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Top 10 Power Foods for Healthy Long Natural Hair

Avatar • May 19, 2014

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Aside from the  quality of hair products and techniques we use on our hair, another important aspect of having healthy hair lies within the types of foods we eat. The quality of food we put in our body is reflective in the rate at which the hair grows, as well as the look and feel of the hair. Yes, the popular phrase “you are what you eat,” really does have meaning. So, if you’re looking for ways to naturally improve the overall health of your hair, all you need to do is pay a visit to your local supermarket to stock up on quality food items such as the ones listed below.

Please note that you don’t have to eat every single one of the food items listed here in one day. The most important thing is for you to include a variety of these food items in your daily diet. A majority of these food items are affordable and can be included in most diets.

 

  1. Beans: Packed with protein, zinc, iron and biotin, beans and other legumes provide the hair with the protein it  needs to stay strong. If you’re not into taking supplements such as biotin vitamins, beans also provides an adequate amount of biotin which help stimulate hair growth without the side effects of which the supplement itself often produces.
  1. Beef: Contains an abundant amount of protein, which the hair needs for optimal hair growth. If you’re on a low fat diet, you can opt for lean beef or substitute beef for other protein packed foods such as beans, fish or chicken. 
  2. Poultry: Like beans, poultry products such as chicken and eggs are also packed with protein and biotin. Protein deficiency in one’s diet can result in weak brittle hair and a loss of hair color. Ovo-vegetarians can eat whole eggs instead of chicken.
  3. Salmon: Loaded with omega‑3 fatty acids, protein and iron, salmon ensures the scalp produces an adequate amount of oils which will help prevent against dry itchy scalp. Omega‑3 fatty acids are essential to our diet because our body doesn’t produce them and so they must be consumed.
  4. Oats: They provide the body with an abundance of vitamins and minerals which prevents hair loss and stimulates hair growth. Oats also contain a good amount of vitamins, zinc, protein, copper, potassium, and iron, all of which work together to ensure optimal hair growth and an overall healthy body. For a supercharged breakfast, you can mix 2 tablespoons of flax seeds and walnuts in your bowl of oatmeal in the morning.
  5. Carrots: They contain an excellent source of beta-carotene which the body converts into vitamin A. Vitamin A promotes healthy sebum production which ensures a shiny head of hair. To get the most benefit, eat your carrots raw, either as a snack or in a salad, you can also juice or blend it with other fruits. 
  6. Sweet Potatoes: like many orange colored foods such as carrots, sweet potatoes also contain vitamin A which helps the scalp produce the oils that keep the hair from drying out and breaking off. Vitamin A also fights free radicals that can weigh the hair down and promotes the growth of healthy cells and tissues which aids in healthy hair growth.
  1. Nuts: such as walnuts contain omega‑3 fatty acids which are known to condition the hair through oils produced in hair follicles. Walnuts, along with cashews, pecans and almonds also contain a good amount of zinc which help to reduce shedding and stimulate hair growth.
  1. Seeds: such as flax seeds contain plant-based omega‑3 fatty acids which promote a healthy, conditioned scalp by ensuring that the follicles in our scalp produce an adequate amount of sebum, which ultimately increases hair elasticity, strength and thickness.
  2. Spinach and other Dark Green Veggies are packed with vitamins A and C, which our body needs to produce sebum. A deficiency of these vitamins can result in dry brittle hair and a loss of overall luster. Spinach also contains a high percentage of water which can aid in keeping the hair hydrated.

 

As you might have noticed, many of these foods contain nutrients which help regulate the production of sebum, an essential oil which keeps our coils in its best state as it grows out of the scalp. An adequate amount of sebum can help to reduce the amount of hair products applied to the hair and scalp. However, a deficiency will have you reaching for your scalp oil, leave-in and deep conditioner more often than necessary. Eating right will not only keep your body in its best state, it will also help you stay on your hair budget by reducing the amount of products used.

The key is to have a diet that contains lean protein, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. So the next time you find yourself experiencing any hair issue such as growth, breakage, dry/itchy scalp, or dullness, you should assess your diet to see if it contains a majority of these power foods. And if it doesn’t, then you better get cooking.

 

Have you experienced a difference in hair quality based on your diet?

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About Adeola @ The Mane Captain

A Toronto based natural hair blogger. Born & half raised in Nigeria, and now currently residing in Canada. To keep busy, I frequent my local library where I go to borrow non fiction books, particularly personal and spiritual development books. I also organize Toronto natural hair events, attend meetup groups and I'm working hard to be a polyglot.

