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The Best Foods For Healthy Hair
Of course choosing the right products is vital to the health and appearance of your hair, but we also often talk about diet, exercise, sufficient sleep, keeping stress at bay, and overall well-being as equally important. Below we take a look at the healthiest foods you can eat to stimulate hair growth and keep those locks soft, shiny, and stunning.
While taking vitamins and supplements (like our Better Roots RootBoost Complex) can really help in this area, it's important to also get the goods straight from the source when possible. We're even throwing in some delicious recipes incorporating the superstar hair health ingredients that you should be adding to your menu!
Hello vitamins (including C, which helps produce collagen that keeps hair strong) and antioxidants which protect hair follicles against damage from harmful molecules called free radicals.
Talk about delicious and nutritious!
Pro Tip: eat fruits and berries in the morning on an empty stomach and wait at least 30 minutes before eating anything else for optimal health benefits.
Sure Popeye wasn't known for his hair per se, but he was definitely on to something with eating all that spinach - it's loaded with beneficial nutrients like folate, iron, and vitamins A and C, all of which promote hair growth. Vitamin A also helps the skin glands produce sebum - the oily substance that helps moisturize the scalp to keep hair healthy.
Remember the importance of a healthy scalp? >
Spinach is also a great plant-based source of iron, which is essential for hair growth as it helps red blood cells carry oxygen to fuel your metabolism and aid growth and repair.
Hot to eat it: the base of a salad, the greens in your protein bowl, in a smoothie or green juice, in an omelette (bonus points for incorporating eggs - see below), sautéed with garlic and olive oil as a side dish with some lemon juice squeezed over it - you name it!
Most of us already know that eggs are a great source of protein, but did you know that they also provide biotin? Both promote hair growth.
Since our hair follicles are mostly made of protein, it's super important that we get an adequate amount of it in our diet. Biotin is essential for the production of a hair protein called keratin.
Fatty fish like salmon, herring, and mackerel are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, selenium, vitamin D3, and B vitamins - all nutrients that help promote strong and healthy hair.
Salmon is affordable, versatile, and easy to make - think smoked or high quality canned salmon on a crostini, in a salad, in a protein bowl, or poached/steamed/baked salmon for dinner with veggies.
Here's our current favorite salmon recipe to hopefully get you inspired and salivating: Honey Mustard Grilled Salmon from The Healthy Maven, who we're proud to call an EVOLVher >
"This simple Honey Mustard Grilled Salmon is made with just 6-ingredients but packs a ton of flavor. The perfect recipe for summer barbecues or a quick and easy weeknight meal on the grill." —Davida
A great source of beta-carotene (which the body converts into vitamin A), sweet potatoes should be your go-to for promoting the production of sebum, speeding up the rate of hair growth, and encouraging the growth of thicker hair, all while preventing hair follicles from regressing.
Hint: Simple roasted sweet potatoes would make a great side for the salmon recipe linked above. And don't be scared - these are a GOOD carb!
You probably saw this one coming. Avocados are a notoriously great source of healthy fats (including essential fatty acids) and vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps combat oxidative stress by neutralizing free radicals.
The obvious trendy and Instagram-worthy application is avocado toast, of course. The possibilities are truly endless as far as bread types, toppings, and flavor combinations, but avocados are also great in smoothies, perfect for adding to a salad or bowl, or just on their own sliced up with some good olive oil, flaky salt, and red pepper flakes.
Another staple in the healthy fats category and great for snacking or tossing on basically anything, nuts are a yummy and convenient way to consume a variety of nutrients that promote hair growth: vitamin E, a wide variety of B vitamins, zinc, and essential fatty acids. They also reduce inflammation and lower the risk of heart disease (an important concern for women, especially).
What can we say - we're nuts for nuts!
How about chopping some up and sprinkling on your avocado toast. Throw a jammy, poached, or hard boiled egg on there and serve with a spinach salad on the side and you've got yourself a recipe for healthy gorgeous hair - literally.
Similar to nuts, seeds are so easy to incorporate into your diet in a myriad of ways. Best of all, they deliver a ton of happy hair nutrients (vitamin E, zinc, and selenium) with relatively few calories.
Seeds like flax and chia also provide omega-3 fatty acids.
Pro Tip: Mix up your seeds for best results as they each offer unique benefits.
Did you know that ONE yellow pepper provides nearly 5.5 times as much vitamin C as an orange? Vitamin C helps promote collagen production, which helps strengthen strands and is a powerful antioxidant. Sweet peppers are also an excellent source of vitamin A. 'Nuff said!
Yes they can get pricey, but oysters are one of the best food sources of zinc, and shrimp are a great source of protein, B vitamins, zinc, iron, and vitamin D (all while being very low in fat).
Imagine a seafood fiesta with freshly shucked oysters and shrimp fajitas (incorporating those sweet peppers) served with a spinach/roasted sweet potato/avocado salad tossed with some nuts and seeds. Check, check, check!
Here's Athena Calderone aka Eye Swoon's recipe for Grilled Shrimp with Chili, Lemon & Oregano >
On the much more affordable end, beans are super versatile and a great plant-based source of protein and zinc as well as iron, biotin, and folate.
Long overlooked, beans have been having a bit of a resurgence lately.
Here's Alison Roman's recipe for Lemony White Beans With Anchovy & Parmesan >
Consider us sold!
We hope you find this guide and recipe ideas helpful and incorporate more of these healthful ingredients into your routine. Your hair (and skin) will thank you!