Have you longed for shiny, luscious hair your entire life? While some people are genetically blessed with gorgeous, healthy hair, that definitely isn’t the case for most.
Achieving healthy hair doesn’t start with your shampoo, conditioner, or other hair care products. It actually starts from within – because the foods you eat can affect the health of your hair.
It’s possible to improve the look of your hair without resorting to expensive salon products. By choosing the right foods and sticking to a healthy diet, you can have a huge impact on your hair. If you’re looking for ways to improve your hair’s strength, shine, and length, try eating the following foods.
It’s hard to make your hair behave when it’s dry and brittle. Dry, weak hair leads to breakage, which will make hair look frizzy. In order to get your hair as hydrated as possible, you need a diet that’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids – specifically, a shorter-chain omega-3 called alpha-linolenic acids (ALAs).
ALAs help to hydrate and moisturize hair, which helps to maintain hair health long-term. Walnuts are rich in omega-3s and contain vitamin E, which can help repair damaged hair follicles. Add more walnuts to your diet by adding them to a cheese plate, salad, or just snacking on a handful.
Vitamin-C rich strawberries help you maintain healthy hair and hair follicles. Strawberries are extremely rich in vitamin C, which is necessary for the creation of a specific protein that helps to maintain the health of hair follicles.
Just one cup of strawberries contains almost 150 percent of the daily recommended allowance of vitamin C. Strawberries are great on their own, or you can macerate them with a bit of white sugar to perk them up a bit. If you get tired of strawberries, look for any other fruit that contains lots of vitamin C, like oranges, grapefruit, or guavas.
If you have thinning hair, you may have a biotin deficiency. Biotin is essential to the health of your whole body, including your hair – it helps encourage growth and keeps hair strong as it grows.
One food group that’s extremely rich in biotin is legumes. As a food group, legumes include chickpeas, black beans, and every color of lentils. To maintain the health of your hair, ensure you’re getting at least 30 mcgs of biotin per day by eating plenty of legumes on a regular basis.
Oysters, which are traditionally eaten raw, are full of zinc and antioxidants – both of which encourage hair growth and body and improve shine. Zinc encourages the production of protein, which strengthens hair and nails.
Oysters have a remarkable 74 grams of zinc per serving, more than almost any other food. 74 grams of zinc is actually 500 percent of the daily recommended value, so you don’t need to eat them too often to reap the benefits. When you do eat them, ensure you’re eating them raw or with a little bit of cocktail sauce, rather than eating breaded and deep-fried oysters.
5. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt contains plenty of protein, which helps to build stronger hair. But this easy-to-eat food is also packed with vitamin B5, which helps encourage blood flow to the scalp. Vitamin B5, which is also called pantothenic acid, is an ingredient in many skincare and haircare products. It works by encouraging blood flow, which has been shown to help hair growth and prevent hair loss.
To take advantage of this healthy vitamin, make sure you’re eating plenty of thick Greek yogurt on a regular basis. You’ll want to avoid brands that add extra sweeteners. Look for unsweetened, natural Greek yogurt, without artificial thickeners like pectin or guar gum.
A great way to prevent thinning hair or hair loss is to ensure your diet is rich in iron. And one way to ensure you’re getting plenty of iron is to eat red meat. You don’t want to eat it every single day; it contains a lot of saturated fat, which can increase cholesterol and your risk for heart disease in large quantities.
To improve the look of your hair, eat a meal with lean beef once a week. If you’re still losing hair, consult your doctor, as they may be able to prescribe you an iron supplement.
7. Dark, Leafy Greens
If you find that your hair is brittle and prone to breakage, you may not be getting enough dark, leafy greens. These greens, which include spinach, kale, arugula, chard, and collard greens, are full of good-for-you vitamins, like iron, beta carotene, and folate. These vitamins and minerals help keep hair shiny and moisturized, and keep our scalp healthy too.
Need to up your dark greens intake? Try blending them into a smoothie. You can mask the vegetal flavor and improve the texture by adding in a green apple or kiwi.
8. Brown Rice or Quinoa
If you want to encourage your hair to grow as long and strong as possible, you need to ensure that you’re getting enough niacin, along with vitamins B6 and B12. Niacin helps improve circulation, which leads to increased scalp health. The more blood is flowing to the scalp, the more your hair will grow.
Two foods that are rich in these vitamins are healthy grains like brown rice and quinoa. Just one cup of cooked brown rice contains 25 percent of the daily recommended intake of niacin. To improve the look of your hair, eat these healthier grains instead of processed grains like white bread or rice.
Another food that’s rich in biotin and iron, both of which encourage hair growth, are eggs. Eggs are fantastically healthy. Just one cooked egg contains a third of the recommended daily value of biotin – plus it’s a healthy source of protein.
Hair grows much faster when you stick to a diet rich in protein and iron. There are so many different ways to eat eggs, so if you don’t enjoy them, you just need to find a preparation method that works for you.
Stress is thought to be a major cause of hair loss. To combat this, you can start by improving your body’s response to stress by upping your daily intake of magnesium. Magnesium helps to maintain the structure of your teeth and bones. It also works to keep blood pressure low.
One food that’s rich in magnesium is the humble almond. They’re actually one of the biggest sources of magnesium you can eat. They make a great grab-and-go snack, or you can eat them on top of salad, oatmeal, or even in the occasional cookie!