I’m pretty avid about keeping my hair healthy and shiny, so I never mind sharing key nutrients for your hair with others. Your diet can make or break your hair, literally! There are certain nutrients in the diet that must be included, or your hair will break, fall out, thin out and frizz out, along with driving you insane! The good thing is, the nutrients are easy to find in delicious foods and can offer you a dramatic change to your mane really quickly. You’ll have your hairdresser asking you for your diet once you start maxing out on foods with these nutrients. Oh, and as a bonus, foods that are good for your hair are also amazing for your body! You really can eat your way to beauty and a head full of gorgeous hair with certain key nutrients for your hair. Start filling your plate with these vitamins and minerals and you’ll spend less time fussing at your hair each day, so you can flaunt it instead!
Biotin is possibly one of the most important key nutrients for your hair of all. For starters, the B vitamin known as biotin is important to nourish the hair because it builds collagen, maintains elasticity, and supports growth. This is one reason it supports nail growth and skin health as well. You can find biotin in any hair, skin and nail supplement, but I especially love getting it through delicious foods like eggs, chicken, turkey, salmon, avocados, and almonds. Biotin is also found in Greek yogurt and most foods higher in protein. To get the benefits, each one biotin rich food at least once per day, or take a supplement of 5000mcg to notice a major change quickly. Don’t worry about getting too much. Biotin is a B vitamin, so your body will excrete what it doesn’t need so you can’t OD on the stuff.
Pack on the protein for beautiful hair! Protein makes up 97% of what your hair is composed of, so skimping on it will reduce the strength and growth rate of your strands. You don’t have to be a bodybuilder or eat tons of meat to get enough protein. Protein is actually rich in many plant foods if you’re concerned with taking in too much animal protein. The best sources of protein for your hair, however, are sources such as fish like salmon, eggs, Greek yogurt, nuts, seeds, and poultry. Take in at least 45 grams per day, and more if you want. I actually eat the same amount of protein in grams as I weigh and my hair is thicker and growing faster than it ever has before, with less breakage as well. I also love getting protein from leafy greens and plant sources such as spirulina, spinach, kale and broccoli. Yes, plants are rich in protein if you pick the right ones, so don't forget to include your greens!
Iron increases blood flow to the scalp, aiding in the health of hair strands, therefore foods that contain iron are the best way to enhance your hair’s health with this nutrient. Iron supplements can cause problems like constipation, so be sure to eat your iron from foods like beans, seeds, nuts, lean red meat, fish, spinach, and legumes such as lentils and chickpeas. Spirulina, the superfood sea veggie, is also one of the best sources of iron you could consume as well. If you notice your hair is shedding and you’re finding strands more frequently in the floor or coming out in your hairbrush, you could be short of iron, or zinc. To combat this, be sure to pump up the intake of the foods above to get the best sources of both nutrients. You should notice a big change in just a week or two.
4. Vitamin C
Vitamin C isn’t just great to keep a nasty cold away. It is also great for your hair because it supports growth. We all know our hair seems to grow slowly, but what you may not know is just how slowly it really does grow, especially if Vitamin C isn’t involved. At best, hair grows about a centimeter a month on average if your hair is really healthy. To up the growth rate of your hair, indulge in Vitamin C rich foods such as red peppers, strawberries, spinach and oranges. These Vitamin C rich foods are used by the body to build collagen, which is essential to strong and gorgeous hair, along with aiding the strength and elasticity of your skin as well. Think, no more wrinkles and strong strands! If your Vitamin C levels are low, your hair may break, be slow to grow and look lackluster. My favorite way to get plenty of Vitamin C is to have a half cup of strawberries in my morning smoothie, a whole chopped red bell pepper on a salad for lunch, and then a cup of spinach for dinner either in salad, smoothie or omelet.
5. Vitamin a
Vitamin A is one of the most powerful beauty nutrients anyone can consume. For one, Vitamin A keeps your skin clear from acne, helps give it a healthy glow, and it is also a rockstar nutrient for your hair! Vitamin A keeps your hair soft, touchable and oh, so luxurious looking! Eat your weight in carrots, cantaloupe, butternut squash, canned or fresh pumpkin, sweet potatoes, leafy greens and all winter squash. You can’t overdose on Vitamin A through eating foods, but be sure not to pop a supplement. One of my favorite ways to get the best of Vitamin A is drinking a half cup of carrot juice in the morning, having some leafy greens in a green smoothie and in a salad, eating carrots with hummus as a snack, adding pumpkin to my smoothies, and having butternut squash or a sweet potato at dinner. If you notice your skin starts to turn a little orange, don’t worry! Vitamin A can make your skin literally glow, so just back off a bit if this happens. Either way, you’ll notice your hair gets softer, more touchable and more manageable with this powerful nutrient. You can also buy the shampoo and conditioner by the brand Yes to Carrots, which is filled with Vitamin A. It is one of my favorite hair care products to get soft hair pronto!
If you’ve ever experienced dry hair like I have on a regular basis, you’ll love this tip! Dry hair can often be a sign of exposure to environmental pollution, which exposes the hair strands to free radicals that dry it out. If you work or live in a city, are around lots of chemicals, or in an overall area with dry air, more than likely you can relate. To combat this as best as possible, indulge in plenty of antioxidant rich foods, especially those rich in polyphenols. Polyphenols are antioxidants found in deeply colored berries and fruits, such as red grapes, pomegranates, all berries, and foods like olive oil and pure dark chocolate. Polyphenols help to fight the effects of free radicals, and can protect strands from drying out as much as they would without a high antioxidant content. To get the benefits, eat a cup of berries per day and have an ounce of dark chocolate per day. You can also reap more benefits by drinking a small glass of red wine, drizzling a tablespoon of olive oil over your salad or veggies, having some pomegranate seeds in your yogurt or smoothie, eating a cup of red grapes, or adding 2 tbsp. cocoa powder to anything you want! This is one delicious tip I know many of you will take me up on!
7. Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Shiny hair is something many of us covet, and eating Omega 3 nutrients is one of the best ways to fulfill that desire quickly. Omega 3 fatty acids help to increase the moisture of your hair, and can help it look healthier overall. Since it moisturizes your hair, it also plumps it up, helping it look fuller. No, it won’t make your hair oily, but will instead keep it softer and more flexible so it won’t break as often. You’ll find Omega 3 fatty acids in sources like walnuts, flaxseeds, fatty fish like salmon and trout, along with chia seeds, and hemp seeds. Don’t fear the fat in Omega 3s either. This specific type of fat has been linked to smaller waistlines and higher metabolisms. As a bonus, these fats also keep your ticker (heart) happy and prevent depression! Power on, Omega 3s!
You can take certain hair supplements if you choose to, but I always tell people not to pop a pill unless it is necessary, especially when it comes to hair health. Take a good multivitamin, but after that, eat your way to healthy hair. Your body easily absorbs the nutrients in these foods and you’ll see results in a very short period of time. Do you have a secret to healthy hair? If so, feel free to share it!