A bowl of fruit on yogurt, with strawberries and raspberries and blueberries.

A Diet for Thicker, Longer Hair

A bowl of fruit on yogurt, with strawberries and raspberries and blueberries.

Fruit CC Photo Courtesy of Celeste Lindell

At some point in our lives, we end up receiving a horrible haircut. Maybe it’s too short for our tastes, or the layers just don’t look right. Don’t worry, it will grow back. But are you patient enough to wait? Maybe you’ve always wanted long, luxurious locks, but it is persistently dry (especially this time of year), and always ends up breaking. Besides covering it with various products that may or may not work or taking a trip to the Windsor hair salon every month for a conditioning treatment, is there another way?

Yes – look to your diet for the solution! Rather than booking a multitude of appointments for spa services, just adding a few foods to your diet can actually serve to thicken and strengthen your hair, and others can even help your hair to grow faster. While the changes won’t happen overnight, or even in a week, if you keep ingesting these foods on a daily basis, over time you’ll notice your hair has changed.

Eating these foods help feed the hair follicles, the foundation of healthy hair. You wouldn’t want a weak, crumbling foundation supporting your house, would you? If you don’t feed the follicles, you are giving the hair a poor foundation from which to grow. What are these magical superfoods? Here’s a quick list:

  • Sweet Potatoes: The magical nutrient contained in the sweet potato is beta carotene, which ends up being converted into vitamin A, an important nutrient for your entire body. It also keeps dandruff at bay since it promotes the production of the oils your scalp needs to be comfortable, not dry and itchy. If sweet potatoes aren’t your thing, go for carrots, apricots, pumpkins, mangoes, and cantaloupe.
  • Salmon: We’ve all heard how amazing salmon is for our bodies. This is true for your hair – it packs a 1-2-3 punch with vitamin D, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids. The omega-3s are important since your body can’t produce them by itself, and roughly 3 percent of your hair shaft is made up of them! Adding omega-3s to your diet ensures your body can grow healthy, shiny hair. They’re also found in other fish like mackerel, sardines, and trout, or walnuts (the only type of nut that contains a good amount of omega-3s), avocado, and pumpkin seeds.
  • Walnuts: Speaking of walnuts, they pack more than omega-3s. You’ll also find vitamin E and biotin, both essential for your cells to protect themselves. Why would your hair cells need to protect themselves? Think about it – are you slathering sunscreen on your hair, or tucking it under a bandana or hat? The sun is a big culprit of cell damage when it comes to hair. Biotin is essential to guard against hair loss. Copper is also found in the nut, protecting your natural hair color from becoming dull, negating the need for an appointment with a colorist at the beauty salon. If you aren’t a fan of walnuts, try switching to walnut oil in place of canola oil in your stir-fries and salad dressings.
  • Blueberries: These sweet little powerhouses pack an insane amount of vitamin C, which helps your circulation, essential to scalp health. Toss a handful into your smoothies or on your Greek yogurt, or look to other things rich in vitamin C like clementines, tomatoes, strawberries, or kiwis.
  • Greek Yogurt: This variety of yogurt is full of protein, vitamin D, and vitamin B5, which you might notice is a common ingredient in hair care products, also known as pantothenic acid. If you just can’t stand Greek yogurt, you can get the same benefits from skim milk, cottage cheese, and low-fat cheese.
  • Spinach: Not only will you find vitamin C in this leafy green, you’ll also get results from the iron, folate, and beta-carotene found in spinach. This all serves to feed the follicles. Kale, broccoli, and Swiss chard will have the same effects.
  • Eggs: These protein-packed wonders provide your body with selenium, iron, sulfur, and zinc. All of these help oxygenate your cells to feed your hair follicles, resulting in faster growing hair. You can also eat pork, fish, chicken, or beef to experience the same results.
  • Lentils: A powerful little legume, it is full of many nutrients to help your hair, mainly zinc, protein, iron, and biotin. Soybeans and kidney beans are also great options.

 

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