Yes, your diet can impact your tresses!

By Rania Batayneh, MPH
May 29, 2019
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In most cases, hair is an outward expression of what we put into our bodies. From vitamins to good fats, diet can impact the health of hair, hair growth, shine, and texture. Because hair is "fed" by blood vessels at the base of the follicle (this is also the root under the skin where our hair grows from), it's important to incorporate a diet rich in specific nutrients to maintain normal healthy hair growth. Without a healthy and balanced diet, hair may become weaker and thinner as it goes from the growth to shedding stage.

While the idea of eating your way to better hair sounds exciting, know that lifestyle factors including smoking, dietary imbalance, medications, stress, and hormones can also impact the health of hair. You want your insides to be as beautiful as your outsides and incorporating healthy foods daily will make all the difference. Here, some key nutrients you can add to your diet that can influence hair health.

Iron

One of the main benefits of eating enough iron is simply that it helps deliver blood to your body's cells. If you are aren't eating enough iron, then your blood can't carry enough oxygen to your scalp which can impede hair growth. Load up on whole grains, spinach, legumes, pumpkin seeds, red meat, clams, quinoa, turkey, tofu, and dark chocolate for more iron.

Vitamins A and C

Foods rich in vitamins A and C contribute to the production of sebum, the oily substance that your hair follicles spit out. This keeps your hair conditioned and also prevents it from breaking off. Swiss chard, spinach, broccoli, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin are all good sources of these important vitamins.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Hair follicles also benefit from consumption of omega-3s by nourishing the follicles and promoting health hair growth. They add elasticity to the hair as well, preventing it from breaking off. Lack of omega-3 can lead to dry looking hair which in turn can end in dandruff or an itchy scalp. To easily add more omega-3s to your diet, try to fill your plate with flax seeds, walnuts, tuna, salmon, kale, Brussels sprouts, and rapeseed oil.

Zinc

Zinc helps keep the scalp and hair healthy by boosting tissue growth and repair. It also plays a role in helping the body maintain production of oil-secreting glands on the scalp that help your hair grow. Chickpeas, wheat germ, oysters, beef, veal, liver, and egg yolks are all good sources of zinc.

Protein

Not eating enough protein means running the risk of losing hair as well as increasing the chances of thinning hair. To add more protein to your diet, try Greek yogurt, eggs yolks, kale, peanuts, beans, peas, lentils, tofu, chicken, and turkey.

Selenium

Selenium stimulates hair follicles to encourage new growth. Brazil nuts, tuna, halibut, shrimp, sardines, ham, chia seeds, and sunflower seeds are all selenium-rich foods.

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