What to Eat for Healthy Hair: 15 Foods to Add to Your Diet
Beat the dull, cold-weather slump with foods that both promote hair growth and help keep us in the pink of health.
Are you curious about what to eat for healthy hair? Winter’s cruel temperatures and the rain, snow, sleet, and ravaging winds can suck the moisture out of hair, leaving it dull, damaged, and prone to breakage. And the great outdoors isn’t the season’s only villain: Overheated offices and homes can turn healthy, bouncy hair into thinning hair that’s prone to static and split ends.
The scalp can also be affected by winter’s lack of humidity and hydration. If you start experiencing itchiness or tightness, or your scalp feels sore, chances are your scalp is dry. Two other signs of a dry scalp are hair loss and loose flakes of skin that you might notice while brushing or combing your hair.
A quick and preventive measure is to keep hydrated and take vitamins and supplements like Nutrafol, with ingredients like marine collagen, to assist in keeping your hair and scalp healthy. Nutrafol is also formulated with natural and botanical ingredients to help balance your whole body for its healthiest hair growth by supporting stress, environment, and nutrition—all things to prioritize during the winter months.
What to Eat for Healthy Hair
Read on to find out what foods to add to your diet and which foods to avoid.
This article was created in partnership with Nutrafol, a company in which Unilever is an investor.
What are the best winter fruits to help combat hair loss?
When choosing fruits that encourage hair growth, look for fruits that contain minerals like iron, beta-carotene, magnesium, protein, silica, and Vitamins C and A.
Blueberries are considered a “Super Food” because they contain Vitamin C and Zinc and are high in antioxidants. Vitamin hair treatment and vitamin C hair products offer your hair an instant boost. Studies have shown that they help prevent cancer and heart attacks and can promote healthier vision, too. Their antioxidants can help strengthen the tiny capillaries near the surface of your skin. This, in turn, helps the scalp receive all the nutrients it requires to keep hair fed and conditioned. Try adding blueberries to your morning cereal, sprinkling a few in a salad, or try them on top of pancakes or waffles.
Chock-full of Vitamin C, magnesium, fiber, beta-carotene, flavonoids, and silica, oranges are a fabulous kind of food that promotes hair growth. Silica produces collagen, which strengthens the capillaries that supply the hair shafts. Add oranges to your diet to reap the benefits of vitamin C hair products.
Another great source of silica is strawberries. These gorgeous red berries also help strengthen hair, as they contain Vitamins B and C.
Bananas are a multi-tasking fruit. They contain minerals for hair like pectin, magnesium, and Vitamin A. Those minerals help strengthen hair, and Vitamin A promotes hair growth by assisting in sebum production in the scalp. Sebum coats and moisturizes your skin and promotes long healthy hair. These mineral oils are good for air, and mineral shampoo and conditioner treatments offer a range of benefits, including hydrated and healthy hair.
Eating guava can help prevent breakage. The tropical fruit guava contains Vitamins A and C. While Vitamin C for hair goes to work preventing hair breakage, the trusty Vitamin A helps hair grow. If your scalp is dry, scaly, and uncomfortable, try a guava hair mask once a week. Remove the seeds, and then mash up the guava. Add honey and lemon to the pulverized fruit, and then apply the mixture to your scalp and hair. Let it sit for 15 minutes, and then wash out.
Which vegetables are good for healthy hair?
Just as fruits containing Vitamins C and A, minerals, and proteins fortify hair, so do nutrient-dense veggies.
1. Brussels Sprouts
Yummy Brussels sprouts contain sulfur, folate, and cysteine, an amino acid. Sulfur aids in the production of keratin, and folate prevents hair from becoming brittle, thinning, or breaking. Some believe Cysteine to aid in hair growth. You can oven-roast sprouts with shredded parmesan cheese on top or pan-roast them with bacon.
2. Sweet Potato
Sweet potatoes can turn dry, dull hair into healthy, shiny hair. How? They contain beta-carotene, which turns into Vitamin A once eaten. Vitamin A, as stated earlier, aids in sebum production and helps your scalp stay in optimal health. The produced sebum protects your hair from drying out. If you’re not a fan of sweet potatoes, carrots or pumpkins are great alternatives to add to your diet.
