Best and worst foods for healthy hair

Instead of relying on shampoos and other products, reach for these items that are perfect for achieving healthy hair. All of these are essentially great for your diet as well.  

There are many factors that influence your hair health such as genetics, age, hormones, and nutrient deficiencies. But what you eat is one of the few things you can do to control your hair’s health. I know this through hands on lifestyle changes. I noticed a dramatic difference in my hair when I stick to foods in this list. 

When you eat nutrient-rich foods that are proven to help your hair, you can influence your hair’s thickness, its growth or shedding, how shiny it is, and even its likelihood of greying. Look at the list below that I created after researching and years of experiencing things on my own. I think you will find this list very beneficial. 

FIRST, THE BEST FOODS FOR HAIR

1 Almond Butter

Almond butter has a wide variety of nutrients. Some including protein, healthy fats, and certain vitamins which have all been linked to healthy hair. The vitamin E content in the nuts are what researchers say is particularly good for keeping your locks thick and lustrous.

2 Tangerines

The benefits of tangerines affect your hair in two big ways: One, its vitamin C content makes it easier for your body to absorb iron. Two, the vitamin B12 in tangerines promotes hair growth, reduces hair loss, and slows down the graying process. Did you hear that ladies?! Slows down the graying process!!

3 Amla Berries

Amla is a sour fruit native to India. They are also known as Indian gooseberry. It is high in antioxidants and prescribed by Ayurvedic (The worlds most ancient holistic wellness practice) doctors for glowing skin and hair. Defrost the berries, cut into small pieces and add them to your next Zero Belly Smoothie! -I buy mine online, as well as the tangerines sometimes too.

4 Spinach

Sometimes, a mineral deficiency is the cause of hair loss. Spinach is iron rich and it contains sebum, which acts as a natural conditioner for hair. This leafy green also provides omega-3 acids, magnesium, potassium, calcium and iron. All help keep hair lustrous, shiny and, most importantly, out of the drain.

5 Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is rich in vitamin B5 (known as pantothenic acid), which helps with blood flow to your scalp and hair growth. There are some procedures now a days that help to stimulate the blood flow in the scalp. 

6 Salmon

Salmon is one food that helps the body process insulin more efficiently. But avoid farmed salmon at all costs! Salmon is rich in Omega-3’s and are anti-inflammatory. It’s best to get omega-3s from natural sources, such as salmon and cold-water fish like sardines and mackerel. In addition to helping you stay fit and disease free, omega-3’s enable you to grow hair and keep it shiny and full.

7 Cinnamon

Cinnamon helps to improve circulation, which brings oxygen and nutrients to your hair follicles. Sprinkle this evocative spice on your toast and in your coffee, or sprinkle it on top of your oatmeal.

8 Oatmeal

Oats are rich in iron, fiber, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), which stimulate hair growth, making it thick and healthy.

9 Guava

Vitamin C prevents hair from becoming brittle and breaking. Although we often think of oranges as the best source of vitamin C, one guava packs four to five times as much.

10 Eggs

Eggs are packed with a B vitamin called biotin, which helps hair grow and strengthens brittle fingernails. Not having enough of this vitamin can lead to hair loss. Other good sources of biotin include almonds, avocados and salmon.

11 Lentils

Lentils have plenty of folic acid and are full of protein, iron, zinc and biotin. The body needs folic acid to restore the health of red blood cells that supply skin and scalp with hair-improving oxygen.

12 Oysters

Zinc is an important mineral for overall health. When you don’t have enough, you can experience hair loss…even your eyelashes!

13 Liver

I know I know. Gross right? Liver may sound not so appetizing, but if you like pâté, your hair will benefit. Organ meats such as liver have an abundance of iron. As mentioned, iron deficiency can lead to hair loss, most notably in women.

14 Lean Poultry

Have you ever noticed how your muscles don’t grow (and sometimes deplete) when you’re not getting enough protein? The same thing could happen to your hair. Without sufficient dietary protein, your hair will essentially go on strike. Less new hair will replace what’s falling out and you’ll experience an overall loss of hair. We loose on average of 100 strands per day through natural shedding!

15 Barley

Barley contains vitamin E which is a powerful antioxidant that can actually absorb damaging UV light and protect skin cells. It also repairs sun damage on the scalp, which can cause hair to thin.

16 & 17 Nuts and Seeds

Pistachios have been linked to helping with male pattern baldness, cashews have biotin, and walnuts contain oils that add to the amount of elastin in your hair. Elastin helps to keep your hair supple and stops it from breaking.

18 Sweet Potatoes

Beta carotene protects against dry, dull hair and stimulates the glands in your scalp to make an oily fluid called sebum. So where do you find this elixir of the locks? Orange-colored fruits and vegetables are your best bet: Carrots, pumpkin, cantaloupe, mangoes and sweet potatoes!

19 Halibut

Along with iron, another important mineral for keeping the shine off your dome is magnesium. Halibut has plenty of magnesium, as do several other types of fish. Women especially have been known for lacking this essential nutrient, that’s why we have cravings for chocolate!

20 Shiitake Mushrooms

Copper may help hair maintain its natural color, regardless of your color.

21 Chickpeas

Chickpeas contain some of the highest concentrations of vitamin B9. A cup of them packs a whopping 1,114 micrograms of B-9! I love making homemade hummus which is basically all chickpeas.

22 Spirulina

Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae that grows naturally in oceans and salty lakes in subtropical climates. The highest concentrations of copper are found in the livers of various animals, but the highest amount of non-animal-derived copper can be found in spirulina.

23 Marmite

While it was once smuggled into the U.S. by the families and friends of British expats, Marmite can be found at Whole Foods and Amazon. This yeast-extract spread looks like tar and has a unique and powerful odor all its own and for some may be an acquired taste. But if want to fend off the greys, you may want to give it a try.

24 Bok Choy

Dermatologists treating hair loss look at the level of ferritin in your blood. If you had been eating plenty of bok choy, which is super iron rich, they would likely see a spike in your ferritin levels.

NOW, THE WORST FOODS FOR HAIR

Sometimes it is just as important to know what not to do, than what to do. Here is a list of foods to stay away from if you want to change your hairs health.

1 Swordfish

Steer clear of fish like swordfish, mackerel, and even some tuna. They contain high levels of mercury which can lead to hair loss.

2 Diet Soda

Just like anything else ‘diet,’ the artificial sweeteners—specifically, aspartame—has been linked to hair loss.

3 Sugar

Protein is super important for your hair and sugar hinders the absorption of it. Steer clear of added sugar.

4 Starchy Whites

This one goes hand in hand with sugar, since white bread, cakes, pastries, white pasta, and other refined, over-processed starches are converted into sugar, which causes your hair to thin.

5 Alcohol

Alcohol slows the levels of zinc in your body, which is a necessary mineral for healthy hair and growth. It also dehydrates your hair, making it more brittle and likely to break.

6 Fast Food

Greasy food translates to greasy skin, including on your scalp. When your pores on your scalp get clogged, it can cause hair loss.

I hope you found this list to be helpful. You don’t have to incorporate all of these foods but it certainly wouldn’t harm you if you did. Also, every person has different chemical make ups and needs. When choosing the right foods for you and your diet sometimes takes a little trial and error, but this list of foods are scientifically proven to help your hair health. Some of you may need to go a step further and meet with a nutritionist to determine the best diet choices for you and your body. Life is about choices, so we want to gain as much knowledge as possible to make the right choices for our body.

~Rachel Yancey

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