We’ve all heard the term “health is wealth,” but did you know that extends to not only our physical body, but our hair? One of the key factors in helping develop thick, healthy, moisturized hair doesn’t begin or end with your favorite products, the secret lies in what you eat. You can have the best products in the world on your hair, deep condition weekly, and get your ends trimmed, but if your food intake is less than ideal, you are working against your hair instead of with it. Having a balanced diet is necessary to improve your hair health because there is a direct correlation between what you eat and how it can transform your hair from the inside out.
Essential proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals are all filled with nutrients that can keep your hair growing long and strong. While there are superfoods you can eat like avocado, coconut oil, honey, etc. that can be eaten or used in hair masks to promote hair growth, these aren’t long term solutions. These should be included in your daily diet in addition to a health array of balanced fruits and vegetables. We decided to ask the experts about their favorite foods to help increase healthy hair growth and keep your scalp happy!
1. Simone Venner
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“A good balanced diet of healthy fats, vitamins and minerals are crucial for healthy shiny hair and dry, brittle hair can often be a result of deficiency.
What should you eat for healthier hair?
You can never go wrong with adding more antioxidants into your daily diet. Antioxidants found in berries and greens may help to promote and improve hair growth by maintaining the collagen in the body. Sweet potato, squash, and dark leafy green vegetables contain high amounts of vitamin A which help with production of sebum, the oil that helps maintain levels of moisture in the skin and hair. Another essential is our EFAs. Omega3 may promote circulation in the scalp that may boost hair growth. Aim to add avocados, walnuts, chia and milled flax seeds into your diet to help boost levels.”
2. Shannon Whittingham
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“When it comes to foods that are great for textured hair we should take a look at the vitamins and minerals that play a role in hair growth. Our body needs a variety of nutrients to create hair tissue and to grow. In fact, many nutritional deficiencies are linked to hair loss. With that said, some of the most important vitamins and minerals necessary for healthy textured hair include vitamin A, vitamin D, and zinc.
- Vitamin A: Fact & Foods — All cells need vitamin A for growth, and it also helps the skin glands to make sebum to keep our hair moisturized from the inside out! Foods high in vitamin A include sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, and kale.
- Vitamin D: Fact & Foods — Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to alopecia (source)! You can get vitamin D from sunlight, fortified foods, cod liver oil, and most fatty fish (i.e. salmon).
- Zinc: Fact & Foods — Zinc helps with hair tissue growth and repair! Foods high in zinc include oysters, spinach, lentils, wheat germ, and pumpkin seeds.”
3. Cassie Brown
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“If we want to increase the health of our hair, it’s important to know that it’s not just about what we’re putting on our hair. There’s a lot that goes on internally that affects the overall condition. Eating nutrient-dense and drinking plenty of water helps with multiple functions in our body that, in turn, make for healthy hair. These functions are things like, cell and tissue growth and repair, decreasing oxidative stress on our scalp, maintaining healthy moisture levels and providing optimal collagen and protein (since protein is what our hair follicles are built from!). There are many nutrients that help with the health of our hair: essential omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamins A, C, E, selenium, zinc, iron and biotin.You can get most of these through a combination and rotation (important in making sure we’re getting a variety of nutrients) of these foods: dark leafy greens, sweet potatoes, carrots, avocado,red pepper, cauliflower, broccoli, chickpeas, lentils, beans, nuts/seeds like brazil, walnut, cashews, almonds, chia, flax and hemp, tofu, fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines, eggs, avocado, and olive oil.”
4. Nicole Short
“1. Eggs: Our hair follicles are made mostly of protein, adding eggs into your diet can stimulate hair growth. Eggs are a win win, as they also contain biotin.
2. Sweet Potato: This root vegetable is loaded with Vitamin A, which can promote thicker and healthier hair.
3. Bell peppers: Contain more than 100% of the DV of Vitamin C per cup. Vitamin C aids in collagen synthesis. Collagen is known for its regenerative properties to promote hair growth and elasticity.”
5. Crystal Hadnott
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“You can place all of the top products onto your hair, but the nutrients inside of your body play a critical role. With all of the social media ads and commercials promising long radiant hair, it's also important to know that the recipe to healthy hair is not in your medicine cabinet, local drug store or hair salon—it’s in your kitchen. Instead of popping the latest supplement, nourish your hair from the inside out by consuming these foods. Spinach - loaded with iron which most people are deficient. Iron deficiency is the number one cause of hair loss. Tangerines - loaded with Vitamin C which helps you absorb iron, if you typically are deficient in iron. Eggs - packed with B Vitamins and Biotin, which assist with hair growth and strengthening. Blueberries are loaded with antioxidants which keeps your scalp happy and healthy.”
6. Farah Green
“Most women believe they need several different hair products to keep their hair curly, soft, tamed and moisturized, but managing your curls doesn't have to be difficult. All you need is the proper nutrients to keep your hair healthy, strong and shiny. I would highly recommend consuming an omega-3 daily. Omega-3 is rich in fatty acids and proteins that can prevent your hair from shedding and keep your strands strong. You can easily find an omega-3 source in salmon, nuts and plant-based oil like flaxseed oil and soybean oil. Another great source of nutrients to consume for healthy hair are dark leafy greens like kale and spinach. Kale and spinach are packed with vitamin C that protects the cell membrane in your hair follicles. Protecting your hair follicles are important because it's responsible for repairing your hair if ever damaged. Consuming lentils, beans and chickpeas are also essential because it contains B-complex vitamins that stimulate hair growth.”