7 Foods for Healthier Hair Growth
When it comes to healthy, luxurious hair, diet and nutrition play one of the most important roles of all. Certain foods work to directly improve scalp and hair follicle health, which in turn leads to faster, stronger and more vibrant hair growth. Below is a list of the most useful foods for restoring vitality to hair that may be damaged, dull, or brittle.
Certain fish, such as salmon, sardines, herring, and trout, contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which the body cannot produce on its own. These fatty acids are essential for hair growth, and also help to ensure that your scalp and hair remain properly hydrated. A lack of these fatty acids in the diet can contribute to dry, flaky scalp and dull, brittle strands of hair. If you not a fan of fish then consider cranberry seed oil.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds contain a wide array of helpful nutrients for hair health. The biotin and vitamin E they contain help minimize damage from the sun's harmful rays, while consuming too little of these nutrients can lead to premature hair loss. Some nuts and seeds, such as walnuts and pumpkin seeds, also contain omega-3 fatty acids and minerals such as copper, which helps hair maintain its natural color and shine. Consider adding these to your diet through the use of walnut, peanut, or sunflower seed oil in your cooking, substituting them for butter or olive oil when possible.
Lean meats contain a wide variety of nutrients and minerals that hair needs to stay healthy. Some of these, such as zinc and iron, are difficult to include in the diet through other means and lack of it could lead to thin hair. However there are ways to get extra iron without supplements.
But the real draw for lean meats is the high protein content; because hair is roughly 97% protein, your body requires plenty of it to grow new hair and to keep it strong and flexible. Diets low in protein will result in thin, brittle hair that may shed faster than it can be replaced.
Orange Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables with a rich orange or reddish color are generally excellent sources of beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A. In turn, vitamin A is responsible for producing the natural oil which protects hair and makes it shine. Too little vitamin A can mean long-term, itchy dandruff. Some of the best sources of beta-carotene include sweet potatoes, yams, pumpkins, mangoes, papayas, carrots, and cantaloupe.
Dark, leafy greens are some of the most nutrient-rich foods available, and they are certainly no slouch when it comes to keeping your hair in top condition. Vegetables such as kale, spinach, collards, and chard contain vitamin C, folate, beta-carotene, and iron, which are particularly important for keeping your scalp and hair follicles healthy.
Dairy items such as milk, yogurt, and cheese contain high levels of protein, vitamin D, and vitamin B5, which is a key ingredient in many hair-care products. Low-fat alternatives such as skim milk, Greek yogurt, and cottage cheese provide the same benefits without potentially compromising dietary goals.
While all types of fruit contribute to healthy hair in some way, berries rise to the top in terms of pure nutritional advantages. Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and kiwis are all extremely high in vitamin C, which improves the function of the blood vessels in the scalp. In addition, berries are also rich in the antioxidants which fight premature signs of aging, including dull or greying hair. Berries can be eaten alone or used to enhance other hair-friendly foods such as salads and yogurts for maximum effectiveness.
By adding any -- or all -- of these foods to your diet, it is possible to drastically improve the luster, texture, color, and overall health of your hair. Keep in mind that because hair grows slowly, it will generally take a month or more before the benefits of these dietary changes becomes noticeable. Find room for some of these foods in your daily meals and be amazed at the difference it can make!