Strong, healthy hair is something that most people want. Typically, hair grows about half an inch per month, though the growth rate varies depending on many factors. Hair health can be affected by age, genetics, stress, hormones, hygiene, styling habits and diet. A diet lacking in the right nutrients can manifest itself on the scalp.
Although hair loss can be distressing, the good news is you can control your diet, and modifications to that can be helpful in promoting hair growth. In particular, a hair-healthy diet includes plenty of protein because hair follicles are made mostly of protein. Others that are important are essential fatty acids and vitamins A, B, C, D and E. Below are 10 foods rich in these nutrients that help hair grow long, thick and strong.
Eggs are one of the best foods for hair health because they contain protein and a B vitamin called biotin. Biotin is necessary to produce a hair protein known as keratin. Eggs are also a source of zinc and selenium, both of which are hair-healthy minerals.
Berries are an excellent source of vitamin C, which has antioxidant properties. Antioxidants help protect the hair follicles from harmful molecules called free radicals, which exist naturally in the body and in the environment. Vitamin C is also used to produce collagen, a protein that prevents hair from breaking or getting brittle. Vitamin C also helps the body absorb iron, a deficiency of which is linked to hair loss.
Spinach contains vitamin A, which helps with the production of sebum, an oily substance that moisturizes the scalp to keep hair healthy. Vitamin A can also increase the rate of hair growth and encourage thickness. In addition to vitamin A, spinach also contains vitamin C and iron.
4. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish include salmon, herring and mackerel, all of which are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to hair growth. In addition, fatty fish are sources of protein and B vitamins.
5. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a great source of beta-carotene, a compound the body converts to vitamin A, and consuming a medium sweet potato provides more than enough of this nutrient. Beta-carotene can also be found in other orange foods such as carrots, pumpkin, cantaloupe and mangoes.
Avocados contain essential fatty acids. Deficiency of essential fatty acids has been linked to hair loss. Avocados are also an excellent source of vitamin E, which, like vitamin C, helps protect against the negative effects of free radicals. It also keeps the skin on the scalp healthy. Damaged scalp skin can result in poor hair quality and fewer hair follicles.
7. Sweet Peppers
Sweet peppers are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, both of which are essential for hair health.
Oysters are one of the best food sources of zinc, a mineral that helps promote hair growth and repair. Zinc deficiency is associated with hair loss. On the other hand, taking too much zinc can contribute to hair loss, which is why it might be better to get it in small, healthy doses from foods such as oysters than counting on supplements to provide it.
Shrimp is rich in protein, zinc, iron, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, which all contribute to hair growth.
Beans contain protein, iron, biotin and folate. Folic acid deficiency is linked to hair loss. In addition to promoting hair growth, folate can also help control premature graying.