Ever hear the saying, “beauty is born in the kitchen”? Well, it turns out that this is true. Eating a diet rich in a few different vitamins and nutrients may directly improve the health (and beauty) of your hair, skin, AND nails. Eat beautiful, nutrient-dense foods and get shinier, healthier hair? Sounds like a good gig to me.
There are a few foods that might help strengthen your hair and leave it looking shinier and healthier than ever. In this article, we’re going to highlight 6 yummy foods — how they help hair health, and how you might use them in an easy, go-to recipe. Keep these 8 foods close by and eat them consistently to reap the shiny shiny benefits.
Avocados nearly have 20 vitamins and minerals according to the California Avocado Commission. These beautiful little fruits (Yes, fruit!) are absolutely packed with nutrition. Avocados have vitamin A, B, C, D, E, K iron, zinc, folate, magnesium, potassium, and niacin. Not to mention the MVP, omega-3 fatty acids.
Our hair LOVES these vitamins and minerals. Avocado is a great food item to keep at hand for beautiful shiny hair.
Avocado is such an easy, satiating fat to pair with nearly any meal. It can be an accompaniment in a dressing, as a topper to a buddha bowl or it can be the star of the show on avocado toast.
2. Fatty fish = salmon, mackerel, or tuna
When it comes to a protein that supports hair health, fatty fish are the go-to. Salmon, mackerel, and tuna are all yummy fishes that are packed with omega-3 fatty acids which are hugely beneficial for your hair (not to mention your brain, heart, and mental health).
The combination of omega-3 fatty acids, high levels of protein, salmon, mackerel, or tuna is a great food to eat regularly for healthy hair. If you are lacking in omega-3 fatty acids, your hair and scalp could be dry and dull.
These seafood marvels are great when baked, grilled, or sauteed alongside nourishing veggies and quinoa.
3. Chia seed and flaxseed
Another list item that is full of omega-3 fatty acids and protein (are you seeing a pattern yet?) Chia seeds and flaxseed are both protein-rich, full of fiber, phosphorous, calcium, and offer healthy fats.
Chia seeds and flaxseeds are great in smoothies and oatmeal. Flaxseeds can also be enjoyed in their yummy “milked” form that you can add to various meals throughout the week.
4. Leafy greens
Eat your greens! They are not only good for your overall health but they can also enhance hair health. Dark leafy greens like spinach, collards, kale, swiss chard, and bok choy are all full of beneficial vitamins and minerals. Vitamin A, B, C, beta carotene, and folate (all found in dark leafy greens) are essential for the growth and strength of your locks.
Greens are easily eaten in larger quantities once they are cooked down. These are often full of fiber so eating raw in a salad might be less ideal. Saute your leafy greens in a healthy fat like coconut or avocado oil, add garlic, and onion. Cook until the greens soften and turn very bright green. If they lose their green hue, you’ve cooked them too long. This saute makes a great nourishing side to any lunch or dinner.
You can also juice these nutrient-dense greens (with lemon, ginger, apple, and carrot) to get a yummy vitamin-packed juice.
Nuts are a great source of protein, fat, and a whole host of nutrients. Walnuts are notably high in hair health vitamins: B-vitamins. Walnuts contain high levels of B6, B1, B9, B5, B2, B3 manganese, and copper. These vitamins are essential to strengthen your hair and nourish your scalp.
Walnuts are a great snack that can keep you running all day. They can be eaten by themselves or crushed and sprinkled onto a salad or parfait, used in the crust of an apple tart, or added to homemade granola.
6. Orange-colored fruits and veggies
Carrots and sweet potatoes might spring to mind and yes- those can help support hair health. The nutritional star of orange-colored fruits and veggies is beta-carotene. In the body, foods that are rich in beta-carotene are readily converted into vitamin A.
All orange pigmented foods contain beta-carotene and thus can be converted into hair-loving vitamin A. These include carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and cantaloupe to name a few.
Vitamin A is needed for cell growth (aka hair growth). Vitamin A also keeps the scalp and hair follicles happy and healthy with moisturizing sebum. This natural moisturization strengthens the hair and helps add a healthy shine.
The use cases for these orange-colored foods are endless. Carrots and butternut squash can be whipped into hearty autumn soups, diced and roasted rosemary sweet potatoes make a great side to any dinner, and cantaloupe makes for a beautiful summery snack.
Cooking with nutrient-dense ingredients
To sum up, filling your fridge with nutrient-dense foods can help support hair growth and overall hair health (hello shiny hair). But plant-based meals serve more than just your locks.
A plant-based diet may help you live longer, may lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, support brain and heart health, and may decrease the risk of stroke. Cooking with high-quality, nutrient-dense food is a great investment in your overall health.
Lauren Johnson is a health and wellness content writer at struthealth.com. Strut Health is an online health clinic offering cost-effective treatment for everyday health problems like hair loss, ED, and acne. We aim to treat and destigmatize health conditions so our patients can walk tall again.