You can splurge on that deep-conditioning treatment and try at-home masks all you want, but if you really want to be best tressed, then you should first take a peek at your diet.
“Although hair could be impacted by weather, pollution, and the quality of the products you use, it’s best to think about treating your hair from the inside out. What you eat—or don’t eat—can certainly impact your hair growth or its loss,” Bonnie Taub-Dix, RD, creator of BetterThanDieting.com and author of Read It Before You Eat It: Taking You from Label to Table.
Struggling to cook healthy? We'll help you prep.
To make your meals multitask by fueling your body and your bob all at once, we asked Taub-Dix to spill about which bites are best for luscious locks. Here, the 5 best foods for healthier hair.
Protein acts as the building block for cells, so anything that provides this macro—or supports its absorption—can be a food for healthier hair (study after study show it).
“Eggs contain both protein and biotin, both of which strengthen hair,” Taub-Dix says. In fact, biotin has even been shown to help regrow hair in people with alopecia.
So get cracking…and don’t toss that yolk! It offers plenty of zinc (just like chickpeas, oysters, beef, and wheat germ), which aids in tissue growth and repair and feeds the oil-producing glands that help hair grow.
Beans are also great for beefing up your protein consumption. A cup of cooked black beans, for example, supply 15 grams and healthy adults should aim for about 20 grams per meal to meet their mark for the day.
Falling shy in protein puts you at increased risk for thinning hair, since dietary protein helps produce keratin (which keeps hair strong). Not a bean buff? Meat offers ample amounts of protein, as do these other plant-based foods.
Iron, found in whole grains like quinoa, spinach, beans, red meat, clams, tofu, and more, helps the body deliver oxygen to all of its cells. Increasing consumption of iron plays a role in oxygenating your scalp cells, and has also been shown to slow hair loss.
“Avocados provide natural oils to keep hair feeling supple and to help hair retain moisture,” Taub-Dix says. “These fruits contain a wealth of nutrients, including vitamins A, B6, D, and E." Vitamin B is essential for hair growth, while E facilitates repair of any scalp cell damage.
True, Popeye didn’t exactly have flowing, fabulous hair, but he was onto something eating all of that spinach!
“Leafy greens, such as spinach, contain folate and iron. Both are important for maintaining a healthy blood supply to your hair. Greens also give you some vitamin C, which is important for collagen production to strengthen hair structure,” Taub-Dix says.
Vegetarian or vegan? Vitamin C is crucial to help your body absorb the iron you score through plants (including greens).
“Antioxidants help protect hair follicles so it’s best to choose foods rich in these important nutrients of the found in fruits and vegetables with an emphasis on those rich in vitamin C,” Taub-Dix adds. “Vitamin C also boosts collagen production. Collagen strengthens hair and prevents it from being brittle.”
A Recipe With Hair-Boosting Ingredients
These five foods for healthier hair taste great alone—and even more incredible together. Our Test Kitchen can confirm! Score all five in one done-in-15-minute dish with this BLD (breakfast, lunch, or dinner) by wilting a handful of spinach in with the quinoa.
Get the Recipe: Quinoa Bowls With Avocado and Egg
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