Anna Garland provides an overview of eight foods containing high levels of biotin essential for healthy hair, nails, and skin which should be included in everyone's diet.
You have probably already heard about biotin and the amazing effect it can have on your hair, skin and nails. Biotin is a water soluble B vitamin that is essential for converting food into fuel and plays a key role in gene regulation and cell signalling which is one of the reasons it is associated with strong and healthy hair, nails, and skin. Because of this, biotin is a remarkable vitamin if you have thinning hair, helping to improve hair strength and condition, and slow the appearance of hair loss.
Most people consume some biotin each day through the foods that they eat, but if you do not have a varied diet then you may struggle to get enough of the essential biotin that you need through your diet.
If this is the case then one of the easiest ways to introduce biotin to your diet is by taking a daily biotin supplement, but it is possible to get your daily recommended amount of the vitamin from your diet alone by eating the right foods.
There are actually two different kinds of biotin: protein-based biotin (which is found in food such as meats and egg yolks) and plant-based biotin foods (which tend to be more readily available and offer a healthier choice for your overall health).
Here are some biotin-rich foods you should introduce to your diet if you want to increase the amount of the vitamin you naturally consume on a daily basis:
If you are looking for natural biotin food sources then eggs are a great choice. Eggs are rich in protein and, depending on the size of the eggs you choose, one whole cooked egg can contain up to 10 micrograms of biotin.
It is the yolk of the egg that is most rich in the vitamin, although the whole of the egg is beneficial to your hair and nails. If you want to maximise the amount of the vitamin your body absorbs from the eggs then it is important to ensure that they are fully cooked before you eat them. This is because raw egg whites contain a protein called dietary avidin which binds to biotin and stops it from being absorbed to the body. This protein is removed when the egg is cooked.
Almonds are a healthy and easy-to-eat snack that have a myriad of health benefits, particularly for your hair skin and nails. They are also a good source of biotin on the go. One handful (or approximately a quarter of a cup) of almonds contains approximately 1.5 mcg of biotin. So whilst they are not the most biotin rich food source on this list, they are the easiest to incorporate into a busy lifestyle and enjoy on the move.
If you cannot find, or do not like, almonds then other nuts and seeds are also biotin rich and a great choice. Peanuts, walnuts and pecan nuts all contain small amounts of biotin, whilst roasted sunflower seeds contain 2.6 mcg per handful. What is more, snacking on nuts and seeds is a great way to reduce your sugar intake and control any negative food cravings.
All dairy products contain varying levels of biotin, but the way to ingest the most biotin from your dairy is by eating cheese. The amount of biotin your portion of cheese contains will depend on the kind of cheese you choose: a University of Nebraska study found that the two cheeses than contain the highest levels of biotin are blue cheese and camembert, however the amount of biotin was shown to vary wildly from cheese to cheese.
Because of the high levels of artery clogging fat is contains, it is important not to eat too much cheese in your diet, but if you are going to eat cheese then why not choose a variety that contain high levels of biotin for hair growth and strength.
There is a huge wealth of benefits to introducing leafy green vegetables into your diet: they are a great source of vitamin C and potassium, and are good for both your heart health and bone strength. If you are looking reap these rewards and increase your biotin levels then spinach is the perfect choice. Spinach has the highest level of biotin amongst the leafy green vegetable group, containing 7 micograms of the vegetable per portion.
Fresh spinach is nutrient rich and great for your health, but you will receive the same amount of biotin if you choose to consume frozen spinach instead. Why not blend it into an easy-to-drink smoothie and reap the biotin benefits with minimal effort.
Cauliflower is a great source of biotin, but only in its raw, uncooked form. Whilst most people tend to cook their cauliflower before eating, doing so removes many of the vital vitamins and minerals from the vegetable. One cup of raw cauliflower provides up to up to 4 mcg of biotin.
But how, exactly, can you introduce raw cauliflower to your diet? An easy way is to make some home made cauliflower rice. Simply mix it in your food processor until it resembles breadcrumbs, and serve it in a salad, with curry, or even with a vegetable chilli (which is a great way to add even more biotin rich vegetables into your diet).
Biotin is found in all living cells, but mushrooms have a particularly high level of the vitamin because they use to it protect them from attack by parasites and predators, to help them grow and thrive.
You will ingest some biotin however you choose to eat your mushrooms, but as with many of the other ingredients on this list, they are best eaten raw to maximise your intake, as the biotin content is lessened during the heating and cooking process. If you want to enjoy a particularly biotin rich meal then why not add your mushrooms to an omelette or serve them with a spinach salad.
Sweet potatoes have long been known to be beneficial to the appearance of your skin, thanks to the beta carotene that they contain. The body converts beta carotene into vitamin A which is known to give your skin strength and a healthy glow.
As well as containing beta-Carotene, sweet potatoes also contain a generous dose of biotin meaning they can also improve hair strength. A half-cup of cooked sweet potato contains approximately 2.4 mcg of biotin and just 90 calories. With their rich vitamin profile and low calorie content, sweet potatoes are the perfect food for helping you feel full when you are hungry without any negative effects. Versatile and easy to serve a wide variety of different ways, the sweet potato is a great way to get extra biotin into your diet.
Finally, although it is a fairly divisive food source (more people seem to hate it than love it) the natural food source with the most concentrated volume of naturally occurring biotin is liver. A 3-ounce serving of cooked beef liver contains approximately 30 mcg of biotin. Other animal livers contain equally high biotin of volumes and, if you enjoy eating offal, then other organ meats (such as heart and kidney) also boast an incredibly high biotin content.
Liver contains such high concentrations of biotin because most biotin is stored in the liver. Liver is considered to be nature's multivitamin, so it is important to try to eat it if you can. Try adding it to stews or frying it with strong vegetables (such as onions) to disguise the taste and fool your palette.
Hair loss is a common but embarrassing condition that affects millions of men and women worldwide, every year. However it is possible to help slow the rate of your hair loss and improve the overall strength and lustre of your hair by eating the right diet.
Biotin has been hailed as a wonder vitamin thanks to its remarkable properties associated with the strength and condition of hair, skin and nails. Whilst biotin deficiency is considered to be relatively rare, it is important to ensure that you get enough biotin in your daily diet by eating a varied diet including the biotin-rich foods listed above. This should be enough to make a big difference to your hair condition and strength.
If your diet is not varied, then biotin supplements are available in several different and easy to ingest forms. It is important to consult your doctor before adding any supplements to your diet, particularly biotin, if you have an pre-existing conditions or are taking any other kinds of medication. This will minimise the risk of drug interaction, and maximise the likelihood of your supplement working efficiently.
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About the Author
Anna Garland is a freelance writer with an unending love of health, fitness, and fashion. Originally from Ukraine, she moved to Israel to study Psychology at Ariel University in the West Bank.
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