I’m following up my post from two weeks’ ago “Natural ways to make your hair shock and awesome” with the food to eat to make your hair healthier. I may have gone overboard with “mind-blowing”, but I decided it needed to stay in the title! Just like other parts of our body, your overall health shows in your hair. What you eat plays a key role in having strong and healthier hair.
I’m including some information on what to eat and why it’s helpful. For the sake of length, I added anything that wasn’t an animal source under plant-based.
Eat these for stronger, shinier and softer hair
Hair is made up of protein so make sure you have enough of it in your diet. If you’re not getting enough in your diet, your hair may become dry, brittle and weak, and extremely low protein diets may result in hair loss.
- Animal sources: chicken, turkey, fish, especially salmon, dairy products, and eggs
- Plant-based sources: Legumes such lentils, chickpeas, beans, and tamarind, or nuts like Brazil nuts and almonds
Iron is essential for your hair’s health and having too little is one of the major causes of hair loss. Not enough iron disrupts the nutrient supply to your hair follicle, affecting growth and may cause shedding.
- Animal sources: red meat, chicken, and fish
- Plant-based iron: Lentils and green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, broccoli and salad greens
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential because your body doesn’t make it, so you must get it through your diet. Omega-3s help keep your scalp and hair hydrated.
- Animal sources: Fish such as salmon, herring, sardines, trout, and mackerel
- Plant-based sources: Flax seeds or flax oil, pumpkin seeds, avocado, and walnuts
You need Vitamin A to make sebum, which provides a natural conditioner for a healthy scalp. Without enough sebum, you may have dry hair or itchy scalp, or both.
The best sources are fruits and vegetables including pumpkin, carrots, sweet potatoes, yams, orange and yellow bell peppers and coconut.
If you have oily hair, you may produce too much sebum, which you can balance by eating Vitamin B rich foods (listed below).
Vitamin B works to regulate the overproduction of sebum in your glands that cause greasy hair and skin.
- Animal sources: chicken, turkey, and eggs
- Plant-based sources: nuts, cauliflower, carrots, kale, spinach, kohlrabi, avocado, lentils, chickpeas, and beans
Vitamin C helps produce collagen that strengthens your hair, and it helps your body absorb iron, which helps your hair get the benefits from iron.
The best sources are fruits and vegetables including blueberries, kiwi, papaya, strawberries, broccoli, and sweet potatoes.
Vitamin E protects your hair and skin from sun damage.
The best sources are almonds, avocado, spinach, palm oil, butternut squash, sweet potato and wheat germ.
Biotin is a water-soluble Vitamin B. If you don’t have enough, it can cause brittle hair and possibly hair loss.
- Animal sources: liver, eggs, and milk
- Plant-based sources: almonds, whole grains such as brown rice, popcorn, barley and bulgur, nuts and nut butter
Zinc and selenium
Zinc and selenium are needed to help protect your scalp. A lack of zinc can lead to a flaky scalp and potential hair loss.
- Animal sources: oysters, beef, and eggs
- Plant-based sources: garlic, chickpeas, wheat germ, and seeds such as pumpkin, sesame, and squash
I can’t think of a better way (well happier) to great hair than through food!