The secret to beautiful hair that’s healthy and strong is not in the salon or the drug store. It’s actually in the grocery store! When you include certain foods that are high in nutrients that promote hair health to your diet, you’ll see an improvement in your hair (and skin and fingernails). Read on to find exactly what to eat for healthy hair!
1. Vitamin A (Beta Carotene)
Vitamin A helps your scalp to produce an oily substance, called sebum, that keeps your hair from becoming too dry. Your body can produce vitamin A when you consume foods that contain beta carotene, an antioxidant.
What to eat: Sweet potatoes. They have high levels of beta carotene, as well as vitamin B5, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, and iron.
2. Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
Look at your hair and skincare products and you might find pantothenic acid on some of them. Pantothenic acid is also known as vitamin B5 and promotes blood flow to your scalp, which is great for hair regrowth.
What to eat: Sunflower seeds. This snack is full of great nutrients, including protein, zinc, vitamin B5, and vitamin E.
3. Vitamin C
The antioxidant vitamin C helps to strengthen the hair shaft and hair follicles. It also helps to prevent hair breakage by boosting collagen production.
What to eat: Kale. It is full of vitamin C and also contains beta carotene, vitamin B5, vitamin C, vitamin E, protein, and zinc.
4. Vitamin D
Vitamin D can help your hair grow faster and healthier. You can get it from the sun, but it’s not always safe or feasible to expose yourself to UV rays on a daily basis. You can find vitamin D in certain foods, or take a supplement.
What to eat: Mushrooms. It’s the only vegetable or fruit source for vitamin D. You can find portobello mushrooms that are fortified with vitamin D. You’ll also get vitamin B5 and zinc when you consume mushrooms.
5. Vitamin E
Vitamin E helps increase blood flow to your scalp, promoting faster hair growth. It also aids your body in the production of keratin, a vital protein for strong and healthy hair.
What to eat: Almonds. It’s also high in biotin, zinc, vitamin E, protein, and iron.
Protein is the building block of human hair (and much of your body). It promotes cell growth and cell repair. If you don’t eat enough protein, your hair stops growing, gets weaker, and may start falling out!
What to eat: Legumes, such as edamame, lentil, and kidney beans. They are great sources for protein, especially if you don’t eat meat. They’re also high in zinc, iron, biotin, vitamin B5, and omega-3 fatty acids.
7. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids help our hair to grow and become shiny and thick. Our bodies can’t make omega-three fatty acids, so you need to find foods that are jam-packed with them.
What to eat: Salmon. Tuna, herring, and sardines are also high in omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon is an especially great choice for hair health, since it also contains vitamin D, vitamin B5, protein, and iron.
When you don’t get enough zinc, hair loss and scalp problems can crop up. Prevent these hair woes by making sure that you meet your daily requirement of zinc.
What to eat: Beef. It’s packed with zinc, as well as vitamin B5, iron, and of course, protein.
Iron is another important nutrition that our bodies need. A lack of iron in your diet can lead to hair loss, since zinc (along with iron) help hair follicles stay healthy. Be sure to pair iron-rich food with vitamin-c rich food to help your body absorb iron efficiently.
What to eat: Spinach. The leafy greens also contains vitamin A, vitamin C, beta carotene, zinc, and protein.
Many people take biotin in supplement form to help their hair grow faster and thicker. But you can definitely consume the amount of biotin that your hair needs with real food.
What to eat: Eggs, including the yolk. The yolk is where the biotin is, so make sure to include some in your omelet. Eggs are also great sources of protein, zinc, iron, vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin B5.
Superfoods for Hair Health (foods that contain at least 3 nutrients that are essential for healthy hair)
There are certain foods that include more than one of these essential nutrients for fabulous hair. Try eating them more often to get even more nutrients in every bite!
- Avocados – vitamin B5, vitamin E, vitamin C
- trout: vitamin B5, vitamin D, protein, omega-3 fatty acids
- pork: vitamin B5, vitamin D, iron, zinc, vitamin C, protein
- chicken: protein, vitamin B5, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron
- turkey: protein, vitamin B5, iron, zinc
- broccoli: vitamin C, iron, vitamin E, beta carotene, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, zinc
- strawberries: vitamin C, biotin, omega-3 fatty acids
- raspberries: vitamin C, vitamin B5, biotin, vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids
- tomatoes: vitamin C, biotin, beta carotene, vitamin E
- canned tuna: vitamin D, protein, iron, omega-3 fatty acids
- tofu: vitamin D (fortified), vitamin E, protein, iron, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids
- walnuts: omega-3 fatty acids, biotin, vitamin E, vitamin B5, iron, zinc
- pumpkin seeds: iron, protein, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids
Cook yourself a good breakfast with sweet potatoes topped with an egg or two. Snack on mixed nuts that include almonds and sunflower seeds. Then for lunch, enjoy a kale and spinach salad with salmon. Finally, for dinner, nosh on steak tacos with mushrooms and black beans on the side. That’s definitely a good hair day!
“I’m Elisa and I live in Austin, Texas with my husband and our two little girls. I used to teach reading and writing, but now I stay at home with my two kiddos and read and write in my spare time. I also love to undertake DIY projects, find new recipes on Pinterest, and dream about someday finally completing our home. Above all, I love to learn about new things and sharing my new-found knowledge with others.” Please check out my blog What the Vita!”
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