Hair is one of those things that can, when it’s working in your favor, make you feel Beyoncé-level confident and, when it’s working against you, make you feel like putting a paper bag over your head and never leaving the house. But for all that you’re after—shine, strength, thickness, more volume, less frizz, fewer limp and oily strands—your diet can make a big difference. To help you get closer to your hair goals, we put together this guide to getting better hair with food. Keep scrolling to see the nutrients that make a big difference when it comes to the health and appearance of your strands, and which foods to eat to get them!
Our body already makes biotin, so it’s not too important to take supplements unless you’re deficient (which a small percentage of people actually are). What is important is to eat a balanced diet that includes biotin-rich foods, such as eggs, almonds, and avocados.
Folate and iron help to create red blood cells, which carry oxygen to your scalp and follicle cells to promote hair growth. Iron deficiency, which is common in women during childbearing years, is also linked to hair loss. Spinach is one of the highest food sources of folate and iron, so cook up a cup with your morning omelet or have a fresh spinach salad for lunch.
Protein is vital for all cell growth, especially that of your hair. Hair gets its structure from proteins called keratin, and a deficiency in protein for keratin leads to slow hair growth as well as weak and thin hair strands. Foods rich in protein are chicken, pork, and lean beef. However, if you are vegetarian, lentils, tofu, and soybeans are great sources of protein as well.
Vitamin C is used to create collagen, which is a fiber that helps our hair follicles remain healthy for hair growth and prevents our strands from splitting. Bell peppers, oranges, and tomatoes are rich in vitamin C.
Vitamin A is crucial for hair cell growth and a healthy scalp. Deficiency in vitamin A can lead to dry, lifeless hair. However, too much vitamin A can lead to hair loss; thus, getting the right amount is critical. Sweet potatoes, kale, and carrots are excellent sources of beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body.
Zinc helps restore and promote growth of hair tissues by improving overall immunity in the body. Surprisingly, oysters, crab, clams, and other shellfish are high in zinc and generally good-for-you sources of lean protein, as well, so hit the raw bar after work—in the name of your hair.
What foods do you reach for to get healthier hair? Share them in the comments below! And click here to give your hair some extra love.