I love that I’m always getting compliments on my hair, and while part of it is definitely genetics (and luck!), I have come to realize that what I eat has a big impact on the health of my lovely locks.
Do you want to have shinier, thicker, stronger, sexy hair (that doesn’t easily break or fall out)? Instead of spending a ton of money on products (that are possibly damaging your hair in the long run), focus on increasing the foods in your daily diet that are key for nourishing your hair. (Note: this applies for men, too!)
Here are 7 nutrients (and foods rich in these nutrients) that will help you get fabulous hair:
1) PROTEIN. Protein promotes cell growth and repair, and is essential for strong, thick locks. Eat: lean protein like organic eggs, wild fish, pasture-raised organic chicken and turkey, organic tempeh and tofu, lentils and beans, and raw nut/seeds.
2) B VITAMINS, especially Biotin, B12, B6 and Folate. Lack of these vitamins can lead to weak, brittle hair, dandruff and greasy hair. Eat: whole grains (and seed-like grains) like buckwheat, millet, quinoa, brown or wild rice and oats. Plus, healthy carbs like these aid in hair growth! Other great sources of B-vitamins include: organic eggs, legumes/beans, raw (or sprouted) nuts, wild salmon and grass-fed meat. Tip: taking a B-complex vitamin with Biotin can be extremely helpful, too!
3) IRON. Iron is needed for delivering oxygen to your hair follicles (together with B-vitamins), and lack of iron can lead to hair loss. Eat: Organic liver, oysters, grass-fed beef, lentils, spinach (and other leafy greens including kale), flax and chia seeds, sunflower seeds, beets, organic soy (tofu and tempeh), molasses, organic chicken and wild shrimp. Tip: for best absorption, combine your iron-rich foods with vitamin C rich foods (like citrus fruits including lemon/lime, bell peppers, sweet potatoes, broccoli, berries, papaya).
4) VITAMIN A. Vitamin A is needed to make sebum which keeps your scalp healthy, hair moisturized, and aids in hair growth. Lack of sebum causes dry hair and dry/itchy scalp. Eat yellow/orange veggies such as carrots, butternut squash, pumpkin and sweet potatoes.
5) OMEGA-3s. Similar to Vitamin A, omega-3 fatty acids keep your scalp and hair hydrated and healthy. Eat: wild salmon and sardines, avocado, chia, flax and pumpkin seeds, walnuts and extra virgin olive oil.
6) ZINC. Zinc is essential for healthy hair condition and growth; Lack of zinc leads to dry scalp and hair loss. Eat: Shellfish (namely oysters), grass-fed beef and lamb, organic liver, raw cacao/dark chocolate, seeds (namely pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds), eggs, nuts (namely cashews, walnuts, pecans and almonds), beans (namely adzuki and chickpeas) and mushrooms.
7) WATER. Water is SO IMPORTANT as it makes up about ¼ of your hair strands; it keeps your hair hydrated and of course, it helps remove toxins/chemicals. Drinking enough water is key for shiny and silky hair! Drink at least half of your body weight in ounces, and no less than 8-9 glasses a day.
My personal favorite foods that I eat every week (and are surely responsible for my healthy, long hair) include: salmon, eggs, spinach, lentils, sweet potatoes, and almost all nuts and seeds. Plus of course, a ton of water, and natural hair-care!
Apart from eating plenty of these foods (and always eating BALANCED, NUTRIENT-DENSE MEALS), it’s important to exercise regularly, get proper sleep (7-9 hours every night) and manage your stress.
Also, try to minimize the factors that deteriorate the health of your hair, like: nicotine, alcohol, sugar and fried foods.
Lastly, give your hair some natural love from time to time. An apple cider vinegar rinse is great for clarifying your hair and getting rid of dandruff, while massaging your scalp with a coconut oil mask will stimulate the hair follicles, replenish your moisture, and help prevent dry scalp/dandruff. And of course, for the ladies who blow-dry regularly, do your locks a HUGE favor by letting your hair air dry from time to time!