We do so many things in our quest for healthy, lustrous hair, everything from covering our hair with shea butter to getting our scalps brushed. There are a lot of great tips and tricks out there for keeping your hair healthy, but we often overlook one of the most important factors in hair health: the food and supplements we take into our bodies.
If your hair is thinning or looking and feeling lackluster, it could be because you’re not getting enough zinc, iron, biotin, protein, essential fatty acids, and vitamins in your diet. The following foods will give your hair all the nutrition it needs – and make the rest of you feel pretty darn good, too.
Oh, and sugar? Your hair says NO!
Nuts: Almonds, peanuts, and cashews contain protein and vitamin E, which promotes hair growth; cashews have biotin, essential for production of a hair protein called keratin.
Avocados: Every time you eat avocados, you give your hair a nice dose of vitamin E, an antioxidant that has been found to promote hair growth and protect the scalp from oxidative stress. Avocados are also a great source of essential fatty acids, which can prevent hair loss.
Spinach: This one’s a powerhouse. It’s a plant-based source of iron, which promotes hair growth, and vitamin A, which moisturizes the scalp. Spinach is also a great source of folate, a B vitamin that helps red blood cells carry oxygen.
Sweet Potatoes: Like all orange vegetables, sweet potatoes are backed with an antioxidant called beta-carotene, which our bodies turn into vitamin A, found to promote sebum production and encourage hair growth.
Lentils: Lentils are an excellent source of iron and protein, which is essential for cell growth and keratin production.
Eggs: Packed with biotin, a B vitamin that is essential for production of keratin, eggs are also a great protein source.
Greek Yogurt: Another great protein source, Greek yogurt is high in B5, or pantothenic acid, which increases circulation in the scalp to promote hair growth.
Fatty Fish: Salmon, sardines, and mackerel are a spectacular source of the omega-3 fatty acids, which have been found to reduce hair loss, increase density, and prevent dandruff. These fish also have hair-friendly protein, selenium, vitamin D3, and B.
Oysters: Oysters are one of our best food sources for zinc, a mineral that promotes growth and repairs hair. Because too much zinc can have the opposite effect and make hair fall out, getting it from food is preferable to taking supplements.
Vitamin C Supplements: Researchers have found that vitamin C keeps hair strong and moisturized so it won’t break. Vitamin C is also necessary for production of collagen, a hair-strengthening protein.
Biotin Supplements: Supermodels swear by biotin, a B-complex vitamin that bulks up the hair protein. Biotin also supports the adrenal glands, which trigger hair growth.
Flax Seed Oil: A great source of omega-3 fatty acids, flax seed oil helps keep hair follicles healthy.
Fish Oil: Another great source of omega 3s, fish oil nourishes hair and reduces inflammation that can lead to hair loss.