Eat Your Way to Healthier Hair: 7 Common Foods to Consider

Get Healthy, Luscious Hair!

Nourish your hair from inside out, since hair is an extension of your body.
Nourish your hair from inside out, since hair is an extension of your body. | Source

Got hair? That may sound like wimpy take on the “Got Milk” commercial but the lack of hair can be a source of concern for many. Luscious, sleek, healthy hair is desirable—just ask somebody, anybody. While some men can actually rock the bald look---scant, dry and thinning hair is best kept at bay. As far away as possible. But what if you’ve thinning hair? Or your hair is scant and dull? Now, what could be the problem? There are some factors that may contribute to thinning or unhealthy hair—hereditary, the natural aging process, certain medical conditions, taking certain medications, even stress, hormonal changes and poor nutrition. Some you can’t change, for example, your genetic make-up or the aging process but some you can like stress and nutrition. So, the good news is even though you can’t play with what dealt out to you, you can play with what’s in your hands—and nutrition falls in that category.

Simply put, it means you can eat your way to healthier hair. Now, that’s highly doable since most of us (regular people like me) love to eat. And if you pick the right kinds of foods, the kinds that deliver hair-nourishing, hair-nurturing, hair-enabling nutrients, you’re doing all you can to encourage healthier, stronger hair.

Healthy hair is only possible if the hair follicles are healthy and nourished. Certain nutrients, vitamins or minerals in food can help in the hair effort. On the whole, eating a well-balanced diet of lean proteins, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, fatty fish and low-fat diary can keep hair healthy, according to Joy Bauer, a nutritionist.


Broad categories are guidelines, what about specific foods? Here’s some top picks:

  • Salmon

Salmon is quite a nutritional workhorse already—it lowers risks of cardiovascular diseases, bad cholesterol levels and helps to boost brain power, generate better skin and now…healthier hair. The case rests on its rich omega-3 fatty acids. Lack of this important essential fatty acid can result in dry scalp and ultimately dry dull hair. A healthy nourished scalp can only produce healthy hair, so be sure to include salmon in your diet.

It’s not difficult to eat salmon—grill, broil, bake, pan-fry, sauté, or poach—have it your way and know that your hair will love you for this.

Enjoy a variety of nuts--a handful goes a long way.

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  • Nuts

Going nuts is quite the way to go with hair health. Maybe, that’s why squirrels have such bushy tail (of course, not scientific—just my observation). But science shows that nuts are high in essential fatty acids, particularly omega-3 fatty acids (benefit listed above) and zinc. Zinc deficiency may lead to hair shedding. Cashews, pecans and almonds have high zinc content. Brazil nuts (my favorite nut) have high levels of selenium, another important hair-nourishing mineral. For the sake of your hair, go nuts.


  • Poultry

If hair is made up of hardened protein (keratin), it goes to say that eating foods high in protein will help the production of hair. Conversely, inadequate consumption of protein will result in soft, brittle hair. Not a pretty thought? Enjoy lean protein sources such as chicken, turkey, beef and if you’re a vegetarian, tofu and beans. These protein sources also deliver other hair nutrients—iron and zinc. Iron delivers oxygen to hair follicles, fueling them for healthy hair growth. Zinc helps to maintain healthy oil glands.

One notable, often maligned for its high cholesterol, is the incredible egg. Recent research shows that the often misunderstood egg is the best protein source. It also contains biotin and vitamin B-12, both important hair minerals.

Lean white meat--enjoy grilled chicken breasts.
Lean white meat--enjoy grilled chicken breasts. | Source
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  • Green Leafy Vegetables

Green leafy vegetables are viable sources of vitamin A, C, K, foliate, iron and calcium. Vitamin A, C and K are needed to produce sebum—hair’s natural conditioner. Further, vitamin C increases the uptake of iron. As for vitamin A, it promotes healthy scalp. Iron and calcium also pull their own weight when it comes to hair health.

Spinach, swiss chard, collard greens, mustard green, bak choy, broccoli, arugula and kale—take your pick. Research shows that if you eat these greens with a little oil (think olive oil, canola), it will help the body absorbs the nutrients better.

How to Eat Oysters


  • Oyster

Oyster is often the poster boy for zinc, since it boasts high level of zinc, more than high–protein foods. In fact, six medium-sized oysters can supply about 513% of the recommended daily intake of zinc. But how many people eat oysters on a daily, even weekly basis? So, if you’re looking to make sure you’ve enough zinc intake, consider nuts, whole grains, legumes and yeast—all rich sources of zinc, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. As noted, zinc helps to promote healthy oil gland and prevent hair loss.


  • Whole Grains

Whole grains is getting a lot of applause—from fighting cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, certain cancers to preventing weight gain—the applause keeps getting louder with various studies. Is it praise-worthy? The answer is yes—whole grains has a whole arena of phytonutrients including B vitamins, folic acid, magnesium, vitamin E and zinc. B vitamins create red blood cells and they help to supply oxygen to hair follicles.

Enjoy a variety of whole grains; wild rice, oatmeal, brown rice, barley, quinoa, black rice, red rice, amaranth, millet, buckwheat and popcorn.

Anatomy of a Whole Grain

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  • Onion and Garlic

These culinary multi-taskers, useful in spicing up a dish or enhancing flavor, are rich in sulfur. They are members of the allium genus which also include leeks, shallots and chives. You may have heard of people taking MSM (methylslfonylmethance), a form of sulfur used in supplements to help hair growth or to treat joint pain or inflammation. Sulfur plays an important part in the formation and repair of connective tissue, hence its part in promoting healthy bone, hair and nails. In addition, sulfur promotes cardiovascular health, tames inflammation, lower cholesterol and prevents blood clot

The alium family doesn’t hold exclusive rights to sulfur—other sources include cruciferous veggies, red meat, poultry, fish and legumes.

