The Top 5 Foods for Healthy, Shiny Hair
Who knew you could eat your way to a glorious mane of hair?
-Ellen Molina, NewYorkGirlStyle.com
“Lather, rinse, repeat” may be standard advice, but shampoo and conditioner alone won’t give you the healthy hair you crave. For the most luxurious locks possible, you’ll need to step out of the shower, and into the kitchen.
If you were born with fine, thin hair, you’ll never have rope-thick tresses — no matter what you eat — but a well-balanced diet that includes plenty of growth-promoting protein and iron can make a difference.
When it comes to foods that pack a beauty punch, it’s hard to beat salmon. Loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, this high-quality protein source is also filled with vitamin B-12 and iron.“Essential omega-3 fatty acids are needed to support scalp health,” says Andrea Giancoli, MPH, RD, a dietitian in Los Angeles and a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. “A deficiency can result in a dry scalp and thus hair, giving it a dull look.” Vegetarian? Include one or two tablespoons of ground flaxseed in your daily diet for some plant-based omega-3 fats.
2. Dark Green Vegetables
Popeye the Sailor Man didn’t eat all that spinach for healthy hair, but he could have. Spinach, like broccoli and Swiss chard, is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, which your body needs to produce sebum. The oily substance, secreted by your hair follicles, is the body’s natural hair conditioner. Dark green vegetables also provide iron and calcium.
Chickens and turkeys may have feathers, but the high-quality protein they provide will help give you the healthy hair you crave.“Without adequate protein or with low-quality protein, one can experience weak brittle hair, while a profound protein deficiency can result in loss of hair color.” Poultry also provides iron with a high degree of bioavailability, meaning your body can easily reap its benefits.
Yes, it’s true. Legumes like kidney beans and lentils should be an important part of your hair-care diet. Not only do they provide plenty protein to promote hair growth, but ample iron, zinc, and biotin. While rare, biotin deficiencies can result in brittle hair. We recommend three or more cups of lentils or beans each week. Beans also reduce shedding tendencies.
Do you go nuts for thick, shiny hair? You should. Brazil nuts are one of nature’s best sources of selenium, an important mineral for the health of your scalp. Walnuts contain alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid that may help condition your hair. They are also a terrific source of zinc, as are cashews, pecans, and almonds. A zinc deficiency can lead to hair shedding, so make sure nuts are a regular on your healthy hair menu.