Luscious locks aren’t just the result of expensive styling products and pampering routines.
There’s mounting scientific evidence which suggests that what we eat is more important for our hair than what we put on it.
Recent studies suggest that we really can eat our way to thicker, shinier and more luscious locks.
But, not all food is made equal.
“Hair follicle cells are some of the most metabolically active and have amongst the highest cell turnover rate in the body,” says Alan Bauman, M.D, a hair restoration specialist.
“Severely restricting your calories and falling short on proteins, minerals and many essential vitamins can lead to structural abnormalities within the hair follicle, leading to pigmentation loss, or premature greying and hair loss”, he further adds.
Effectively if your diet is lacking in proteins and crucial amino acids, your hair will fall flat, lose its volume and look less than stellar.
Here’s how to remedy that; from minerals to nutrients, here is the low-down on which foods to eat for thicker hair growth.
THE BEST VITAMINS AND MINERALS FOR HAIR GROWTH
Between the ages of 15-30 is when we tend to see the most active and rapid hair growth.
After the age of 40, that natural activity does tend to slow, but that doesn’t mean you have to write off having luscious locks.
Whilst eating more of one specific vitamin or mineral won’t be the magical cure for thicker hair growth, building a diet rich in all of these minerals and vitamins will offer the biggest benefits for your hair;
- Vitamins A, C, D & E
- Biotin (For Hair Growth & Skin Complexion)
- B Vitamins
- Folate or Folic Acid
- Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids
If after altering your diet, you’re still not seeing results, it’s best to speak to your doctor or even dermatologist.
Drastic hair loss could be a symptom of internal disease such as an autoimmune disorder, an under-active thyroid or even skin problem.
It’s also extremely important to remember that some hair loss can be caused by ‘telogen effluvium’, a temporary hair loss condition caused by stress or a traumatic life event such as birth, bereavement or even moving jobs.
After 3-6 months, hair should return to its natural hair growth cycle.
If you’ve ruled out more serious conditions and are looking for ways to boost your hair growth, give it a bit more shine and amp up its volume, here are the best foods for hair growth you should be eating regularly according to dermatologists.
11 GOOD FOODS TO EAT FOR THICKER HAIR GROWTH
1. Sweet Potatoes
Whether you whip them up as a healthier alternative to fries, or just love to toss them into your salad, sweet potatoes served in any variety are one of the best foods to eat for hair growth.
Packed with Vitamins A and B6, the average sized sweet potato packs nearly 6 times your daily allowance of Vitamin A.
Vitamin A is needed for healthy sebum, hair oil production, which is linked with speedy hair growth says top NYC dermatologist, Dr. Klein.
2. Bell Peppers
Packed with an abundance of Vitamin C, bell peppers are one food you’ll definitely want to add to your diet if you want thicker hair.
Not only is vitamin C crucial for collagen fiber synthesis, which is necessary for stronger, thicker hair strands, but it also plays an essential role in helping your body absorb the iron you eat.
Just half a cup of bell pepper contains over 95mg of Vitamin C, which knocks other fruits and vegetables out of the park.
Recent research from the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology showed that a diet rich in omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids helps to reduce hair loss and improve hair growth.
“Nuts act as a natural emollient for the skin and hair, that is they help moisturize the hair follicle at the root, far better than any deep conditioning mask or topical treatment could provide” says Ana Ganachue, MD, LA board certified Dermatologist.
The best types to add to your diet would be walnuts and almonds to maximise this effect.
According to the World Health Organization, iron deficiency is the world’s leading deficiency, affecting up to 80% of the entire population.
Even the smallest of changes in iron levels within the bloodstream can lead to hair loss and thinning.
Whilst red meat, egg yolk and beans provide a healthy dose of much needed protein, oysters trump the lot.
Oysters provide a double threat, containing both zinc and iron both of which are necessary for hair repair and hair growth.
Another vegan friendly source of protein, certain types of beans contain lots of protein and iron. Just half a cup of white beans gives you 9 grams of plant powered protein and 3.5 grams of iron.
Beans are also jam packed with selenium, zinc, folate and gut-filling fiber.
6. Fatty Fish
“Women especially need around 50 grams of high quality protein per day. A diet low in heart healthy fats, low in protein, and low in phytonutrients found in fresh vegetables and fruits often leads to sudden weight loss, limp unhealthy hair and even rapid shedding” states Ganachue.
Combat this with a healthy helping of fatty fish, packed with lean protein vitamin D, and other hair boosting compounds such as linoleum acid, an essential fatty acid.
Fatty fish has been shown to nourish the skin, and thicken the fat layer surrounding the hair follicle, leading to healthier hair growth.
7. Greek Yoghurt
Opt for the unsweetened stuff and you’ll eat around 24 grams of high quality protein.
The more natural you can get the yoghurt the better, all that refined sugar can even stunt hair growth says Ganuche.
Eat on its own or top with blueberries for a double whammy.
8. Grass Fed Beef
Meat eaters will be pleased to know that grass fed beef is still on the menu for luscious locks.
“Grass-fed beef in particular is incredibly rich in iron and omega 3 fatty acids, both of which have been shown to thicken hair” says Klein.
A 4 ounce steak can score you roughly 23 grams of protein and 3mg of iron.
‘Eggs are a perfect source of protein and biotin which are both necessary for healthy hair growth’ says Klein.
Biotin keeps enzymes in a happy state, helping them to metabolize key nutrients such as fats and carbs which nourishes hair follicles.
Plus, egg yolks are full of Vitamin D, important to eat in our diets since our bodies don’t produce it naturally.
With all the spinach Popeye ate you would think he would have had a better head of hair.
Spinach is a vegan friendly iron source, a nutrient which has been shown to prevent hair thinning.
Beyond packing an extra source of plant powered iron, spinach is full of folate, alone with Vitamins A and C.
Folate and folic acid is crucial in healthy cell growth both in your hair and skin.
Blueberries in particular help to stimulate hair growth thanks to their abundance of proanthocyanidins, a plant chemical that interacts with hair follicles to accelerate hair growth.
Plus, blueberries flood your hair with vitamins A, B5, C and E.
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