In order to achieve the thick, shiny, healthy hair we all want, we turn toward products promising to do give us just that. Many of us forget that proper nutrition is one of the most important things to help nourish those beautiful locks. A balanced diet that is predominately plant-based can help you get the key nutrients necessary for keeping your hair healthy.
The best vitamins and nutrients for hair growth include lean proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, fat-soluble vitamins, B-complex vitamins, and iron. A Mediterranean-style diet packed with fiber-filled produce, 100% whole grains, and healthy fats is one of the easiest ways to get these essential nutrients. Be sure to include the following in your diet for healthy hair:
- Eggs – they’re full of biotin, a B vitamin that promotes hair growth and overall scalp health. A deficiency can cause brittle hair. Other high-biotin foods include peanuts, almonds, wheat bran, salmon, low-fat cheese, and avocados.
- Oysters – Opt for these to get plenty of zinc, a mineral that helps regulate the production of androgens. These are hormones that, in low levels, are associated with hair loss. People with low levels of androgens can also suffer from slow hair growth and dandruff. Adjusting your diet—and emphasizing zinc-rich choices like oysters, along with crab, clams, liver, lean beef, and wheat germ—will help stave off hair loss and keep your mane shiny and healthy.
- Sweet potatoes – These are packed with beta-carotene, which your body converts to vitamin A, a nourishing agent for your hair and skin. Vitamin A protects against dull hair and dry skin, a leading cause of dandruff. Other smart choices to get glowing hair and skin include carrots, kale, butternut squash, asparagus, and pumpkin.
- Beans – Legumes like kidney beans and lentils are great sources of iron-rich protein. Lentils, in particular, play a role in hair maintenance and support.
- Omega-3 fatty acids – They support scalp health; a deficiency can lead to dry scalp and dull hair. Good sources include salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, flaxseeds, and walnuts.
- Fruits and vegetables – They’re full of vitamin C, which helps your body absorb iron. Getting too little C can make hair dry and weak. The best sources are broccoli, leafy greens, green peppers, citrus fruit, and strawberries.
- Lean red meat – too little iron can cause baldness, according to research conducted at the Cleveland Clinic. Treating iron deficiency may help regrow hair. People who have problems with hair loss or hair growth tend to be iron deficient—especially women. Other iron-rich options include turkey, egg yolks, whole grains, dried fruit, and dried beans.