Frizzy and fried, thin and lifeless? The condition of your hair can be an important indicator of what’s going on inside your body, especially as it relates to your diet. In fact, the cells that make up each hair strand require a regular supply of key nutrients found in the foods we eat. And while some foods such as liver, pumpkin seeds and raw oysters may not be appealing to some, they and other foods are really good for you and your hair. Here’s a brief list, along with some yummy recipe links from our favorite food websites, to get your hair health in optimum shape.
As hair itself is composed of it, a diet rich in protein is critical for strong, healthy hair. Without it your locks will likely turn dry, brittle and weak, with exceedingly low protein diets resulting in hair loss. Poultry, fish and eggs are rich in protein, and for vegetarians try legumes and nuts.
An important mineral for hair health, a deficiency of iron can result in anemia, which is a major cause of hair loss. A blood supply rich in nutrients nourish follicles and roots; a disruption of that supply to the follicle weakens the hair growth cycle. Red meat, chicken and fish provide iron with vegetarian options include lentils, spinach broccoli and kale.
Scalp protection involves other important minerals, notably zinc. A lack of zinc can lead to hair loss and a dry, flaky scalp. Fortified cereals and whole grains are a good source of zinc along with oysters, beef and eggs.
These fatty acids are important fats our bodies don’t manufacture, so they must be provided via diet. Omega-3s contribute to stronger, shinier hair and provide the oils that keep our scalp and hair hydrated. Oily fishes such as herring and salmon are terrific sources with vegetarian options including avocados and walnuts.