Written by Katherine Barrington, Certified Fitness Nutrition Coach
Everyone knows that a healthy diet is important for total body health and wellness. What many people don’t realize, however, is that the food you eat has an impact on your hair. If you don’t eat well, your hair could end up limp and lifeless instead of long and luscious. Keep reading to learn more about the importance of nutrition for healthy hair and to learn about the top foods for hair growth.
How Does Nutrition Impact Hair Growth?
The food you put into your body provides the energy you need to function and the nutrients you need to thrive. A healthy diet is comprised of a balance of different foods including whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, and healthy fats. Though all of these foods contain nutrients that can benefit your hair, there are certain nutrients which are particularly beneficial for hair growth – here is a quick overview:
- Antioxidants – Antioxidants help to speed skin cell turnover and support collagen synthesis, protecting hair against the effects of aging. The best antioxidants for hair are Vitamin E, Vitamin C, and selenium.
- Vitamins – Certain vitamins work together with minerals and amino acids to support the metabolism of keratin protein (hair). The top vitamins for hair growth are Vitamin B5, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, niacin, pantothenic acid, folic acid, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, and biotin.
- Amino acids – The building blocks of protein, amino acids help to strengthen hair and support normal growth. The best amino acids for hair are l-cysteine and l-lysine.
- Trace elements – Certain minerals are particularly beneficial for hair growth such as calcium, iron, magnesium, iodine, and zinc.
- Polyunsaturated fats – Also known as PUFAs, polyunsaturated fatty acids keep your skin moisturized so normal hair growth can occur – they also play a role in lipid synthesis and cell structure. You can find PUFAs in nuts, seeds, and fatty fish.
The more of these nutrients you can include in your daily diet, the better your hair will be. Just remember that variety is the key to a healthy diet – you’ll need to incorporate all of the nutrients above by eating a wide variety of healthy foods to support healthy hair growth. Keep reading to learn about the top foods that support hair growth due to their content of the nutrients listed above.
The Top Foods that Support Hair Growth
Any food that contains the nutrients listed in the previous section can be good for hair growth, but some foods are richer in these nutrients than others. Here are the top foods for hair growth:
- Bok Choy
- Greek Yogurt
- Hemp Seeds
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Sweet Potatoes
The more of these foods you can incorporate into your diet, the better. If you’re looking for a quick and easy boost of nutrition for healthy hair, try blending some of the fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and oils from the list above into a homemade smoothie.
Other Nutrition Tips for Natural Hair Growth
Healthy nutrition is all about balance whether you’re aiming for healthy hair growth or health in general. Because hair-supporting nutrients come from many different foods, you’ll want to include a variety of foods in your diet. Lean proteins are an excellent nutritional staple in a healthy diet for hair growth because they contain plenty of amino acids. Lean red meats in particular are rich in iron and zinc, two nutrients that boost hair growth, as well as iron. You can pair red meats with beans and legumes that are rich in Vitamin C to help your body absorb iron more efficiently from the meat. Eggs, another healthy source of protein, are also particularly rich in Vitamin B.
In addition to eating plenty of protein, you should also make sure that you incorporate plenty of healthy fats in your diet as well. Polyunsaturated fatty acids, for example, are very important and can be found in a variety of foods such as nuts, seeds, soybeans, and various plant-based oils. Omega-3 fatty acids are also important for hair health and can be found in fatty fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel, and tuna as well as other foods like eggs, nuts, seeds, leafy greens, and whole grains. For antioxidants, focus on fresh fruits and vegetables like berries, apples, and plums as well as beans, artichokes, and potatoes.
If you want long and luscious hair, you’re going to have to start taking care of it properly and it all begins with a healthy diet. By incorporating the top foods that support hair growth into your diet, and combining them with natural hair care tips, you can start improving the quality of your hair and you can support its healthy, natural growth.
What Are the Best Foods for Hair Growth
~ Written by Katherine Barrington, Certified Fitness Nutrition Coach