A “healthy hair diet” is one of the best ways to get strong and healthy hair. To produce good quality hair, our body needs to be strong and in good condition. After all, hair is not a vital part of our survival and rather a luxury product.
So to make sure we have everything we need to grow beautiful hair, we need to eat generally healthy, to begin with. This way we can make sure our body has everything it needs.
And in a second step, we can add specific foods that help with healthy hair growth. Let’s have a look at which nutrients have a positive effect on hair health so we can build our diet for healthy hair!
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The best foods for healthy hair
When we look at the foods that should be part of our healthy hair diet, we can distinguish three different goals.
- Strong roots: Our first goal is to get strong and healthy hair roots. The stronger our roots, the lower our risk to suffer from hair loss.
- Strong hair: Our second goal is for our body to produce a healthy hair composition. We want strong hair, that can deal with the stresses of everyday life. We don’t want sick hair that breaks at the slightest sign of stress.
- Growth: And our third goal is the most important hair goal for many people. Growth! We want to make sure that our hair growth is as fast as possible.
You certainly know there is a limit to the speed at which hair can naturally grow. But a healthy hair diet can help with this.
Food for healthy hair roots
Let’s start by looking at foods for strong hair roots.
Protein food for hair
To have healthy hair roots, you want to make sure to have enough protein in your diet. A lack of protein leads to thinner hair and hair loss.
Proteins are the building blocks of pretty much anything our body creates. So it is no surprise that they are a very important part of our healthy hair diet.
While you can support your hair by doing “external” protein treatments, this can never replace the protein from your diet.
Make sure to eat various protein foods, not only one! This is especially important if you are eating a plant-based diet.
Meat, products from milk, eggs, soy, and fish all give you “complete protein”. When using plant-based protein sources, on the other hand, you need to combine them to give you all amino acids you need. So basically, have some variation with your protein sources and you should be on your way to having a good diet for strong hair roots.
See below for some examples of protein-rich vegetarian foods for healthy hair roots and pin it for later!
Do you know what’s perfect for helping you keep track of your hair growth journey and keep you motivated? The hair planner! It contains quite a few printable pages helping you to grow healthy hair, and most importantly, a protein sources cheat sheet and a weekly meal planning page for healthy hair growth. Check it out here!
Antioxidants help protect everything again “oxidative damage”. Oxidative stress can cause hair loss. So anything high in antioxidants definitely falls under the category of “foods that are good for your hair”.
Very good sources of antioxidant vitamins are fruits and vegetables, vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds.
Getting your antioxidants from food rather than pills is safer and healthier than using supplements. But more on that later.
Foods for healthy hair composition
We don’t only want healthy hair roots. We also want thick and strong hair!
The best food for strong hair, again, is protein! To have full hair our body needs all the different amino acids, from which he builds each single hair strand.
(Just to make sure we are on the same page: we are talking thicker single hair here. The absolute number of hair on your head is genetic!)
To avoid brittle hair: get enough zinc in your diet
Zinc is necessary to avoid brittle hair. If you eat meat, you should usually have enough zinc in your diet.
For vegetarians like me, it can be a little more difficult. First of all, it is a little harder for the body to get zinc out of vegetables.
Second of all, legumes and whole grains contain so-called phytates. Those make it difficult for the body to absorb zinc.
So make sure to eat foods high in zinc separately from legumes and whole grains. Good examples of those foods are nuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds.
Diet for hair growth
The most important thing for hair growth is to avoid any kind of vitamin deficiency. Make sure to get enough iron, zinc and fatty acids in your diet.
Good sources of iron
Red meat is probably has a lot of iron. So if you eat meat, it is probably the best source of iron.
But for us vegetarians and vegans, there are also quite a few plant-based foods for hair growth. Lentils and beans, leafy vegetables, tofu, and chickpeas can all help you with your iron intake.
Arachidonic acid is an omega-6 fatty acid. You might have heard of it as “a bad one” because it is pro-inflammatory.
But it may also promote hair growth by enhancing follicle proliferation.
Foods that contain arachidonic acid are meat, fish, and eggs. Sorry vegans, there is no vegetable source of it!
Hair vitamins as part of your healthy hair diet
If you are like me and generally interested in hair topics, you have seen the ads: Hair vitamins! Promising long and healthy hair in no time!
But is that actually a thing? Do vitamins and hair supplements help in making our hair grow faster and healthier?
Let’s look at a few examples.
Supplements for healthy hair
When you are looking for supplements for healthy hair, a certain ingredient will pop up over and over again.
Almost any company marketing supplements for healthy hair will tell you to take Biotin for healthy hair. Unfortunately, this seems to be more of a way to get you to buy their supplements.
In fact, a healthy person usually produces enough biotin themselves. No need to supplement it. Additionally, there are no studies showing any benefits of biotin supplementation in healthy humans. So unless you suffer from some rare illness, you can skip the biotin supplement completely.
Hair growth supplements
Hair growth supplements usually contain a mix of different vitamins. They promise to make your hair grow faster and healthier. But some of them might actually do the opposite!
Some vitamins can actually cause hair loss when taking too much of it. What’s frightening is that these ingredients often are the first one in many hair growth supplements!
These are the ones you should look out for:
Vitamin A is important for your hair follicles functioning properly. But for it to help, the levels of Vitamin A need to be exactly right.
Having too much Vitamin A in your body causes hair loss. There are also quite a few other negative effects on your body, but we are talking about hair here. If you want healthy hair, DO NO over supplement on Vitamin A!
Taking too much Selenium is just plain toxic.
While we have no proper research on humans about any positive effects, we know very well about the negative effects. One side effect of the toxicity is hair loss.
Vitamin E is another of the ingredients in vitamins for hair loss. Like the others, it is pretty rare to have a deficiency. Over supplementing, on the other hand, can cause hair loss. Avoid any hair growth supplements with vitamin E.
Summary of your healthy hair diet
- eat a healthy and balanced diet
- if you need help with that consider using Dr. Gregers Daily Dozen to get you started
- make sure to get enough protein from various sources
- have your doctor check you for any vitamin deficiencies and then solve them
- do not overdose on vitamins, they might cause hair loss!
So now you have a good idea of what to eat for strong hair and healthy hair growth.
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