Maggie Gama, MD via Dr. Axe – We’ve all wondered about the secret to luscious, shining hair. Perhaps we’ve even tried to emulate shiny haired models by trying specially formulated shampoos for our exact hair type and texture, with little effect.
Instead of spending money on haircare products that produce lackluster results, consider how your overall health impacts the quality of your hair. Following a healthy hair diet can help you grow thicker, more lustrous tresses. What we eat impacts every aspect of our health, including the top of our heads.
Best Foods for Healthy Hair Growth and Thickness
Hair loss or thinning can be a distressing prospect, and it results from a variety of factors. The natural hormonal changes that occur as we age, for example, can lead to hair thinning. Certain medications and treatments can also contribute to balding or alopecia. Stress and nutritional deficiencies also play a role in our hair’s quality and thickness.
Knowing what food helps grow hair can improve your hair’s overall health and condition. Consider adding these foods to your diet to stimulate hair growth, strengthen your hair follicles, and improve the overall quality and health of your tresses. Adding some of these foods to your diet can also help address the root causes of your hair loss, such as nutrient deficiencies or even hormonal imbalances.
1. Seek Out Antioxidant-Rich Foods
Antioxidant-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables, are the perfect food for growing hair. Antioxidants fight inflammation and boost red blood cell production, all of which help facilitate repair in the body. Strengthening hair follicles through diet can help promote hair growth and prevent further loss.
Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are among the most nutrient-dense fruit, prized for their antioxidant profile. Vitamin C naturally boosts collagen and aids in the absorption of iron, a must for red blood cell production. With increased circulation to the scalp, follicles remain strong and reduce the risk of damage and balding. A handful of berries each day can help keep thinning at bay.
Avocados have an excellent reputation as a health food for good reason. A rare source of natural vitamin E, they help prevent free radical damage and improve the way your body uses oxygen, which can increase circulation to your scalp. A dash of B vitamins and omega 9 fatty acids also help provide luster. Aim for 1 medium avocado 2–4 times a week — tossed in salads, sandwiches or crushed as guacamole.
Veggies such as Swiss chard, spinach, kale and cabbage are high in vitamins A, C, and K – musts for hair growth. Vitamin K plays an important role in blood clotting and circulation, promoting the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your tissues. Snack on kale chips, eat a salad with Swiss chard, or whip up a crunchy coleslaw with apple cider vinegar for a hair healthy boost.
2. Embrace Food Containing Natural Silica
You may notice that many shampoos are silicone-based, as it coats the hair and makes it appear shiny. However, this only adds protection to the shaft of the hair. Eating foods that have natural silica compounds can help strengthen the follicle, prevent breakage and promote wellness from within.
The orange flesh of this tropical fruit is abundant in the mineral silica, an essential part of a diet for hair growth. Try slicing and eating the mango whole as a sweet after-dinner snack, or blending into a green smoothie for breakfast.
Grains such as wheat, barley, oats and brown rice all contain silica, a natural building block of collagen. Enjoy slices of whole wheat toast, overnight oatmeal with berries, or a stir fry with brown rice and veggies to compound the effects of food for strong hair.
3. Don’t Be Afraid of Healthy Fats
Last but not least, a diet rich in omega 3, omega 6 and omega 9 fatty acids helps increase hair strength. A study of 120 women found that incorporating more omega 3 fatty acidscombined with increased antioxidants improved hair density.
High in protein and an unrivaled source of omega 3s, this superfood really is an essential part of a healthy diet. Opt for wild-caught salmon varieties and mix with a green salad with berries.
An underrated fish, herring is a great source of lean protein and is good for more than just pickling. Try sautéing, coating in lime juice and folding into tacos.
A plant-based, vegan friendly option for nutritious fats, certain healthy nuts like walnuts, almonds and pecans pack a nutrient-heavy punch. Process them with lentils to make burgers and sauté to make sandwiches with a satisfying crunch.
The preparation of foods can add essential fats and nutrients to your diet that create a synergistic effect promoting hair growth. Canola oil and avocado oil are both nutrient-dense sources of essential fatty acids. Sautéing vegetables or scrambling eggs in them can give you an extra nutrient boost and promote a diet that strengthens your hair from within.
Combating Hair Loss with Diet the Natural Way
We can’t always prevent hair loss or thinning from happening. A number of factors — such as genetic disposition, medical conditions, treatments such as chemotherapy, or hormonal imbalances — can all contribute to alopecia.
However, taking a holistic approach by eating healthy foods can help improve hair health and promote growth. Try incorporating some of these hair superfoods into your wellness plan.
Dr. Maggie Gama founded Synergy Lifestyle Medicine to reflect values of unparalleled comprehensive and personalized patient care that focuses on understanding and addressing each patient’s unique healthcare needs. Her greatest passion is in disease prevention. Many of today’s chronic diseases are associated with poor lifestyle choices, environmental toxins, and various infectious diseases that can wreak havoc on our bodies, even years later. Dr. Gama believes that wellness is the result of a synergy between the mind, body, and spirit, which can only be established through genuine, compassionate, and unbreakable bonds established through compassionate care and genuine patient partnership.
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