Not getting those luxurious locks from your regular hair care routine? Struggling to find ways to increase hair growth and thickness? Not to be the bearers of bad news, but thickness tends to be determined by genetics, the thickness of hair follicles, and the number of follicles on the scalp. Although that may be the case, your diet plays an important role in the overall health of your hair and scalp, according to board-certified dermatologists.
Nutrients For Healthier Hair
Several studies show that omega-3 fatty acids are one of the most essential nutrients for hair health. Omega-3s may reduce hair loss and improve the overall texture of your hair. In addition to omega-3s, protein, iron, fiber, zinc vitamins A, B, C, D, and E help your hair grow, according to a 2017 report. Although large trials are lacking on which foods specifically influence hair growth, eating more of the aforementioned nutrients may support healthier hair. Health experts suggest that you eat more of the following foods to give your hair a helping hand.
Dark Green Vegetables
Broccoli, spinach, kale, and Swiss chard are all examples of dark green vegetables. These foods are great sources of both iron and vitamin A. Iron boosts circulation and carries oxygen to your hair’s roots, encouraging faster and longer growth. Vitamin A plays an integral role in the production of natural oils that condition your hair and contribute to optimal shine and elasticity. A review from 2019 found that people assigned female at birth dealing with hair loss tend to be iron deficient.
Hair follicles are made up of proteins, so eating more foods that contain protein can help support hair growth. Legumes, such as chickpeas, black beans, lentils, kidney beans, and other legumes are great plant-based sources of protein. Besides the protein content, legumes contain other hair-promoting nutrients like zinc, iron, and B-vitamins.
Seeds tend to be excellent sources of biotin, omega-3s, protein, vitamin E, and zinc, all of which contribute to healthier hair. A study from 2009 concluded that oxidative stress may damage skin cells on the scalp and cause hair loss. Seeds are naturally rich in antioxidants, which fight oxidative stress, so researchers believe that they can reduce hair loss by protecting skin cells. Sunflower seeds, for example, happen to be a great source of vitamin E, which may protect the hair from environmental toxins. They also contain density-promoting omega-3s, which flax seeds also contain. The oils from seeds, such as flaxseed oil, can also provide these nutrients and help the body better absorb nutrients like vitamins A and E.
Just like seeds, nuts are excellent sources of essential fatty acids, especially almonds, cashews, walnuts, and Brazil nuts. Additionally, nuts also provide minerals like zinc and selenium, which encourage healthy tissue development, especially on the scalp. Walnuts are especially great because they are some of the richest sources of omega-3s. You can also obtain these nutrients by consuming nut butters. Just make sure that these butters are free of added sugars, preservatives, and artificial flavors.
Orange Fruits And Vegetables
Vitamin A is truly the workhorse of dermatology, as it helps the scalp produce sebum, which are oily secretions that encourage hair growth. Orange fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, papaya, mangos, and butternut squash, are rich in beta-carotene, which is the precursor to vitamin A.
Grains, including barley, oats, whole wheat, millet, and spelt provide necessary fiber, B-vitamins, iron, zinc, and silica. Health experts note that silica is “the beauty mineral.” Smaller studies indicate that silica helps deliver nutrients to the scalp, which encourages healthier, thicker hair growth.