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10 Foods for Healthy Hair

• Oct 18, 2011

via WebMD

Lather, rinse, repeat” may be standard advice, but shampoo and conditioner alone won’t give you the healthy hair you crave. For the most luxurious locks possible, you’ll need to step out of the shower, and into the kitchen.

Your hair grows about 1/4 to 1/2 inch every month, and the foundation of all of our new hair, skin, and nail growth is the nutrients we eat,” says Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, a Chicago-based dietitian. “If you eat a healthy diet, you will grow stronger and healthier cells throughout your entire body — inside and out.”

If you were born with fine, thin hair, you’ll never have rope-thick tresses — no matter what you eat — but a well-balanced diet that includes plenty of growth-promoting protein and iron can make a difference, say nutrition and hair experts.

And beware of dietary supplements often marketed to thicken hair or make it grow faster. They may backfire.

Even though you can find beauty supplements on the shelves of most stores, try to get the nutrients you need from foods whenever possible,” Paradi Mirmirani, MD, a dermatologist in Vallejo, Calif., tells WebMD. “In rare instances, excess supplementation of certain nutrients, such as vitamin A, has been linked to hair loss.”

Read on for the 10 top foods that should be the foundation of your healthy hair diet.

Healthy Hair Food No. 1: Salmon

When it comes to foods that pack a beauty punch, it’s hard to beat salmon. Loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, this high-quality protein source is also filled with vitamin B-12 and iron.

Essential omega-3 fatty acids are needed to support scalp health,” says Andrea Giancoli, MPH, RD, a dietitian in Los Angeles and a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. “A deficiency can result in a dry scalp and thus hair, giving it a dull look.”

Vegetarian? Include one or two tablespoons of ground flaxseed in your daily diet for some plant-based omega-3 fats.

Healthy Hair Food No. 2: Dark Green Vegetables

Popeye the Sailor Man didn’t eat all that spinach for healthy hair, but he could have. Spinach, like broccoli and Swiss chard, is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, which your body needs to produce sebum. The oily substance, secreted by your hair follicles, is the body’s natural hair conditioner.

Dark green vegetables also provide iron and calcium.

Healthy Hair Food No. 3: Beans

Beans, beans, they’re good for your … hair?

Yes, it’s true. Legumes like kidney beans and lentils should be an important part of your hair-care diet. Not only do they provide plentiful protein to promote hair growth, but ample iron, zinc, and biotin. While rare, biotin deficiencies can result in brittle hair.

Blatner, who is also a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, recommends three or more cups of lentils or beans each week.

Healthy Hair Food No. 4: Nuts

Do you go nuts for thick, shiny hair? You should.

Brazil nuts are one of nature’s best sources of selenium, an important mineral for the health of your scalp.

Walnuts contain alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid that may help condition your hair. They are also a terrific source of zinc, as are cashews, pecans, and almonds. A zinc deficiency can lead to hair shedding, so make sure nuts are a regular on your healthy hair menu.

Healthy Hair Food No. 5: Poultry

Chickens and turkeys may have feathers, but the high-quality protein they provide will help give you the healthy hair you crave.

Without adequate protein or with low-quality protein, one can experience weak brittle hair, while a profound protein deficiency can result in loss of hair color,” Giancoli tells WebMD.

Poultry also provides iron with a high degree of bioavailability, meaning your body can easily reap its benefits.

Healthy Hair Food No. 6: Eggs

When it comes to healthy hair, it doesn’t matter whether you like your eggs scrambled, fried, or over easy. However they’re served up, eggs are one of the best protein sources you can find.

They also contain biotin and vitamin B-12, which are important beauty nutrients.

Healthy Hair Food No. 7: Whole Grains

Sink your teeth into hearty whole grains, including whole-wheat bread and fortified whole-grain breakfast cereals, for a hair-healthy dose of zinc, iron, and B vitamins.

A whole-grain snack can also be a great go-to food when your energy is zapped halfway through the afternoon, and you’ve still got hours to go before dinner.

Healthy Hair Food No. 8: Oysters

Oysters may be better known for their reputation as an aphrodisiac, but they can also lead to healthy hair — and who doesn’t love that?

The key to their love and hair-boosting abilities is zinc — a powerful antioxidant.

If oysters don’t make a regular appearance on your dinner plate, don’t despair. In addition to getting it from whole grains and nuts, you can also get zinc from beef and lamb.

Healthy Hair Food No. 9: Low-Fat Dairy Products

Low-fat dairy products like skim milk and yogurt are great sources of calcium, an important mineral for hair growth. They also contain whey and casein, two high-quality protein sources.

For some healthy hair foods “to-go,” try throwing a yogurt or cottage cheese cup in your bag when you head out in the morning to snack on later in the day. You can even boost their hair benefits by stirring in a couple of tablespoons of ground flaxseeds or walnuts for omega-3 fatty acids and zinc.

Healthy Hair Food No. 10: Carrots

Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A, which promotes a healthy scalp along with good vision.

Since a healthy scalp is essential for a shiny, well-conditioned head of hair, you’d be wise to include carrots in your diet as snacks or toppings on your salad.

The Big Picture: A Balanced Diet for Healthy Hair

When it comes to foods for healthy hair and beauty, variety is the best way to go.

