Blonde or brunette. Paris or New York. Cocktail evening or work meeting. When it come to hair, only one rule holds: Thicker and glossier is better. Way, way better.
But surprisingly, even though all of us want thick and healthy hair, few of us do the easiest thing to get it — snack on something really delicious! Yes, I am talking about foods that promote hair growth.
According to every single hair expert I have ever met, your daily haircare regime should start at the breakfast table and not in the bathroom. That’s because hair, like skin, needs to be nurtured from the inside in order to look its best.
So, here is an expert-approved list of the best hair food, giving you a stronger, longer, thicker, more glossy mane. Stock up the pantry and get ready to say goodbye to dull, drab strands…!
Carrots (+ kale, asparagus & pumpkin)
Healthy hair needs vitamin A… lots of it. And the best natural source of vitamin A are carrots, followed by kale, asparagus and pumpkin.
All these vegetables not only nourish your hair and skin (remember, healthy scalp = soft, supple hair), they also prevent dandruff. Salad, anyone?
Salmon & flaxseed
When it comes to the best food for hair growth, it’s hard to beat salmon, which is loaded with vitamin B-12, iron and Omega-3 fatty acids. The latter are crucial for scalp health, and a deficiency can lead to dull, brittle strands.
Other good hair food options? Mackerel, sardines and herring.
Vegetarian? Include 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed (or 1 tablespoon flaxseed oil) in your daily diet for plant-based Omega-3 fats.
Glossy hair needs optimum levels of sebum — an oily substance in your follicles that acts as a natural conditioner. Fruits high in vitamin C help your body to produce sebum, so load up on those strawberries, oranges and grapefruits.
Popeye didn’t eat all that spinach for healthy hair but he could well have. It’s another great source for that much-coveted sebum, while also packing in powerful punches of iron and calcium for hair health.
Beans & legumes
Legumes (like kidney beans and lentils) provide plentiful protein to boost the thickness and length of your hair. Plus, beans also have iron, zinc, and biotin, which prevent breakage of strands, making them one of the best food for hair growth.
PS: The American Dietetic Association recommends 3 or more cups of lentils or beans each week as healthy hair food.
Raw pumpkin seeds
What makes raw pumpkin seeds one of the best foods that promote hair growth? They are loaded with hair vitamins — vitamin A and K for a healthy scalp and shiny tresses, vitamin B for supercharged hair growth, plus Omega 3 and 6 for strong strands and less breakage.
Nuts & dry fruit
Do you go nuts for thick, shiny hair? You should. Brazil nuts are one of nature’s best sources of selenium, an important mineral for the health of your scalp. Walnuts, in the meantime, contain zinc to prevent hair shedding, making them one of the best foods for hair growth.
Cashews, pecans and almonds are terrific sources of these minerals as well, so keep them around for those mid-day munchies!
Whole grains — including wholewheat bread and fortified whole grain breakfast cereals — are another heavy hitter on the hair food menu.
They provide the body with B vitamins, which promote happy tresses by boosting your red blood cell count. Red blood cells carry oxygen to hair strands and therefore increase their growth rate.
Low fat dairy
Calcium is very important for hair growth and thickness, and it can be found in low fat dairy products such as skim milk, fresh cheese and yoghurt. Plus, these foods also contain whey and casein — two major sources of protein.
Yogurt also contains cysteine — an amino acid that detoxes your body and promotes hair growth by actually increasing the thickness of each individual strand.
For some healthy hair food “to-go”, throw a yoghurt pot or cheese wedges in your bag to snack on later in the day.
When it comes to healthy hair, it doesn’t matter whether you like your eggs boiled, scrambled or fried. In either case, they are one of the best sources of protein you can find. And inadequate protein levels lead to weak and brittle hair, while a profound protein deficiency can even result in loss of hair colour.
Besides protein, eggs also contain biotin and vitamin B-12, both of which are important hair nutrients.
Oysters may be better known as aphrodisiacs but they can also lead to healthy hair. They regulate the production of androgens, a hormone whose low levels are associated with hair loss. Plus, there is zinc, a powerful antioxidant that supports the growth of strong, thick hair.