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Miss Mo
Miss Mo
6 years ago

LOL @ “you better get cooking”. #Preach

Elle
Elle
6 years ago

Yass! Breakage galore until I realized I was eating rookie food! So I took that money and upped my daily calcium game with cooked greens, bone broth and blackstrap molasses. The same with iron, protein and DHA/EPA (Omega‑3), by way of wild-caught salmon, whitefish, mackerel and trout and also grass-fed meat and spirulina.  I get probiotics through kombucha and kimchi (and any fermented vegetables) and also regulate my gut with lemon water. I switched to domestic EVOO and back to animal grease and fresh spice on my food. And I do green smoothies with added cacao powder, spirulina and blackstrap… Read more »

LBell
LBell
6 years ago
Reply to  Elle

Elle, do I know you? lol…Everything you said about what black folks used to do and eat sounds like it could have come out of my Southern-raised father’s mouth. In fact I remember being a kid and wondering why my Southern-raised maternal grandmother didn’t like McDonald’s. I bet she wondered why I did! People act like this ish is complicated when it’s really not. Media and corporations have really messed up a lot of heads regardless of hair texture and scalp color, lol. It’s amazing to me that so many people out here don’t even know how to COOK. Simply learning… Read more »

Miss Mo
Miss Mo
6 years ago
Reply to  LBell

Preach Girl.

I like “You make time for what’s important”

Kay
Kay
6 years ago
Reply to  LBell

It really isn’t that complicated but there is so much ignorance out there. Last week, the cashier at a grocery store asked me if the fresh mangoes I was buying tasted as good as the mango-flavored stuff she likes. It made me sad. The ignorance about food and how it impacts our health, is real. Hopefully articles like this help. 

SN: Nothing like a restricted budget to make you pay attention to what you eat! I went through this last year when I was unemployed. I too discovered that beans were a perfect meal. Congrats on the job!

Zenith
Zenith
6 years ago
Reply to  LBell

Congratulations on proving to yourself that you could eat well on a restricted budget. That is so awesome! It has also disturbed me that the media likes to promote and meany people choose to believe that mindful and healthy eating is more expensive than eating processed/fast foods. If one eats the right things along with the appropriate portion sizes, it costs no more (and actually could cost less) than eating unhealthy foods. I am also from the south and remember how my late grandparents used to eat. They grew their own fruits, veggies, chickens and caught fish. The actually did… Read more »

Zenith
Zenith
6 years ago
Reply to  Zenith

Typing too fast! Please excuse typo. I meant to say, The TYPE of food is just as important as the AMOUNT.

Primmest Plum
Primmest Plum
6 years ago

This is a great list. Being vegan, the meat is a no go but so glad there are so many other options. The flaxseeds addition into the oatmeal is something I’ve never thought of before lol I’ve been using my flaxseeds for hair gel a la Nap85 lol Thanks!

mel
mel
6 years ago
Reply to  Primmest Plum

Hey. There are many great plant-based sources of protein that even have a higher percentage of protein than meat. Tofu, tempeh, nuts, seeds, grains, pseudograins (like quinoa), and leafy greens are some examples and way more beneficial health-wise than meat.

Jacky
Jacky
6 years ago

Nice article, thanks for posting. I’ve got it all down except the fruit part #NeedToGetMoreFruit #I’mOnIt! By the way, i love the writer’s hairstyle in the picture after the article( where they wrote about her ).

Lovely
Lovely
6 years ago

When I grocery shop, I make sure I “buy the rainbow” from the produce and unprocessed section: RED-watermelon, apples, tomatoes, cherries or cranberries, beans, etc., then ORANGE–oranges, carrots, orange bell pepper. Then YELLOW-squash, bananas, lemon, peppers, etc. GREEN-greens (the obvious ones like collards and mustard greens), lettuce, green bell pepper, avocado, kiwi, cabbage, brussels sprouts, grape, asparagus, kiwi, green beans etc.
BLUE/Indigo/VIOLET– blueberries and purple cabbage, grapes, etc.

The Nerdy Natural
The Nerdy Natural
6 years ago

I love spinach and I wish my parents would follow these tips! so I am glad to be getting my own place soon, I can buy the rainbow and all the healthy good stuff without hearing my parents nag and whine.

Dananana
Dananana
6 years ago

Totally understand your pain…my parents were the same way before I moved out.

Always running up the damn grocery bill asking for hippy-dippy food.”

la*belle
la*belle
6 years ago

Thank you for this article. I am water only, so healthy sebum production is very important to me. Will definitely be incorporating more healthy foods in my diet.

Janelle @ Run With No Regrets

Eating these healthy foods are good for your entire body, not just your hair! I hope that people look to eating more whole foods to not just look good, but to feel good and to live a long healthy life! It still surprises me how much oats are good for you!

Adeola @ TheManeCaptain

I completely agree with you! a healthy hair means a healthy body overall, so these tips also works for the entire body. @primmestplum, Flax seeds are actually meant to be eaten, lol! I also add flaxseeds to my cookies, cereal, fruit salads, vegetable salads and pretty much anything I can think of. But I mostly enjoy having them with my oats, as they add a bit of crunch to your food. @Lovely, eating rainbow colored foods is definitely the best way to go, they’re not only healthy, they’re also pretty to eat 🙂 @Jacky, thanks for the compliment. I wore a head wrap… Read more »

Beautifullycurly
Beautifullycurly
6 years ago

Great article. I totally agree. Funny thing is that what started off as a quest for healthy natural hair has in a way metamorphosed into a wider quest for a healthier body. In the end, I see more and more how everything is interconnected. 

I’m always looking for creative new healthy recipes, should anyone know how to incorporate flaxseeds into a recipe, would love to hear it! Good day, ladies!

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