An overall balanced diet of lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, fatty fish like salmon and low-fat dairy will help keep hair healthy,” Giancoli says.

If you’re tempted to drop pounds fast with the latest fad diet, it could leave you with less-than-healthy hair — along with a growling stomach. Low-calorie diets are often low in some of the most important nutrients for healthy hair, including omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, and vitamin A. In addition to stunting hair growth and leading to dullness, super-low calorie plans may even cause hair loss.

Crash diets can affect the hair cycle,” Mirmirani tells WebMD. “Losing a significant amount of weight in a short amount of time can affect that normal hair rhythm. Two to three months later, you might notice a significant increase in shedding. This is a temporary problem that you recover from with a well-rounded diet.”

Ladies, have you tried any of these foods? What foods do you eat that produce healthy hair?

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29 Comments on "10 Foods for Healthy Hair"

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Alyson and Lang

Added info: For vitamins that promote healthy hair (and you): Look up MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) for hair and nail strength, tocotrienols (varieties of Vitamin E bot Alpha and Gamma) for hair thickness, and PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid) that some use to re-pigment hair.


That is so ironic I just started the pills just this week. I looked at the overall benefits and am wondering if it can be applied topically via in a infused oil. I am also looking into Biotin as well and just learned that Biotin is vitamin B7/ Vitamin H, I actually never realized that. I heard breakouts are a side effect so I am also looking into seeing it can be also infused in oil for topical application, rather than oral.

nappy headed black girl

I did a list on my site that’s almost identical to this one. I’d like to add drinking plenty of water.


This list is great.

That 2nd to the last paragraph about how losing weight can stunt hair growth or downright cause hair loss is very real. who wants to lose weight with a bunch of bald spots in their hair? I’ve found that its not just less food. in a lot of ways you have to replace the highly manufactured/fatty food with the natural food.


In addition to the foods, water, water, and more water!

Josie Lynn

one question i have is are there other foods that have some of the beneficial properties of nuts because I am highly allergic and while I would love healthy hair I do not want so at the expense of the rest of my body lol

Natural Kinky Curly Marie!

Take your supplements. The Alpha-linolenic acid in nuts is also in flaxseed oil, canola, soy, perilla oil.


I couldnt get pass the picture at the beggining of the post! Geesh! Her hair is Gorg!

I wanted to add that if you are backed up, it doesn’t matter how healthy you eat, your hair will not enjoy much of the nutrients flowing through your blood. I’m a personal testimony to this. I literally have hair that is dry, frizzy and does not take moisture AT ALL when I’m backed up and I eat fairly healthy. One BM and I see curls springing out of nowhere. It’s serious business. Anyone that suffers from chronic constipation and has problems with their hair holding moisture and just being healthy overall will hopefully turn their focus from trying to… Read more »

I soooooo agree with #2. Since juicing, I’ve noticed a major change in my hair. I’m known for making “green monsters,” and I also add spirulina powder to it. This not only provides many vitamins and minerals, but it’s also great protein. My hair, skin, and nails have all had positive changes since adding more greens to my diet.


This is by far one of the best articles on “how to grow healthy hair”. Many people focus too much on hair product (which I feel is important as well), however many fail to notice that what we eat has an affect.


I could not agree more.

Le Le

I just realized how well I eat. I consume all of these on a regular basis except the nuts and oysters.


I could definitely get more salmon in my diet. But everything else I consume on a daily basis. *pats self on back*


Good article. I don’t really like salmon so I don’t eat a lot of it, but I love halibut and mahi mahi.

While I like shellfish, oysters haven’t made the cut (hehehe). Mussels, scallops, octopus, and shrimps are a regular part of our diet. - best premium link generator. Rapidshare etc.!!!

It’s really a nice and useful piece of information. I am glad that you simply shared this useful information with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.


I don’t even know how I ended up right here, but I thought this publish was good. I don’t recognise who you’re but definitely you are going to a famous blogger in the event you are not already. Cheers!


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We will definitely be sharing this info with our readers; it is never too early to take diet into consideration and how it can improve not just your health but other things! Thanks for sharing.


Healthy habits breed healthy results. I notice when I eat well, my overall health is improved and that includes my hair appearance. Thank you for this useful list.

green star juicers
There are certainly lots of details prefer that to consider. That is the excellent point out bring up. My spouse and i offer the ideas above since general inspiration nevertheless evidently there are questions such as the 1 you bring up the place that the most important point is going to be working in trustworthy good religion. We wear?big t know if best practices get surfaced close to things like in which, but I know that the task is obviously recognized as a good sport. The two children have the affect associated with just a moment’s enjoyment, through out his… Read more »
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Manuel Verdell

A healthy diet involves consuming primarily fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to satisfy caloric requirements, provide the body with essential nutrients, phytochemicals, and fibre, and provide adequate water intake. A healthy diet supports energy needs and provides for human nutrition without exposure to toxicity or excessive weight gain from consuming excessive amounts.‘;”*

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My hair start getting white I am 27 year old I really upset so how I can stop it


i am 24 yr old my hair now itself getting white how i can prevent it


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I am 14 years old my hairs starts turning white what can I do

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