So you’ve got your shampoo and conditioner routine down pat, you know to choose clean beauty products and avoid toxins like parabens, and you towel dry more than you blow dry, but did you know that what you eat also has a profound impact on your hair?
A balanced diet of essential vitamins, healthy fats, and proteins is highly recommended for optimal hair health. The fats in particular provide hydration to your hair, skin, and nails. Plus, your hair is primarily made of protein, so making sure you get enough is a great way to support growth!
We’ve rounded up and narrowed down some top foods for your healthiest hair yet. Try incorporating these into your daily diet and watch your locks begin to shine (#7 might have you amazed at just how healthy your hair will look)!
Olive oil—when consumed in moderation—boosts hair health. It’s full of monounsaturated fatty acids. These fatty acids help improve the function of your blood vessels.
When your blood vessels function optimally, your circulation is improved (think lower blood pressure to boot!). Your blood is what carries vitamins and nutrients throughout your body, including to your hair.
Looking for a tasty side? Try tossing vegetables with olive oil for a tasty marinade or dunk your bread in oil and vinegar.
Fatty fish contain omega-3s. These are essential fatty acids that help with autoimmune disorders, inflammatory diseases, and heart disease.
A study done on more than one hundred healthy female subjects revealed that taking omega-3 and omega-6 supplements improved hair density and prevented hair loss. That’s excellent news if you’re trying to improve your hair’s health!
Other foods for healthy hair containing omega-3s are fish oil, and veggie-snack staples like walnuts and flaxseeds.
Almonds and other nuts are not only great toppers for Greek yogurt—they also have high levels of vitamin E, which is super beneficial when it comes to hair health.
Vitamin E helps your cells interact with each other. Improved cell function translates to your cells working together more efficiently, keeping your hair healthy and shiny.
Add nut butter to smoothies or enjoy that classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich from your childhood for an extra dose of hair-loving vitamin E.
Eggs are a powerhouse of nutrition, with a protein quality superior to beef and similar to dairy. Egg yolks are chock full of biotin, an essential B vitamin, making them an excellent food for healthy hair.
Biotin helps your body convert food into energy. It’s also vital for skin, eye, and—you guessed it—hair health. One whole, cooked egg contains 33% of your daily needed levels of biotin.
Hard boiled eggs make an excellent snack. You can also scramble them, make an omelet, or poach them. Eggs are one of the most versatile foods, so they’re easy to incorporate into your daily nutrition.
Lentils are another nutritional gamechanger (and bonus—they’re plant-based!). They’re high in fiber, protein, potassium, and iron. It’s that last nutrient that helps your hair growth.
Hair follicle cells are some of the most rapidly dividing in the body. Being deficient in iron means your body doesn’t synthesize enough DNA to replace that division, hindering hair growth.
Instead of an iron pill, try lentils as salad toppers, the base for a stew, or add them to chili. Your options are endless!
Remember how boosting your daily protein intake helps your hair health? Well, one serving of turkey contains at least 19g grams of protein. Your hair is primarily made of protein, so healthy protein intake is key.
Make a sandwich, roll slices of turkey in a wrap, add sautéed pieces to pasta, or eat it alongside steamed broccoli for a super healthy option.
They’re not just an aphrodisiac! Oysters for hair growth might surprise you, as they’re not on most people’s daily (or weekly or monthly) diet list. However, oysters are high in zinc. Studies show a strong correlation between zinc deficiency and hair loss.
Consider treating yourself to oysters every so often. Or more common plant-forward foods for healthy hair include beans, chickpeas, soy products, nuts, and seeds.
Spinach is full of nutrients, including vitamin A, iron, beta carotene, folate, and vitamin C. These micronutrients work as a team to help improve the health of your hair!
Studies show that consuming enough micronutrients like the ones in spinach plays an important role in hair growth and health. So, it’s safe to say that spinach is an easy way to boost your intake of these essential nutrients.
Try making a salad with spinach as the base instead of lettuce or toss a handful into your smoothie. If you get tired of spinach (we all do sometimes!), kale has a similar nutritional profile.
Speaking of beta carotene, sweet potatoes are full of it. Beta-carotene is a precursor to vitamin A, meaning your body turns it into vitamin A upon consumption.
Beta-carotene helps improve cell division and reproduction. It’s also an antioxidant, so it’s a great food for healthy hair, similar to the vitamin E in nut butters.
Add sweet potatoes to your favorite chili recipe or bake them as french fries (bonus points for using olive oil when baking!)
Cinnamon is an excellent spice to include in your healthy hair regime. It’s chock full of antioxidants23 and anti-inflammatory properties.
Similar to olive oil, cinnamon boosts blood flow. Having healthy blood flow means your hair efficiently gets oxygen and nutrients.
Channel the holidays all year long as you sprinkle cinnamon on your oatmeal, toast, or add it to your coffee.
Diet is a major factor in the condition of your hair, skin, and nails. When you’re on point with your nutrition, natural beauty will follow!