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If one of the hair goals that you currently have is that you want it to become considerably longer over the next several months, then I definitely wrote this with you in mind. While companies literally spend millions of dollars, trying to convince us that what we put on our hair is the key to health and length, the reality is if wour diet sucks, the products we use aren’t going to matter all that much.

That’s why I thought I would take out a couple of minutes to share with you some of the foods that can actually help to play a pivotal role in how strong and long your hair gets. Are you ready to see what to add to your grocery list? Let’s do it.

1. Eggs

Since our hair is made up of somewhere between 80-90 percent protein (the specific kind is keratin), that’s why I thought it would be a good idea to start this off with a food that is loaded with protein—eggs. On the overall health tip, eggs are good for you because they are a good source of most Vitamin Bs, selenium and choline. Eggs are also able to raise your good cholesterol levels; can reduce your risk of heart disease; contains the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin that will keep your vision strong, and it is loaded with amino acids too.

When it comes to your hair, eggs are great because the protein that’s in it will help to support healthy hair growth. Plus, the nutrients in eggs will help to improve your hair’s elasticity, improve the texture of your hair, and also help to repair the weakened spots in your hair’s cuticle by supplying it with more protein.

2. Dark Leafy Greens

There honestly aren’t too many things that are healthier for you than dark leafy greens. They’re basically like eating a multivitamin rather than taking a capsule or pill. Kale is loaded with vitamins A, C and K. Collards are an awesome source of calcium and folate. Spinach is also packed with Vitamin K and folate. Romaine is a good source of vitamins A and K. Arugula’s got carotenoids, and turnips are filled with manganese, calcium and folate—not to mention all of these greens have a good amount of iron in them.

Since a lot of Black women are low in iron, and iron plays a real role in hair growth and overall hair health, I’m sure you can see why enjoying a big bowl of greens, at least a couple of times a week, is something that your hair will truly love you for.

3. Sweet Potatoes

C’mon. Is there anything better than a fresh batch of homemade sweet potato fries? Something that consistently tops the list of being a superfood are sweet potatoes because they’ve got plenty of Vitamin A (per serving) in them, along with vitamins C, manganese and potassium. Sweet potatoes also contain a good amount of copper (which can help to slow down premature greying, by the way) and antioxidants that help to fight off free radicals. If you’re looking for a food that will keep your gut (where 80 percent of your immunity is) in good shape, sweet potatoes can do that. Want to maintain your vision? Sweet potatoes can assist with that as well. Also, the anthocyanins (a type of antioxidant) in sweet potatoes will help to improve your cognitive health, as the beta-carotene in sweet potatoes will work to strengthen your immunity.

Since beta-carotene is also great for cell renewal, consuming sweet potatoes is a wonderfully delicious way to keep your hair healthy while reducing the chances for thinning and breakage in the process.

Image Source: @fris.ee

4. Oatmeal

Did you know that oatmeal is one of the healthiest grains around? A part of the reason why that’s the case is because it’s filled with fiber to keep you regular. Adding to that, oatmeal’s got an unbelievable amount of manganese in it, along with phosphorus, copper, magnesium, iron, thiamin and zinc. The antioxidants in it, known as avenanthramides, will help to keep your blood pressure low. And, as an added bonus, oatmeal can help to control your blood sugar levels.

Due to all of the nutrients in oatmeal, it can help to keep your hair soft and manageable. The lipids and proteins in oatmeal can keep dandruff and other scalp irritants at bay. Plus, thanks to the Vitamin B that oatmeal has, if excessively dry hair is something that you struggle with, eating more oatmeal can reduce moisture loss which can ultimately reduce breakage potential in the long run.

5. Blueberries

If you like to snack on blueberries, good for you. They’re also considered to be a superfood, thanks to them being a good source of vitamins C and K, and manganese, antioxidants and fiber. Blueberries are actually so powerful that they can fight off free radicals; reduce the chances of cancer cells developing; fight DNA cellular damage; protect the cholesterol levels in your blood from being damaged; lower your blood pressure, and help to prevent heart disease.

The reason why you should add them to your diet, as far as your hair is concerned, is because blueberries are also able to improve the oxygenation of your blood so that blood circulation is increased to your scalp. The more blood that flows to your hair follicles, the more nutrients they are able to receive and the stronger your hair will become over time.

6. Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are great snacks, for a few reasons. For starters, they are both really high in vitamins B and E, along with protein, potassium, calcium, copper, plant iron and zinc. Some other cool things about nuts and seeds is they’re able to help your body to burn energy, they can protect you from getting heart disease and they are super rich in phytochemicals which are a form of antioxidants.

Because many nuts and seeds also contain the amino acid arginine and it is what helps to keep blood vessels in good condition, nuts and seeds are great at increasing blood circulation to your scalp. Also, the zinc in them is essential when it comes to hair tissue repair and growth—which is paramount for gaining inches. So, what nuts and seeds are the healthiest? As far as nuts go, almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans and Brazil nuts are right on up there. On the seeds tip, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds and sunflower seeds are awesome.

Image Source: @wavycurly

7. Red Bell Peppers

Do you like to add red bell peppers to your dishes? If so, whether you realize it or not, this is just one more way that you’re being proactive about your overall health and well-being. Although red peppers consist of 92 percent water, believe it or not, they contain a considerable amount of nutrients too. Red bell peppers have loads of vitamins A, C, B6, E, K, folate and potassium in them. They’ve also got plant compounds which all work together to prevent anemia, improve the condition of your eyes and, thanks to the capsaicin (another plant component) that’s in red bell peppers, eating them can increase your metabolism as well.

How can red bell peppers help with length retention? The high amount of Vitamin C can produce collagen to support your hair and prevent it from drying out. The Vitamin E can keep your locks moisturized and, there are properties in red bell peppers that can also help to protect you from experiencing hair loss. How cool is that?

8. Fish

If nothing makes you happier than some grilled salmon, good for you because fish is another food that is great for you. It’s definitely high in protein and Vitamin D and is also a potent source of omega-3 fatty acids. Because of this, the benefits that come from eating fish are numerous. Fish helps to boost brain health. The fatty acids in fish can help to curb depression-related symptoms. Fish can help to reduce your risk of being diagnosed with any autoimmune diseases too. Fish can also help to reduce bodily inflammation and, thanks to the Vitamin D that is in it, it’s been known to improve sleep quality too.

Why it also makes the list of foods that are great for hair growth and retention to become fatty acids lower inflammation of your scalp so that your hair follicles are able to open up and your hair can grow more fully and freely. Plus, since omega-3 is a healthy fat, it can help to keep your scalp from feeling dry, itchy or irritated. So, the next time you go to the grocery store, at the very least, get the ingredients to make a salmon salad. Your taste buds, your hair and every other part of you will be truly grateful if you do.

Know of any foods we might have missed? Share with us in the comments!