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Written by Helen Sanders
Regardless of who you are, man or woman, everyone has experienced the dreaded bad hair day. When this happens, many of us reach for shampoos or styling products to tame our locks, but did you know that the health of your hair can be significantly influenced by the foods you eat?
Of course, many factors are out of our control when it comes to how our hair looks, such as genetics, age, medication and so on. However, the food you put into your body is one thing that you can control.
Eating foods packed with nutrients that are scientifically proven to aid hair health can improve everything from your hair’s thickness to how fast it grows and even how quickly those greys set in! Moreover, avoiding foods which are harmful to hair health and ensuring you are not missing essential nutrients can prevent split ends and hair loss.
Today I want to share with you the top 4 foods to eat for healthy looking hair, but first, let’s look at the nutrients which are most essential to hair health so you can understand just why these foods are so important.
Nutrients Needed For Healthy Hair
Hair is mostly comprised of proteins, therefore, it’s not surprising that eating a protein rich diet helps both the health and appearance of your hair. Having a protein packed diet can promote thicker, glossy looking hair while maintaining the strength of the individual hair strands and follicles.
Vitamin E is important to hair health because it promotes blood flow. This in turn helps deliver nutrients, most notably to the scalp. Therefore, vitamin E aids hair growth by promoting the delivery of oxygen and nutrients directly to the hair follicles.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, which helps the body by fighting free radicals. The sun is one of the largest sources of free radicals, and this makes our hair prone to damage. A diet rich in vitamin C can help ward off free radicals and promote long term hair health.
You’ve probably seen biotin supplements advertised as a miracle supplement for spurring on super fast hair growth. However, what biotin actually does is improve overall hair health by stopping hair from becoming brittle and frail. From there, it actually reduces thinning and shedding. By promoting a healthy hair cycle, hair is able to grow more easily. (source)
Iron deficiency is one of the leading causes of hair loss especially among women. We are at higher risk of iron deficiency due to depletion of iron stores during the menstrual cycle. Iron has many major physiologic processes within the hair follicle, therefore, iron deficiency can disrupt hair synthesis (source).
A diet rich in iron is crucial for maintaining hair health, especially for us ladies.
Zinc promotes healthy hair by helping the body to balance hormone production and other cellular activities. Fluctuation in hormones plays a major role in poor hair health and can even lead to significant hair loss. This is especially true of menopausal women (source).
Zinc also helps the body absorb vitamins, making this nutrient a must for healthy hair.
Magnesium promotes healthy hair by helping to regulate a number of chemical processes in the body, including heart rate and muscle function. Magnesium is very important for healthy hair, most notably for hair growth.
Top 4 Foods to Eat for Healthy Looking Hair
#1 – Almond Butter
Almond butter is packed with essential nutrients needed for healthy hair. It has an excellent amount of protein, healthy fats as well as a huge dose of vitamin E.
In fact, just one tablespoon of almond butter contains two thirds of your RDA for vitamin E.
#2 – Spinach
This green leafy favorite is a hair superfood, keeping your hair thick and most importantly out of the drain! Packed with a number of essential nutrients, spinach is rich in magnesium and iron.
#3 – Guava
Although many think of citrus fruits when it comes to getting their daily dose of vitamin C, guava actually has four times the amount of an orange, making it the perfect fruit fight off free radicals and keep hair looking fabulous.
#4 – Eggs
Eggs are incredibly beneficial to hair for two reasons. Firstly, they’re the gold standard when it comes to protein. Secondly, they are packed with biotin. Regardless whether you like them sunny side up, boiled or scrambled, adding eggs to your breakfast is a great way to promote hair health all day long.
Helen Sanders is chief editor at HealthAmbition.com. Established in 2012, Health Ambition has grown rapidly in recent years. Our goal is to provide easy-to-understand health and nutrition advice that makes a real impact. We pride ourselves on making sure our actionable advice can be followed by regular people with busy lives.