When it comes to eating for healthy hair, variety is the key. Hair consists mainly of protein, but also requires zinc, sulfur, iron, the B-vitamins and essential fatty acids, to keep it healthy. Therefore, an overall balanced diet of lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, fatty fish like salmon and dairy produce are all beneficial for healthy, strong hair.
Here are some of the top foods for healthy, strong, shiny-looking hair:
Oily fish such as salmon is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, and this high-quality protein source is also packed with vitamin B12 and iron. Essential omega-3 fatty acids are needed to support scalp health and a deficiency can result in a dry scalp and lifeless hair.
However, eat fish in moderation as it can also contain high levels of contaminants such as mercury. A vegetarian alternative is to include one or two tablespoons of ground flax seeds in the daily diet for some plant-based omega-3 fats.
Dark Green vegetables
Vegetables like spinach, broccoli and swiss chard, are excellent sources of vitamins A and C, which the body needs to produce sebum. This oily substance, secreted by the hair follicles, is the body's natural hair conditioner.
Dark green vegetables also provide iron, calcium and sulfur. Sulfur is an important mineral for glossy, shiny hair.
Legumes like kidney beans and lentils should be an important part of the hair-care diet. Not only do they provide plentiful protein to promote hair growth, but also iron, zinc, and biotin. Biotin deficiencies, whilst rare, can result in brittle hair.
Brazil nuts are one of the best natural sources of selenium, an important mineral for a healthy scalp.
Walnuts contain alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid that helps condition hair. They are also a great source of zinc, as are cashews, pecans, and almonds. A zinc deficiency can lead to hair loss, so make nuts are a regular addition to the diet.
Poultry is an example of high-quality protein. Inadequate or low-quality protein can result in weak, brittle hair, and a profound protein deficiency can result in loss of hair color, causing hair to become grey quicker.
Poultry also provides the body with a form of iron that has a high degree of bioavailability, meaning the body can easily reap its benefits.
Eggs are one of the best protein sources available, and they also contain biotin and vitamin B12, which are also important hair nutrients. Egg yolks are rich in zinc, which, among other uses, can help to maintain hair color and promote hair growth.
Dairy products like milk, yogurt and cottage cheese are great sources of calcium, an important mineral for hair growth. They also contain whey and casein, two high-quality protein sources.
Carrots are an excellent source of Vitamin A, which not only promotes good vision, but also a healthy scalp. A healthy scalp is essential for a shiny, well-conditioned head of hair.