“Your hair grows about 1/4 to 1/2 inch every month, and the foundation of all of our new hair, skin, and nail growth is the nutrients we eat,” says Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, a Chicago-based dietitian.
If you want to eat your hair healthy, what foods should you choose? As with skin, omega-3 fatty acids moisturize and nourish from the inside out. Most of us don’t get enough omega-3s (good fats) and too many omega-6s (bad fats), so the hair can become dull and lackluster. Eat more salmon, sardines, almonds, flaxseed, beans, and walnuts.
Next, be sure you’re getting enough protein, in the form of beans, white meats, and vegetables. The hair is made of protein, so these foods give it fuel to grow. Protein-deficient diets can result in hair loss or slow-growing hair. Calcium is also an important mineral for hair growth, so get some low-fat milk, yogurt, and/or cottage cheese daily.
According to a Cleveland Clinic review, low iron levels can lead to hair loss. Women are usually more likely than men to be iron deficient, so ladies, beef up on foods like egg yolks, dried fruit, whole grains, spinach, broccoli, and turkey. Zinc is also important in retaining strong hair strands for both sexes-sources include oysters, nuts, beef, and lamb.
Surprisingly, coconut is considered an excellent “hair food.” Add it to desserts, salads, fruits, and rice. According to holistic healer Vasu Nargundkar, spices like cumin, tumeric, and black pepper are also hair friendly.
“The best shampoo and conditioner can’t make up for a poor diet when it comes to healthy hair,” says eHow editor Shelley Moore. “Experts agree that water, proteins and foods high in essential fatty acids are essential in a successful quest for great-looking hair.” She goes on to remind us to drink plenty of water to keep hair silky.
What about hair supplements? According to our research, food is a better source of nutrients, because food has the right combination of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and more to properly break down and metabolize in the body. If you do decide to try supplements, however, make sure you’re not overdoing it on vitamin A, which in high doses has been linked to hair loss.
Have you found foods that make your tresses shine? Let us know!
Photo courtesy of Telise via Flickr.com.