Next time you’re tackling the “what’s-for-dinner” question, make it easy with this list of hair-healthy foods. It turns out most not only boost growth and shine, they also pack a walloping nutritional punch. Kale yeah.
Most people cite sweet potatoes as the best source of vitamin A (aka beta-carotene) which is, among other things, necessary for skin and vision health. It’s also essential for sebum production, which conditions your scalp and hair. If it’s difficult to think of sweet potatoes beyond Thanksgiving, the versatile carrot is a good alternative and easy to fit into your regular diet. Just two raw baby carrots exceeds your regular daily intake of vitamin A. They also make any salad brighter and more delicious.
This super-green is like a multi-vitamin for your hair. One cup of the vegetable contains your daily allowance of beta-carotene for cell growth and collagen-boosting vitamin C. It also helps replenish your body’s iron reserve, which promotes blood circulation. What’s more a combination of omega fatty acids, 3 and 6, when together strengthens strands and increases the rate of hair growth. For newbies, just remember to massage the tough, fibrous leaves before cooking. It’s the crucial step that endears people to kale.
Besides being creamy and almost unbelievably low in fat, Greek yogurt is packed with shiny hair nutrients: vitamin D for strong follicles, protein, pantothenic acid, which is frizz-fighting vitamin B6, and zinc.
In addition to adding pretty color to your plate, berries are full of Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that protects against wrinkles, it also helps your body absorb iron more effectively—good news for nourished follicles—and helps in the production of collagen, great for skin’s elasticity and capillaries that deliver nutrients to your hair.
Irresistibly crunchy and impressive when stuffed, they’re also a rich—and unexpected–source of vitamin C. A half cup contains 95 mg, about one fifth of the daily recommended 500 mg of vitamin C.
Give new life to brittle hair with eggs for breakfast. There are about as many beauty benefits to eggs as there are ways to cook them. Eggs are a great source of biotin, the B vitamin responsible for fast Rapunzel-esque hair growth. They also help the body store up iron for circulation for follicle health and contain zinc, protein, and selenium.
Oysters contain 493% of your daily zinc requirement, which is why they’re often recommended to combat hair loss. Zinc, a mineral not stored in your body, is vital for a conditioned scalp and strong hair. If you’re not in the mood to slurp oysters regularly, any kind of shellfish will serve you well. You can also get zinc through eggs, beef, and yogurt.
Hair is 97% protein, so it’s a no brainer that meat, poultry, and beans pump up hair growth. Pork tenderloin, in particular, has the beautifying vitamin B family. Beef is full of iron. Poultry, like chicken and turkey, is a good source of lean protein.
Famously known for its omega-3 fatty acids, wild-caught salmon is a chic choice for beauty-loving gourmets. Good for a well-balanced scalp and loaded with protein, iron, and vitamin B, it is also a cinch to make. Try Bon Appetit’s decadently savory slow-roasted recipe that feeds a crowd in style.
Another reliable and delicious source of omega-3, nuts of all kinds help to keep hair glossy and scalps moisturized and flake-free.
A hearty source of B vitamins, namely biotin and folic acid, lentils promote healthy and fast-growing hair by supplying oxygen to follicles and renewing cells.
Don’t forget to hydrate! Replenish from the inside out with eight cups of water a day. H2O keeps hair supple and bouncy, so it’s less prone to breakage and split ends.
Read more about 5 Fabulous Foods to Promote Hair Growth.