The hair products you use are important, but truly healthy, strong hair starts from the inside-out. Ensuring that you’re getting the proper nutrients is key to having a healthy scalp and growing strong, shiny hair. While there are lots of supplements that claim to aid hair growth, the best way to get nutrients is through the foods we eat. Here’s our breakdown of nutrients proven to be essential to scalp health, along with foods that contain high amounts of these hair-healthy nutrients!
This nutrient is essential for many vital functions in the body-- but many people don’t get enough, and slight iron deficiency can cause hair loss. Additionally, plant-based iron is a little bit more difficult for your body to absorb, so if you’re on a plant-based diet, make sure to consume larger quantities of iron-rich foods! Foods high in iron include lean beef, shellfish (clams and mussels), oysters, cooked beans, spinach, and tofu.
Hair is made from a kind of protein called keratin, so it makes sense that increasing the amount of protein in your diet will help the health of your hair. The molecules that combine to form proteins are called amino acids, and the amino acid lysine (also called l-lysine) is extra important as it is responsible for the shape and volume of your strands. Some high lysine foods to add to your diet include yogurt, cauliflower, papaya, roast beef, and turkey.
Omega-3 fatty acids:
These fats are considered healthy fats, and are known to be good for your heart-- but did you know they can be good for your hair too? Omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in the health of your hair, skin, and nails, but the catch is that our bodies don’t produce them-- we only get them in our diet. The best known sources of these “good” fats are fish like salmon and anchovies, but there are great plant-based sources too: walnuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds.
We only need a small quantity of zinc-- but it’s super important to make sure you’re getting enough as insufficient zinc causes dry hair. Good sources of zinc include raw oysters, beans, ground beef, and wild rice.
Vitamin C is pretty amazing: it helps our bodies produce collagen which strengthens hair, helps enhance the absorption of iron, and since it is an antioxidant, it can also prevent hair damage! Vitamin C mostly comes from fresh fruits and vegetables, and can sometimes be destroyed by cooking, so raw foods are best. Some foods high in vitamin C include red bell peppers, oranges, strawberries, kale, and broccoli.
B-complex vitamins, especially niacin (B-3) and folic acid (B-9), are important for healthy hair! Niacin supports healthy hair follicles, while folic acid promotes new hair growth. Chicken breast, salmon, brown rice, and roasted peanuts contain high amounts of niacin, and foods that have lots of folic acid include asparagus, cabbage, and cauliflower!
Now that you know which nutrients to eat for your healthiest hair, head to NatureLab.com for the next step--clean, clinically-proven products to take care of your hair!