Foods That Fight Hair Loss and Support Thick, Healthy Hair, According to a Dietitian
When it comes to thick, healthy hair, we are bombarded with tons of hair care products promising to improve the look and feel of our hair. Many of us forget that proper nutrition is one of the most important things to help nourish those gorgeous locks. A balanced diet that is predominately plant-based can help you get the key nutrients necessarily for keeping your hair, skin and nails in great shape. 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 plan packed with fiber-filled produce, 100% whole grains, and healthy fats is one of the easiest ways to get these essential nutrients.On the other hand, what you eat can also have a dramatic effect on hair loss. Consider replacing processed and packaged foods that are very nutrient-poor for more whole, real and natural foods. Many of these processed items are loaded with additives and artificial ingredients that you just don’t need. Plus, these processed foods can wreak havoc on the gut. Having a healthy gut flora is essential for helping with nutrient absorption to bolster the hair, skin, and nails.
Salmon- As a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids and protein, salmon can help keep those strands strong. But salmon has many health benefits beyond supporting hair, including reducing inflammation and benefiting your central nervous system (a.k.a. your brain).
Eggs- Eggs are chock full of protein and essential nutrients that contribute to hair health, such as choline and vitamins A, D, and B12. You’ll want to make sure you keep the yolk in your scramble to get the most Vitamin D. Two specific carotenoids found in eggs, lutein and zeaxanthin, also play a role in maintaining cellular health, especially of eyes, skin, and hair.
Peanuts and Peanut Butter- Peanuts are a significant source of biotin, known to both stimulate hair growth and prevent hair loss. A ¼ cup serving packs up to 9 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber, and a unique profile of antioxidants. Peanuts are also super filling, which is why they’re an ideal swap for meat if you’re vegetarian or vegan.
Spinach- Spinach is packed with magnesium, iron, and folate, one of those all-important B vitamins. Other leafy greens like kale also offer nutrient-dense benefits for skin and hair. Plus, the vitamin C in these dark green leafy veggies helps to protect and maintain the cell membranes of hair follicles.
Sardines- Omega-3 and vitamin D-packed sardines come readily and cheaply available in canned form (just buy them in water, not oil!). Try adding sardines to salads and spreads as a lower-mercury alternative to other fatty fish.
Chia Seeds- Looking for a vegetarian or vegan source of omega-3s? Chia seeds are full of them, not to mention fiber and antioxidants. This nutritional powerhouse is considered a complete protein, containing 20% more protein than soy beans, and can help promote beautiful and luscious locks. These tiny, shelf-stable seeds can be added to cereal, smoothies, puddings, and even as a heart-healthy boost in baked goods.
Pumpkin – A half cup of your favorite squash contains just a mere 83 calories and less than a gram of fat. Plus, it’s loaded with iron and beta-carotene, the precursor to vitamin A — an important vitamin for hair growth and strength. Pumpkin also is full of vitamins C and E that help repair your body’s cells from damage. Load up on the canned puree and use it in sauces, protein dishes, and even in snacks to help keep hair at its healthiest.
Avocado- Avocado toast will never go out of style, and for good reason! Packed with healthy fats, avocados contain Vitamin E which is a powerful antioxidant that promotes hair growth. Avocados also contain biotin and are a popular ingredient in many DIY hair masks.
Grapes- Like other plant-based foods, grapes contain polyphenolic compounds with antioxidant properties, which may help reduce cellular damage. Oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPC) found in grapes help to prvent dihydrotestosterone production which is a main factor in hair loss. OPC also stimulates the growth of hair follicles. Eating about a cup of grapes per day can help to protect your tissues from inflammation.
Buckwheat- Swapping out white refined carbohydates for 100% whole grains can help you amp up the fiber, zinc, iron, and B vitamins in your diet to support healthy hair. Buckwheat, considered a whole grain, is a nutritious gluten-free seed and its benefits are endless. Buckwheat is filled with key antioxidants and fiber, which can help you fill up faster. Use it as a swap for oatmeal at breakfast or rice in stir-frys, and try buckwheat-based Udon when making ramen or other noodle dishes.