It’s a well-known beauty truth that the foods we eat play a major role in the appearance of our hair and skin. But whether it’s fish for shiny strands, water to clear up breakouts or kale for...just about everything, connecting the dots on nutrition and natural beauty can make your head spin.
Our advice: Focus on finding your own balance, which means a healthy diet, plenty of sleep and exercise. And you can’t go wrong by piling your grocery cart with the 10 good-for-you foods below, which are also scientifically proven to have magical hair-nurturing properties.*
Bet you’ve read that salmon is a must-have for healthy hair — but why? It’s packed full of omega-3 fatty acids, which prevent dry scalp and dull hair. If you’re an herbivore, pick up omega-3s from flaxseed, macadamia nuts and walnuts.
2. Leafy Greens
Yeah, yeah — kale is a superfood. So we’ve heard. But it, along with spinach, broccoli and Swiss chard, are also super for your hair health. Their stores of vitamins A and C are used in the production of sebum, an oil secreted by hair follicles to keep hair protected and waterproof.
They’re good for more than the heart. Legumes, such as kidney beans and lentils, are full of biotin. Without it? Hair is more fragile and brittle, so stock up.
We love keeping nuts around the house to munch on — and now we’re glad we do. Many nuts, such as walnuts, pecans, cashews and almonds, contain zinc, which can help prevent hair shedding. Notice your hair thinning lately? Add some almonds to your salads at lunch as a start.
Who knew that one of our favorite Monday night dinners could also give us a good hair day Tuesday? Poultry — that’s chicken, turkey or duck (if you want to get real fancy) — is full of good old fashioned protein, which when deficient can weaken hair and make it more susceptible to breakage.
Like their poultry and legume counterparts, eggs are full of protein and biotin, preventing hair from getting brittle and weak. As if we needed another excuse for Saturday morning brunch.
7. Whole grains
No doubt you’re already familiar with the concept of “good carbs,” and whole grains are no exception to those health benefits. But they also bring much-needed zinc and iron to your hair to combat hair shedding. Goodbye to peeling hair off your sweaters this winter.
Another solid source of zinc? Oysters are chock full of the powerful antioxidant that helps keep hair from falling out.
9. Low-fat dairy
Dairy is one of those controversial food groups — but we’re fully on board. The calcium, whey and casein found in skim milk and yogurt are instrumental minerals for hair growth. So keep the milk flowing (and yes, ice cream counts — at least on weekends).
Aside from being the perfect fall side dish, carrots are also a great source of vitamin A, which experts site as a key nutrient for supporting hair growth. Ready to grow yours out after that summer chop? Keep munching.
Illustrations by Arianne Krekeler
*Food and nutrition information from the global experts at the Trichological Society. Visit their site to dive deep on healthy-hair vitamins and more.