You’ve heard that it’s important to eat dark, leafy vegetables like spinach because their antioxidants are good for your overall health. Keep eating them! Those antioxidants ward off free radicals that can damage your body’s supply of collagen. Spinach also contains iron, Vitamin A, folate, and Vitamin C. These vitamins and minerals work together to keep hair supple, moisturized, and healthy. Try spinach sautéed with olive oil and garlic, or add it to salads.
Vitamin C does so much for your skin, hair, and immune system. Crunchy green broccoli is a good source of this vitamin, which aids in collagen production. Broccoli also benefits your liver by helping clear the body of toxins that may hurt hair growth.
Here’s another reason to enjoy avocado toast: It’s rich in Omega-3, a healthy fat that supports the growth of healthy hair. Add in the fact that avocados also are a great source of Vitamins E and B and that they promote hair growth, and you might just want to have an avocado every day of the week.
Key Food Groups for Hair Growth
Whether you’re an omnivore or vegan, here are healthy options that promote hair growth and a healthy system.
Fish like wild-caught salmon, mackerel, and sardines are all rich in Omega-3. As mentioned earlier, this healthy fat promotes hair growth and glowing skin. Avoid high-mercury fish like tuna and shark, as the mercury can be toxic to hair follicles, blocking key hair building nutrients and causing oxidative stress, which ultimately can lead to thinning hair.
Vegetarians and vegans are always looking for a good source of protein. Legumes, which consist of lentils, edamame (soybeans), split peas, black-eyed peas, chickpeas, pinto, black, lima, and kidney beans, contain protein and have hair-improving vitamins and minerals like zinc, biotin and iron.
3. Lean Protein
If you don’t include enough protein in your diet, your hair can go into a “resting” phase. This phrase means that not only will your hair not grow, but it can become weak and brittle. Chicken and turkey are protein-rich foods that also contain B Vitamins (niacin and biotin) that stimulate hair growth.
Walnuts and other nuts have high amounts of biotin. While biotin alone is not a solution for hair growth, the vitamin is effective when taken with other supplements. That’s why Nutrafol combines biotin with ingredients like Vitamin E, ashwagandha, and horsetail.
5. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds have it all: They’re high in protein, omegas, antioxidants, and zinc. That combination can help combat hair loss and premature signs of aging and lead to hair growth.
What foods are bad for your hair?
The list of what not to eat is thankfully shorter than the list of what’s good for you and your hair.
There’s a saying: “The bigger the fish, the more mercury it contains.” Swordfish and other large fish like tuna contain high levels of mercury, which can promote hair loss.
Processed sugar can disrupt your metabolism. High levels of sugar in your blood have been correlated to more DHT hormone, which shrinks hair follicles. The more sugar you have in your diet, the higher the chances are that you may have damaged hair or deal with thinning hair.
3. Starchy White Food
Processed flour—which is used in items like white pasta, bread, and pastries—becomes sugar after it’s eaten. As mentioned above, sugar disrupts your metabolism, meaning you won’t use your nutrients as effectively. Opt for products made with whole or sprouted wheat instead of bread or pastry fixes.
Alcohol, whether it’s wine, beer or a cocktail, can dehydrate you and lessen the zinc and B vitamin levels in your system, which in turn, can make hair brittle.
Other Ways to Boost Hair Growth in Winter
In addition to eating foods that promote hair growth, here are simple steps you can take to prevent damage, keep your hair healthy, and help it grow.
- Wash your hair with lukewarm, not hot water. Hot water will dry out your hair and scalp.
- Use a hair mask once a week to aid in moisturizing your hair and scalp.
- Don’t skip on conditioning your hair after you wash it.
- Hats help protect hair and scalp from the elements. Look for ones that have silk linings, as silk is less likely to dry out your hair or cause friction, static, or breakage.
- Use a humidifier to add moisture to your environment. This can help keep hair and skin supple.
- Add vitamins and a supplement like Nutrafol to assist in overall hair and scalp health. They have ingredients that combat stress, promote hair health, and armor your hair against environmental concerns.
- Use a protective spray before using a hot tool like a blow dryer, flat iron, curling iron, or hot roller.