Copyright 2011. All Rights Reserved. No part/parts of this article may be reproduced without prior consent from the author.

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Comments 35 comments

Arlene V. Poma 5 years ago

Voted up, useful, interesting, and AWESOME. I do love those oysters! I'm glad they made your list!


TIDSimon profile image

TIDSimon 5 years ago from Malaysia

Nicely served ;)

Time to eat!

Great share.


janeenjesse@yahoo profile image

janeenjesse@yahoo 5 years ago from Rensselaer NY

A healthy body equals healthy hair.I really enjoyed this article.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Arlene, always good to hear from you. I can tell you love seafood--clam and oysters--you've just know how to live fabullously. Thanks for commenting:)


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

TIDSimon, thanks for commenting. Can I join you?--eating in Malaysia is so much fun--I love the food.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Thanks, janeenjessee, glad you enjoyed the article.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States

Great information. I have been trying to eat more salmon and nuts anyway, but this is a good list. Rated up!


einron profile image

einron 5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

Loved reading on food and health.

Surely, genes play an important part on hair. My father's hair is thin, and I am like him for we do have the same birthday. However, my mom had lots of hair, and my sister takes after her. She was born with strong hair.

I suppose diet is also important, but I think that genes are more important than diet.


TIDSimon profile image

TIDSimon 5 years ago from Malaysia

anglnwu, sure ;) Let me know if you coming to Malaysia. The food is always nice.

Love it meet friends over dinner table...teehee

Keep up the good work girl!


kootheancheah profile image

kootheancheah 5 years ago from Penang, Malaysia

Anginwu,

Thanks for great tips on hair care.

Got any good tips for gray hair? How to keep them from turning gray??? ;-)

Koot Hean Cheah


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Pamela, so good to hear from you. Salmon and nuts are good choices and they can even go together--like pecan crusted salmon. Thanks for dropping by.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

einron, thanks for dropping by to comment. I'm with you--i love anything to do with food and health. You're right, genetics play a big part and there's nothing you can do to alter that. But we can take care of what we're given by eating well.


thumbi7 profile image

thumbi7 5 years ago from India

very good tips on hair care.

Healthier the person the more attractive he is

Mouth watering grilled chicken breasts.


Shelly McRae profile image

Shelly McRae 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Good tips. Thanks for an interesting and informative article, anglnwu.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

Excellent advice and tips on hair care anginwu, I love salmon, so that's great it's so good for me!

Voting up!


midnightbliss profile image

midnightbliss 5 years ago from Hermosa Beach

great and useful information. taking care of our hair begins with properly nourishing our body.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

TIDSimon, i take that as invitation. Will remember that when I'm next in Singapore. Thanks for checking back.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Thumbi7, thanks for dropping by to comment.

Shelly Rose, appreciate your comments.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Kootheancheah, thanks for dropping by to comment. I've had quite a few people ask me about gray hair. I'm still looking out for credible ways to take care of the problem. Once, I read about juicing spinach, cabbage and carrots together for treating gray hair. Haven't put that to test yet. Take care.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Movie Master, thanks for your comments. I don't really like salmon but eat it for nutrition sake. Glad you like it--it must taste much better if you enjoy it.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Well said, mightnightbliss--good health begins from within. Thanks for commenting.


Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 5 years ago from London, UK

Very useful Article. Some hair products are so expensive and they still don't do what is advertised on the pack.

I will eat more of the food above except for oysters. Mmmmh....

Thanks. :)


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Hi Lady E, you're right, some hair products don't deliver the results they promise. Glad you like most of the foods listed. Enjoy and thanks for commenting.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 5 years ago from malang-indonesia

This was nice information. Hair is like a crown for us. We should taking good care our hairs. I never give attention to all these common foods above as the best natural pharmacies for the hair. Thanks for share with us. Keep on good work. Wish you all the best. Vote up and have a nice weekend.

Prasetio


Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago

Great hub! These are all my favorite foods, and so far I guess my hair has been pretty healthy. Even back when I often abused my hair with coloring products, it didn't get too dry or brittle. So yeah, what we eat certainly affects how we look.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Prasetio, I agree hair is like the crown of the head and food are the best natural pharmacies. Thank you for commenting and I so appreciate your support.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Om, I know you're quite the hair girl. Thanks for dropping by to comment:)


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 5 years ago from The Midwest, USA

Great hub on taking care of hair, and promoting healthier hair. A lot of these things are healthy in general, so more than our hair benefits. Thanks so much for sharing. :)


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago Author

Oceansunsets, I agree with you. Eating healthy foods is the key to good health, including hair health. Thanks for your comments.


erorantes profile image

erorantes 3 years ago from Miami Florida

Hello Ms. anglnwu ; I love your article. Eat your way to healthier hair. 7 common food to consider.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 3 years ago Author

erorantes, thanks for reading and I'm glad you liked it.


vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 2 years ago from Peru, South America

I'm happy to know about the health benefits if these foods and especially Brazil nuts since I'm eating a handful of them as I read this. I definitely don't have a head of hair like the model or even a squirrel's tail, but it never hurts to keep hoping!


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 2 years ago Author

Haha, vespawoolf, you made me laugh. As long as we keep trying, there's hope. Thanks for reading.


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey

Thanks for this look at eating for hair health! A recent issue affected my hair and I'm looking to improve the situation nutritionally.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 2 years ago Author

Thanks, RTalloni, for commenting. Also try castor oil - I know it helps hair growth. My sister had a problem and when she used it regularly, her hair came back.

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