a super food, and rightfully so. The juice is said to have more antioxidants than other fruit juices, red wines or green tea — a tall order for any food. But with so many of these “miracle” fruits finding their way onto your plate, it’s difficult to buy into all the hype. As far as your health goes, you can’t go wrong with this fruit. Hair health? You’re looking at a different story.
If you want a head of healthy, shiny hair, pomegranate isn’t the answer. Not that you shouldn't eat this delectable fruit, but foods rich in protein, complex carbs, iron, zinc, folic acid and B vitamins are better options. Protein is by far the best. Think of it as the building block for your hair. Complex carbs, on the other hand, act almost as a glue that holds the protein together, while the other nutrients do wonders for encouraging proper hair growth. Brian Thompson, a specialist on hair and scalp health at the Philip Kingsley Trichological Centre, suggests eating more lean beef, egg whites, brown rice, salmon, cottage cheese and even bacon — yes, bacon — to attain the healthiest mane.
If hair loss is a problem, eating more pomegranate isn’t likely to help. Although it is rich in tannins, flavonols and anthocyanins, these compounds do nothing to really get at the cause of baldness, which is often due to hormonal changes. To get a thicker head of hair, talk to your doctor. She can recommend the best form of treatment. For men, this is usually finasteride or minoxidil. Women can benefit from minoxidil too, but drugs that balance hormone levels, such as spironolactone, cimetidine and oral contraceptives, can also help fill in any thinning with new hair growth.
While pomegranate doesn’t do much for hair health, don’t go chucking it in the garbage. This “super” fruit is filled with antioxidants, which can go a long way toward improving the health of your skin, and even your scalp. In fact, a study published in the February 2006 issue of the “Journal of Ethnopharmacology” found that this fruit stimulates keratinocyte proliferation. Keratinocytes are the cells that make up the outermost layer of your skin. As their number increases, the skin is better able to repair itself. Unfortunately, this benefit doesn't apply to your hair — at least not specifically.
Besides improving skin health, pomegranate is good for your insides. And a healthy inside often means a healthy-looking outside. The antioxidants help fight off free radicals that can damage cells and inhibit their function, a phenomenon that wreaks havoc on your health. The juice of the pomegranate also reverses a narrowing of the blood vessels associated with conditions like high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and coronary artery disease.