We all want healthy, shiny hair-commercial locks, but the reality isn’t always as pretty. After all, we do damage to our hair everyday through heat styling, outdoor activities, sun exposure and more. Luckily, you are what you eat – or rather, your hair is. According to WebMD, the nutrients from the foods you eat can actually “fortify the hair follicle” where each strand starts. In other words, eating certain nutrient-rich foods can actually improve the state of your hair! Incorporate these 5 foods into your diet for happy, healthy locks:
1.) Salmon: Salmon is full of omega-3 fatty acids, which keep your scalp hydrated and healthy. After all, beautiful hair starts with a happy scalp! About 3% of the hair shaft is made up of these fatty acids, so loading up on them will help keep your hair looking shiny and strong.
2.) Walnuts: Another food full of omega-3, walnuts are also a great source of biotin and vitamin E. Biotin (also known as vitamin H) is a b-complex vitamin that helps your body metabolize fats and proteins, as well as promote healthy skin and hair. In past studies, lack of biotin in the body has resulted in hair loss and breakage, as well as dry skin and brittle nails. The vitamin E in walnuts helps protect your cells from DNA damage and promotes hair growth (it’s one of the main ingredients in my DIY eyelash growth serum!).
3.) Orange foods: This may be surprising, but a lot of orange-colored foods can help promote scalp and hair health. Why? Because they’re full of beta-carotene, a reddish-orange pigment that your body turns into vitamin A during the digestion process. Like I said in my Vitamin Beauty Guide, vitamin A is a key ingredient in the growth and renewal of new skin cells – scalp included. Lack of vitamin A can leave you with an itchy, dry scalp and even pesky dandruff! Eating orange foods like sweet potatoes, carrots, cantaloupe, mangoes, pumpkin and apricots is an easy way to give your body a beta-carotene boost.
4.) Eggs: This breakfast favorite is an amazing hair helper! Your hair is primarily composed of a protein called keratin, so eating protein-rich foods will promote hair growth and health. Eggs are not only full of protein, but they also contain hair-boosting minerals and vitamins like zinc, selenium, sulfur, iron and biotin. It’s considered a high-quality or “complete” protein source, which means it also provides all of the essential amino acids. Cysteine is the most important amino acid for hair growth; it’s a powerful antioxidant that protects your hair from the sun’s radiation and bonds with other proteins in the hair shaft to actually increase the thickness of each strand!
5.) Dark, leafy greens: Veggies like spinach, broccoli, kale and Swiss chard are full of iron, beta-carotene, folate and vitamin C. According to Livestrong, folic acid – the synthetic form of folate – is often taken to help aid cell and tissue growth. However, some people swear it helps their hair grow too! Because there may be possible negative side effects from taking folic acid, it’s best to get folate from natural sources like leafy greens instead.
Make sure to check out my Vitamin Beauty Guide to find out more about which vitamins can help your hair, skin and nails.
Which of these healthy hair foods is your favorite? Do you already eat some of these on the daily? Tell me in the comments!
P.S. For more healthy hair tips, make sure you read my healthy hair secrets!
Photo credit: thinkstock
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