Foods That Dermatologists Say Can Help Grow Healthier Hair
Dreaming of longer, healthier locks? You’re not alone. For some of us, achieving hair that looks and feels great may seem impossible, especially if we have thinner or more brittle hair. While hair products may be helpful, there are also natural ways to help promote stronger and thicker hair just by making the right food choices.
New nutrient-research for hair growth shows just that what’s on our plates may matter more than we ever thought in terms of hair health. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the primary foods that dermatologists and other health experts agree can help grow thicker and stronger hair, all while nourishing the rest of the body with the foods it needs to thrive inside and out.
Dermatologist Recommended Foods For Healthier Hair
Eggs are an excellent source of protein, and without enough protein, we run the risk of having brittle hair with slow growth. Eggs are also rich in vitamins and minerals needed for stronger, smoother, and shinier hair, including biotin, zinc, and selenium. So, go ahead and have those scrambled eggs or veggie omelet for breakfast. It’s a wonderful healthy choice (in the right amounts), it’s hair-approved!
#2 Dark Leafy Greens
There’s a reason our parents forced us to eat our veggies as a young child. Vegetables are good for us in so many ways. As it turns out, eating our veggies may benefit our hair as much as our bodies… more motivation to add those leafy greens to your plate. Dark leafy greens like spinach and swiss chard are full of vitamin C, which is needed to help support collagen production for hair growth and preventing hair damage. These veggies are also rich in vitamin A, which can help protect our hair follicles.
So add those greens to your diet whenever possible. Try adding a handful to your veggie omelet, mix your romaine lettuce salad with some kale and arugula to make a delicious lunch, or simply toss a handful of leafy greens into your smoothie for an easy way to get an added dose of green veggies each day.
#3 Brazil Nuts
While not as widely talked about as some of the other hair and beauty-boosting foods, Brazil nuts may just have what it takes to support great hair. A scientific menopause study review published on NCBI found that selenium plays a role in growing hair. But, it gets a little tricky here, because too much selenium can cause hair to become brittle, so you need a balance. And, since Brazil nuts are such a selenium powerhouse, you’ll want to keep your intake low, munching on no more than about four Brazil nuts per day.
The National Institutes of Health state that we should not go beyond 40 micrograms (mcg) of selenium per day. One brazil nut contains 68-91 mcg, so keep this in mind.
#4 Vitamin B-rich Foods
B vitamins are super important for helping our body convert food into energy, and B vitamins like biotin have long been used and recommended by dermatologists for healthier hair, skin, and nails. To make sure you are getting enough vitamin B-rich foods to support stronger and healthier hair, enjoy lots of whole grains, eggs, beans, and grass-fed and organic poultry if you choose to eat meat.
#5 Protein-Rich Foods
As we already mentioned, protein is key for hair growth. Francesca J. Fusco, M.D, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital, told health.com that protein is definitely necessary for the health of your hair. She recommends protein-rich foods like beans, lean meat, poultry, and fish.
Following a plant-based diet? Good for you! Don’t be afraid to bulk up your plant-based protein food intake by getting plenty of lentils, tempeh, and extra beans in your diet.
#6 Iron-Rich Foods
Did you know that anemia can lead to hair shedding and thinning? Making sure you are getting enough iron-rich foods in your diet is a great way to help support stronger hair with faster growth. Some great iron-rich foods include spinach, eggs, lentils, molasses, liver, and grass-fed beef.
L-lysine is an amino acid that helps promote hair growth. Since this amino acid is found in our hair’s root, it makes sense that getting enough from your diet would help support healthy hair. Not getting enough has been shown to lead to hair loss, so boost your intake of this amino acid by adding some spirulina to your daily smoothie! Not only is spirulina rich in l-lysine, but it’s also a great source of plant-based protein and iron. It’s the trifecta when it comes to the nutrients your hair needs for growth.
Add a little to smoothies, or sprinkle it on a morning quinoa bowl. You can even add it to guacamole! You really don’t need much, as a little goes a long way.
The Answer to Stronger Hair May Not Be What You Think
We see lots of hair growth pills and shampoos on the market today, often with some pretty scary sounding chemical ingredients included. It’s understandable that people want a quick solution to the problem. But, as with most things, when it comes to the body, there isn’t a magic pill that will immediately give you thicker and stronger hair.
However, with the right food choices, and a focus on a wholesome diet full of nutrient-rich healthy fats, protein, and clean carbs, and following a smart hair care routine, your hair will start to reflect the healthy choices you make each day.
So, add these foods to your weekly grocery list, enjoy them regularly, and watch your hair and your health grow with each healthy bite.