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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 B 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?