10 Hair-Healthy Foods & The Importance of a Well-Balanced Diet
Strong, healthy hair starts on the inside. Eating nutrient-rich foods is one of the most important things you can do to help your hair grow strong and healthy. Thankfully, many of these nutrient-rich foods are not only good for you, they’re also delicious!
Our bodies absorb nutrients more directly from whole-food sources than from supplements so though it is possible to enhance your overall nutrition through daily vitamins and/or mineral supplements, it’s more effective to enhance your nutrition through the actual foods you eat.
Familiarize yourself with the following list of “10 Hair-Healthy Foods,” and start incorporating them into your diet for healthier hair!
1. SALMON FOR SHINY HAIR: Fish such as salmon, sardines, herring, trout, and mackerel provide healthy, Omega-3 fatty acids that greatly contribute to the shininess of your hair. These foods are good for your heart and can also help relieve depression! *If you are not a fish eater, you can get Omega-3 fatty acids from avocados, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts as well.
2. SWEET POTATOES FOR SILKY HAIR: Sweet Potatoes contain the antioxidant beta-carotene, which is converted by the body into vitamin A. This helps protect against dry, dull hair by encouraging the glands in your scalp to produce an oily fluid called sebum, necessary for healthy hydrated hair. Other foods that contain vitamin A are: carrots, pumpkins, cantaloupe, and mangoes. Basically, if you see a fruit or vegetable that is orange in color, it is most likely high in vitamin A!
3. GREEK YOGURT FOR LONGER HAIR: Besides being creamy and delicious, Greek yogurt is high in protein, the building blocks of hair. A diet high in protein will help your hair grow longer and stronger. Greek yogurt also contains vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), which helps increase blood flow to the scalp, necessary for healthy hair growth.
4. EGGS FOR HAIR GROWTH: Eggs are chock-full hair-healthy elements such as protein, iron, zinc, and selenium. Rich in B vitamins (such as biotin), eggs are wonderful for hair growth. A biotin inefficiency, could result in hair loss and brittle fingernails. *If you are not an egg-lover, whole grains, yeast, and soy flour also contain biotin
5. SPINACH OR KALE FOR MOISTURE-RICH HAIR: Dark green leafy vegetables (like spinach and kale) contain high levels of vitamin A, iron, beta carotene, folate, and vitamin C. These nutrients all contribute to a healthier scalp and keep the hair moist, making it less susceptible to breakage. The old adage still holds true, and not just for Popeye: “Eat your spinach!”
6. BEEF, LIVER, & SHELLFISH TO PREVENT HAIR LOSS: Organ meats (like beef and liver) and shellfish are high in iron, necessary for maintaining healthy hair. A diet low in iron can actually contribute to hair loss. An iron-rich diet will also give you more energy for daily life and a stronger immune system! *Soybeans, lentils, leafy greens, and iron-fortified cereals, grains, and pastas are also high in iron and often contain zinc and selenium, essential to hair health.
7. GUAVA FOR STRONGER HAIR: Guava contains an abundance of vitamin C, necessary for preventing breakage. One cup of Guava contains 377 mg. of vitamin C, more than four times the minimum Recommended Daily Allowance. Enjoy this unique and delicious fruit for stronger hair! Other great sources of vitamin C are: blackcurrants, blueberries, broccoli, kiwi fruits, oranges, papaya, strawberries, and sweet potatoes.
8. LEAN POULTRY FOR THICKER HAIR: Protein from lean sources, such as chicken and turkey, have less saturated fat than beef and pork. Lacking enough protein in your system, can result in your hair growth cycle entering the telogen or “resting” phase. This can lead to hair loss. (For more about the growth cycles of your hair, see “To Everything, There is a Season – Understanding the Hair Growth Cycle”) – provide link to other article. To avoid unnecessary hair loss, make sure to include plenty of protein in your diet. *Replace lean poultry with beans, tofu, and a variety of nuts as great alternative sources of protein.
9. CINNAMON FOR GOOD CIRCULATION: Did you know that cinnamon helps to increase circulation and blood flow? The more blood that is flowing to the hair follicles, the more oxygen and nutrients your hair will receive. So, the next time you sprinkle that delicious cinnamon on your latté in the morning, you can feel good knowing that you are increasing your circulation and growing healthier hair at the same time!
10. OYSTERS FOR FULLER HAIR: Oysters are rich in zinc and selenium, which will give your hair added fullness. Inefficient zinc levels in your diet can possibly contribute to hair loss. Zinc is also found in beef, crab, lobster, and fortified cereal. *If you do not happen to like oysters, grab a handful of nuts instead, as many types of nuts are also high in zinc.