The causes of hair loss include thyroid disease, imbalances of hormones, lack of circulation to the scalp, genetics and poor nutrition. Every person feels that having a full and beautiful hair accentuates facial features and hair loss and thinning can have profound effects on a person’s self-esteem. Whether you are looking to make your hair fuller and healthier looking or just trying to bring it back to life, there are numerous foods that contain just the right nutrients to encourage a healthy head of hair.
Foods for Hair Growth
Listed below are the top 10 foods that can help give your hair the nutrients it needs:
Salmon is very rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D. The key nutrient is the omega-3 fatty acids which make up 3% of the hair follicle. Your body does not make its own omega-3 so you need to get it from foods. Salmon is the best source of omega-3 and healthy oils that hydrate the scalp and hair follicles. You can also get omega-3 and other fatty acids that are good for your hair from sardines, mackerel, trout, herring, walnuts, avocados or pumpkin seeds.
Walnuts contain very high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. They also contain important nutrients like biotin, vitamin E and copper. If you are deficient in biotin, you can suffer from hair loss, lacking richness and luster of your hair. One good way to get your walnut in is to replace your usual cooking oil with walnut oil. People allergic to tree nuts need to steer clear of this one.
Zinc deficiency can cause hair loss. This is especially true with eyelashes. Zinc deficiency can also lead to a flaky dry scalp area. Oysters tend to be very high in zinc and contain almost 500% of the daily recommended allowance in just 3 small ounces. Oysters are also very high in protein. Your hair is made up of 97% protein and protein foods helps to replace lost hairs with healthier hair. Eggs, beef and nuts of all kinds are also high sources of zinc.
4. Sweet Potatoes
Beta carotene is an important antioxidant that can benefit the hair. Sweet potatoes contain high amounts of this antioxidant and your body converts it into vitamin A. If you are low on this nutrient, you may have dandruff. And getting enough beta carotene will help increase oil production for lustrous shiny locks. Beta carotene can also be found in orange colored fruits and vegetables like apricots, carrots, cantelope, mangoes and pumpkin.
Anemia can be a major cause of hair loss and eggs are high in iron. They also boast high levels of protein, zinc, selenium and sulfur. All of these are helpful nutrients to feed the hair follicles. You can also get these nutrients from eating lean meats such as chicken, beef, pork and fish.
Spinach is rich in healthy nutrients like iron, vitamin C, beta carotene, and folate. These nourish the scalp and help the oils go where they need to be. You can also eat any dark green leafy vegetables for these nutrients.
Lentils are a great vegetarian source of protein. They also have plenty of iron, biotin and zinc. You can cook with beans in different recipes to make them taste delicious. Kidney beans and soybeans are a good alternative to lentils.
8. Greek Yogurt
Not only is Greek yogurt a good source of protein, it also contains high amounts of vitamin B5 which is also known as pantothenic acid. You might notice this on many hair products and it is very enriching for the hair. Greek yogurt is also high in vitamin D. New studies show that vitamin D is very good for hair follicles. You can also try skim milk, cottage cheese and low-fat regular cheese to get these nutrients.
Blueberries are very high in vitamin C, which keeps the blood vessels to the hair follicles health and improves circulation to the scalp. If you do not get enough vitamin C from your diet, your hair will break. You can also eat tomatoes, strawberries, kiwi and sweet potatoes.
Your hair is made up of almost all protein. Chicken is very high in protein and can help rebuild your hair from the inside out. You can also eat lean beef to get lots of protein.
Nutrients for Hair Growth
In addition to fatty acids and protein, your hair needs a variety of different vitamins and minerals to grow and look healthy. Getting a variety of the following in your diet can increase your chances of restoring the luster and fullness to your hair.
1. Fatty Acids
Your hair follicles are made up of 3% fatty acids. The body cannot make fatty acids so we need to get them from foods such as salmon/fish, walnuts, flaxseeds and avocados.
- Vitamin C. Vitamin C can increase the production of collagen which is responsible for tissue repair, including the hair. Eat plenty of vitamin C rich foods including red peppers, citrus fruits and strawberries.
- Biotin. This water soluble B vitamin helps to keep hair healthy. Get enough of these foods such as nuts, oats and brown rice for optimal hair and scalp health.
- B Vitamins. B complex vitamins containing vitamin B6 and biotin can help thicken hair and improve circulation to the scalp and follicles. Take 100mg of B complex vitamins daily.
- Vitamin E. Vitamin E helps your body produce enough keratin to support strong hair and cut down on breakage. Foods like pine nuts, sunflower seeds, olives, spinach and almonds all contain high amounts of vitamin E. You can also take 400 IU of vitamin E daily.
- Iron. Iron can improve the growth of hair and help reduce hair loss in those who are anemic. Iron containing foods are green leafy vegetables, figs, dried fruit, berries, blackstrap molasses and cashews.
- Silica. Your hair needs silica for proper growth. Try including more like celery, cucumber, beans, green leafy vegetables and mangoes. You can also take a supplement containing 500mg or use organic horsetail herb.
- Zinc. You hair also needs zinc for good growth. Foods that have plenty of zinc are eggs, oysters, pecans, and pumpkin seeds. If you would like to supplement, take 30 mg of zinc every day.
- MSM. MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) helps strengthen the hair by helping your body manufacture more keratin. This has been proven in studies that people given MSM have renewed hair growth in about six weeks time. MSM can be found in raw green leafy vegetables or cooked beets and asparagus. It is important to note that heat from cooking can damage MSM.
- Iodine. Iodine can nourish the thyroid gland if it is underactive to help prevent hair loss. You can get dietary iodine with iodized salt, kelp, wakame and kombu. The herbal remedy bladderwrack can also help boost iodine. Take 100mg daily and consult a naturopathic or holistic medical practitioner for help balancing the thyroid function.