How to Eat Your Way to Healthy Hair: 7 Important Nutrients

If your find your hair is not looking its best lately or just refuses to grow, it may be a good time to check your diet. As the old saying goes, "you are what you eat."

Poor nutrition can make your hair look dull, dry and be susceptible to slowed growth or even hair loss. So, what are the top nutrients your hair needs? Read ahead.

1: Iron
Many women struggle with iron deficiency and anemia, which is not healthy for your body or your hair. Often the result of crash diets or fasting, anemia can cause hair loss. Make sure to eat iron-rich foods such as red meat, beans (including lentil beans, black beans and soybeans), fish, nuts, dark chocolate plus spinach and broccoli. If you are sluggish or have issues with hair loss, consult with your doctor to have your iron levels checked. 

2: Protein
Most of us are aware that we need protein in our diets for optimal health. What many don’t know is that inadequate protein can also hurt our hair too since the hair is almost entirely made up of protein! In addition to meat, great sources of protein include eggs, cottage cheese, yogurt, beans and tofu.

3: Vitamin C
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that your body needs to prevent free radical cell damage and both the graying of the hair and hair loss. Get your dose of this important vitamin from citrus fruits ( like oranges and grapefruit), plus strawberries, broccoli and red peppers.

4: B Vitamins
The B vitamins, also known as B complex, are a group of 8 vitamins that your body needs. A deficiency in this group of vitamins, especially biotin, has been associated with hair loss. You can get your necessary B vitamins from meat, seafood, nuts, whole grains and leafy greens, such as spinach. 

5: Vitamin D
Known as the vitamin we absorb from the sun, vitamin D is an important vitamin for your overall health, including your hair health. Vitamin D is said to both promote healthy hair growth and prevent hair loss. However, as many (smartly) avoid sun exposure, deficiencies of vitamin D can be an issue. You can get your vitamin D from wild-caught salmon (which has the most vitamin D of any food), tuna, eggs, pork, cheese, plus vitamin D fortified milk and yogurt.
6: Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Among the many health benefits associated with omega-3s, these fatty acids are also known to help strengthen and thicken the hair and reduce inflammation that can lead to hair loss. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, tuna, mackerel, anchovies, herring, halibut, oysters and sardines, as well as cod liver oil, flax seeds and walnuts. In addition, fish oil supplements are a simple way to get your omega-3s. That said, before you take this or any other vitamin supplement, it is always good to check with your doctor.

7: Zinc
Zinc is known for promoting both a healthy scalp and healthy hair growth. As part of this, it also helps to keep the scalp’s oil glands working optimally. Foods high in zinc include oysters, wheat germ, beef, pumpkin seeds, spinach, chickpeas and lentils.

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