In order to obtain truly healthy, beautiful hair, you must start from within. Whether you are suffering from dull, lifeless hair, premature greying, hair thinning, or hair loss, this may be a direct reflection of a lack of nutrition in your diet. Although there are typically many other factors that will encourage or discourage the health of your hair, adding multiple hair-healthy, nutrient-rich foods into your daily diet is a great place to start!
Vital nutrients needed in the diet for optimal hair health:
- Vitamins A, C, D, E
- Vitamin B complex (especially B5, B7, B9, B12)
- Essential Omega 3 Fatty Acids
- Healthy lipids
*Please note that it is much more effective to get these nutrients through diet and not through supplementation.
So keeping these vitamins and nutrients in mind, I will now share with you some great food choices to add to your daily diet for the growth, vitality and optimal health of your hair.
10 Foods for Healthy Hair
1. Red Lentils
Lentils are a great source of plant protein, fiber, iron, zinc, copper, manganese, folate (B9), pantothenic acid (B5), and thiamin (B1). Red lentils are one of the easiest legumes to digest (especially when soaked overnight) and therefore, the nutrients are more readily absorbed by the body.
In terms of hair health, walnuts are at the top of the list for packing the most essential nutrients in such a small package. Walnuts are an excellent source of Omega 3 fatty acids, copper, manganese, biotin (B7), Vitamin E and zinc. Other great hair-healthy sources in the nut and seed category include almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, pumpkin seed, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds.
3. Sweet Potatoes
The sweet potato is a hair-loving, nutritious powerhouse filled with vitamin A (beta carotene), vitamin C, Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and B7, manganese, copper, potassium and fiber. It’s always a treat when something so yummy can be so good for you too! Hooray for nature!!
Although eggs are not the right choice for every-body (i.e. Kapha types are typically allergic to them) or every diet (i.e. vegetarian/vegans); eggs can be a great source of many hair-healthy nutrient in the proper setting. The egg is not only an affordable, easy to cook meal option but also nutrient packed with animal protein, iodine, selenium (also needed for thyroid health), vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamins B2, B5, B7 and B12.
Claimed to be one of the most nutrient rich vegetables, it is no surprise to see spinach among the top 10 of hair-healthy foods. This beautiful leafy green is one of the greatest sources of the bone and hair strengthening vitamin K. Of course, this antioxidant powerhouse is loaded with many other hair-nourishing nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, vitamin E, calcium, potassium, manganese, iron, zinc, copper and fiber. If you would like to incorporate a variety of hair-healthy greens also try adding kale, chard and collard greens to your daily diet as well. Beautiful, luscious hair awaits!
6. Bell Peppers
Bell peppers are a wonderful way to incorporate the many colors of the rainbow into your diet to obtain true antioxidant-bliss. These sweet, juicy treats are also filled with vitamin A(beta carotene), vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, vitamins B1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 9; manganese, potassium and fiber. ***However, if you have an anti-inflammatory condition, peppers along with the other members of the nightshade family, should be avoided.
7. Yogurt & Kefir
Yogurt and kefir, preferably homemade, are nutritious foods for strengthening the hair and enhancing its growth. If you are not lactose intolerant or dealing with excessive weight, I recommend using organic, grass-fed, full-fat plain cow yogurt which you can flavor with spices and honey. Some of the various nutrient-rich benefits include zinc, calcium, iodine, animal protein, and vitamin B2, B7 and B12.
Further, the health of your microbiome will be equally as important when you are desiring healthy hair. Getting your probiotics from a real-food source such as yogurt and kefir is a great way to obtain a healthy, rich, and diverse microbiome and subsequently, healthy hair.
Voted one of the most antioxidant rich sources around, blueberries are a tiny powerhouse in the world of fruits. This joy of nature is a great source of vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, copper and fiber. But don’t discriminate; try adding a wide variety of berries into your daily diet to get the most out of the sweet, nutritious, hair-happiness they offer us!
9. Homemade Chicken Bone Broth
When you make fresh chicken stock (with meat AND bones), you are creating a nourishing, immune boosting treat for the health of the entire body, including the hair. This digestion enhancing, age old remedy is loaded with easy to absorb vitamins, trace minerals and fatty acids including the hair-healthy calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, phosphorus, selenium, potassium, vitamin C and vitamins B3, B5, B6 and B12. Chicken broth is also great for healing the gut lining, aiding in digestion and strengthening the teeth and bones.
Truly one of the greatest sources of Omega 3 fatty acids, salmon is an obvious food choice in the world of hair health. Some other, lesser known nutrition benefits of this mighty ocean fish include vitamin D, potassium, and vitamins B3, B5, B6, B7 and B12. If you prefer a veggie option to get your Omega 3’s, flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds and walnuts are also great options!
NOTE: The foods listed here should always be organic, non-GMO and pasture-raised (for animal options) in order to obtain the greatest amount of nutrients and health benefits.
So here is a handful of foods you can welcome into your daily diet to help create the healthy, luxurious hair you desire. However, healthy hair comes from a wide range of factors including healthy digestion, healthy elimination, and healthy stress levels. Keep reading to discover some more tips on how to obtain healthy hair and hair growth.