Do you have healthy hair? As the saying goes, “You are what you eat!”, and while that may not ring entirely true, believe it or not our diet plays a significant role in every aspect of our health – that even includes the health of our hair.
You can stick to your perfectly curated hair regimen, with your hair products tailored to hydrate and nourish your locks, but if you’re not paying close attention to your diet and nutrition you might find that despite your best efforts, your hair still remains lackluster. The good news is, eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to restrict your plate to particular food groups and skimp past all the others. On the contrary, the secret to healthy hair is eating foods loaded with protein and nutrients like B-Vitamins, Iron, Zinc and Omega 3’.
Eat your way to healthier hair
“So, what exactly does a balanced diet look like for healthy hair growth?”, you ask. Well, let’s start from the foundation of our hair, which is protein. Protein includes things like chicken, fish, low-fat dairy products and eggs. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, you can find ample supply of protein in beans, legumes, nuts and seeds. If you’re into cold-water fish, Halibut, Tuna and Salmon are jam packed with lean proteins, as well as those very important Omega 3 fatty acids.
In addition to lean proteins, a healthy hair diet contains whole grains, beans and legumes, fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds and healthy fats. Antioxidants are also an important component of a healthy hair diet. In addition to protecting against the aging effects of free radicals, antioxidants also help reduce inflammation which can lead to both temporary and permanent forms of hair loss.
So what foods can I include in my diet to help me not only achieve, but also maintain healthy hair?
Fatty Fish – Salmon, herring, mackerel and other fatty fish are loaded with healthy protein as well as omega-3 fatty acids. They also contain vitamin D and B-vitamins.
Poultry – In addition to being a lean source of protein, poultry like chicken and turkey also contains various B-Vitamins as well as iron, zinc and selenium.
Whole Grains – Fortified cereals and whole grains are excellent sources of zinc as well as vitamin E, vitamin D and various B-vitamins.
Avocado – An excellent source of essential fatty acids, avocado is also particularly rich in the antioxidant vitamin E which helps combat oxidative stress.
Beans/Legumes – An excellent source of plant-based protein, beans and legumes are also rich in zinc and other hair-supporting nutrients like iron, biotin and folate.
Eggs – Whole eggs (particularly the yolks) are an excellent source of protein and biotin, two of the most important nutrients for hair growth. They also contain zinc and selenium.
Seeds – Different seeds offer different nutritional value, but most are rich in omega-3 fatty acids as well as B-vitamins, vitamin E and zinc.
Nuts – In addition to being a plant-based source of protein, nuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin E and B-Vitamins.
Leafy Greens – Dark leafy greens like spinach, kale and collards are loaded with nutrients that promote hair growth such as iron, vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E.
Sweet Potatoes – Loaded with vitamins A and C, sweet potatoes are essential for healthy hair growth. They also protect against free-radical damage and premature aging.
Berries – Colorful berries like blueberries and strawberries are loaded with antioxidant vitamins which protect the hair follicles against free-radical damage.
Tropical Fruit – Fresh fruits like guava, papaya and citrus fruits are loaded with hair-supporting nutrients like vitamin C. In fact, a cup of guava contains 4 times your daily recommended value.
Remember, it’s not about obsessing about the specifics, it’s about enjoying an enriched, balanced diet which will not only help you achieve healthy hair, skin and nails, but it will also greatly benefit your mind, body and soul too.