When you hear the phrase “healthy hair”, what do you picture? Strong, shiny strands? Soft, smooth locks? A head full of thick, gleaming hair? We all want hair that is the “picture of health” and often look for products or styling techniques that promise this. Whilst those do help, something essential for healthy hair that is often overlooked is a consistent diet containing the best foods to provide your hair the nutrients and support it needs.
When your diet includes good quality foods, hair can look and feel its absolute best! There are tons of wonderful foods that contain natural vitamins, minerals and other components that work to protect and strengthen hair, and encourage its growth. An added bonus? These ingredients are great for your skin and overall complexion, too.
Let’s look at what exactly the most important nutrients, minerals and foods are for healthy hair, and where you can find them to incorporate in your diet!
Quick anatomy lesson: The hair shaft is made up of a hardened protein called keratin. When your protein stores are low, generation of this important building block slows and hair grows slower and weaker. So, as you can imagine, protein is the most important nutrient for strong and healthy hair – it also provides needed energy to the rest of your body!
Foods that contain protein include lean meat, eggs, and cold water fish (think: salmon, tuna, halibut) and vegetarian sources like beans, nuts, legumes, and seeds.
This one is a no-brainer! Our bodies are comprised of a whole lot of water – and your hair needs hydration to stay moisturised and prevent dryness and breakage.
This one is a no-brainer! Our bodies are comprised of a whole lot of water – and your hair needs a lot of hydration to stay moisturised and prevent dryness and breakage.
Drink more water!
Obviously, drinking water is crucial. If you’re not a fan of beverages with no flavour, try drinking a fizzy, no sugar/zero calorie water beverage, or opt for brewed tea. Fruits and vegetables that have a high water content are good choices too, such as watermelon or cucumbers.
These are essential vitamins that help the body to create red blood cells. Red blood cells are the method through which our body carries oxygen and other nutrients to the scalp and hair follicles. They also work to help repair DNA damage throughout the body, which in turn help convert food into energy.
Foods that contain B-Vitamins include fruits (bananas, avocados, oranges), legumes, leafy vegetables (kale, spinach, broccoli) and whole grains. B-Vitamin Niacin is a great additional vitamin that helps keep your skin and scalp moisturised – it can be found in tuna, beef, eggs or in a vitamin pill form.
An iron-rich diet is essential for supporting healthy hair growth, as iron deficiency is a very common cause of hair loss. Hair follicles are “fed” by the blood supply in your scalp. When iron levels drop too low, your hair follicles can be prevented from getting the oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood they need to grow. Treatable and preventable, iron-deficiency anemia is a common “surprise” cause of hair loss in women.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Did you know that the human body cannot create its own omega-3 fatty acids? They come entirely from your diet. What do they do for your hair? Omega-3 fatty acid compounds are found in the epithelial cells that line your scalp. They also play a role in sebum production, which keeps your scalp and hair hydrated. They help with skin complexion too.
Foods that contain good sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids include fatty fish like salmon, sardines and trout, as well as nuts, seeds, and avocados.
Every cell in the human body requires Vitamin A for growth. Here’s a great fact: hair is the fastest growing tissue in your body – so it is especially necessary to have lots of Vitamin A to promote a healthy head of hair. Like Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Vitamin A also plays a big role in the production of sebum which moisturises your scalp and hair follicles, keeping them healthy hydrated and happy.
Foods that contain a good source of Vitamin-A include vegetables like carrots, spinach, broccoli, and sweet potatoes and just about every fruit!
Vitamin C is a great antioxidant that helps protect cells against damage that can inhibit healthy hair growth and cause signs of premature aging. Vitamin C also supports iron absorption and helps the body create more collagen, a protein that is involved in the structural makeup of your hair and skin.
Foods that have Vitamin C include oranges, tomatoes, green and red peppers, broccoli, and potatoes.
Vitamin D, or “the sunshine vitamin” plays a role in hair production by helping to create new hair follicles in the scalp.
The human body actually produces Vitamin D in the skin with direct contact from sunlight, and it can also be found in foods like fatty fish, cheese, and egg yolks.
This is a mineral that plays an essential role in tissue growth and repair, making it essential for hair growth and strength. Zinc also keeps the sebaceous glands working properly, which moisturise and protect the scalp. A zinc deficiency can lead to a dry, flaky scalp, hair loss, and dull hair strands.
You can find zinc primarily in meat, although it is also found in legumes, shellfish, nuts, dairy, eggs and whole grains.
Antioxidants protect the skin and hair from the aging effects of free radicals, which are unstable atoms that can cause damage to cells and lead to premature signs of aging and hair loss. Antioxidants also help reduce inflammation on the scalp that can lead to temporary and permanent forms of hair loss.
Foods that contain high amounts of antioxidants include colourful fruits and veggies (berries, oranges, apples, bananas, grapes, spinach, and broccoli), beans and even dark chocolate (yum!).
Want some tips on easy ways to include more of these hair-supporting foods in your diet?
Try adding a green smoothie to your daily routine that is filled with vitamins and antioxidant ingredients like spinach, fresh or frozen veggies or berries, and protein or fat sources like avocados or protein powder.
Work on eating more salads with raw vegetables and fruits at least a few times a week. Swap baked goods with processed sugars and refined carbs for whole-grain options.
Choose lean proteins (chicken, fish, or even ground turkey) over red meat, and try to include some plant-based proteins in your diet as well for a mix of lots of good protein, vitamin and minerals all-in-one.
Fun Fact: Cinnamon has been proven to be linked to hair growth. It works to improve overall blood circulation. This in turn works to bring oxygen and nutrients to your hair follicles quickly and encourages hair growth, while preventing hair loss. For an easy extra hair-healthy boost, add a few shakes of cinnamon to your morning cup of coffee or a bowl of oatmeal!
Where to Start
To discover the perfect products for your hair care routine – begin with identifying your hair type, and learn the products and ingredients that work best to support your hair specifically. If you’re not sure what your hair type is, take our easy hair type quiz and read the tell-all blog here.
We also have an in-depth article covering all of the facts on keeping your scalp happy - read all about it.
Healthy hair starts from a strong, healthy diet. Incorporating the foods and vitamins listed above will not only support hair growth and strength, but will provide your body with vital nutrients that will help it to work better for you overall! In addition to having a good diet – a healthy scalp and hair care routine will all lead to stronger hair. Understand and using the best products for your hair type, eating a nutrient-rich diet, and styling your hair in healthy and protective styles all contribute to your overall hair health. Looking for ways to style your hair that minimise damage, heat and friction? Check out the RevAir reverse-air dryer and take a moment to chat with an Advisor who can help to explain the technology and how your hair will benefit immensely from it.
We’re committed to providing you with information on healthy hair, and both the latest-and-greatest and time-tested methods to make your hair the happiest it’s ever been. Feel free to reach out to our team with any questions – we are here to help.