Better hair doesn’t just come from laying off the bleach. You can get it at the dinner table. Well, kind of. It’s no secret that what you eat and drink can directly affect your skin, and the same goes for the health of your hair.
“Various foods can be helpful for growing and maintaining healthy hair because they contain specific nutrients to support your scalp, follicles, and the hair itself,” explains Nutritionist Dr. Charles Passler and founder of Pure Change.
While you shouldn’t expect to eat a salad and wake up with Rapunzel-length strands, chowing down on nourishing snacks can get you one step closer to the good hair day you’ve been waiting for.
So what should you fill your plate with? Next time you’re at the grocery store, consider stocking up your fridge with the pro suggestions below.
“New Zealand Lamb is packed with nutrients to support hair,” notes Dr. Passler, who notes that it’s rich in healthy fat and protein that is vital for healthy hair, skin, and muscles. “It’s rich in iron and B12 that promote healthy red blood cells needed to transport oxygen to your scalp.”
This nutrient is beyond beneficial for your hair and your skin. “Zinc deficiency can lead to hair loss, therefore, having ample zinc will not only prevent hair loss it will help you hair to grow,” explains Nikki Ostrower, the Founder and Nutritionist at NAO Wellness, LLC. You can find it in pumpkin seeds, ginger, pecans, eggs, and for those seafood aficionados, oysters.
Swap that iceberg salad for spinach greens. Dr. Passler says this food is rich in vitamin A, which is helpful for hair growth. Not only that, but it’s also a source of vitamin C and folate, both of which improve the health of your scalp.
Hit up the produce aisle for this mineral. Ostrower says it’s found in leeks, green beans, garbanzo beans, strawberries, cucumber, mango, celery, asparagus, and rhubarb. “Silica is a trace mineral that strengthens the body’s connective tissues -–muscles, tendons, hair, ligaments, nails, cartilage, and bone—and is crucial for healthy hair elasticity.”
Seriously, don’t overlook your omega-3s. According to Ostrower, this fatty acid has anti-inflammatory properties and can strengthen your hair follicles and prevent hair loss. In fact, she says when you’re deficient, the signs usually show up in flaky skin, dull hair, and brittle, weak nails. “Therefore, getting enough of omega-3 daily will leave you with lustrous, youthful, thick hair. Foods rich in omega-3 are wild salmon, sardines, halibut, pastured eggs, chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, and walnuts.”
You’ve heard of biotin supplements, we’re sure, but did you know you can get this from your veggies? “Swiss Chard is a great source of Biotin,” says Dr. Passler. “Getting enough of this essential nutrient can really boost the growth of hair and nails.”