Eating right can help make your hair shine. And luckily, lots of the picks that are good for your body’s health are good choices for your hair. Choose the right foods, such as the ones listed here, and you’ll have beautiful hair to complement your healthy physique.
• Salmon. Fish is full of protein, which is the chief component of hair. Oily fish like salmon contains beneficial omega-3 fatty acids that can help prevent a dry scalp, as well as vitamin B-12 and iron.
• Beef, lamb and oysters. These foods can supply your body with zinc, which can give your hair a boost.
• Chicken and turkey. Poultry is packed with protein; it’s also rich in iron.
• Eggs. Eggs are another food that’s rich in protein; they’re also a good source of vitamin B-12 and biotin.
• Milk, yogurt, and cheese. Dairy products are plentiful sources of calcium and protein. Choose low-fat or fat-free versions so your waistline and hair can both benefit.
• Nuts. Cashews, pecans and almonds are full of zinc. Walnuts contain zinc too, along with alpha-linolenic acid. And Brazil nuts provide the mineral selenium, which can help keep your scalp healthy. Many nuts contain B vitamins as well.
• Flaxseed. Add ground flaxseed to cereal to boost your consumption of beneficial omega-3s.
• Sunflower seeds. Choose these for a snack — it has benefits for your hair because of its B vitamin content.
• Olive oil. This healthy oil contains beneficial vitamin E, so use it for your sautés as well as your salads.
• Lentils and kidney beans. Legumes like these supply the protein your hair needs for growth; in addition, they provide iron, zinc and the B vitamin biotin.
• Whole grains. Whole grains are full of B vitamins, iron and zinc. The foods to choose are whole-grain breads, breakfast cereals and pasta. Other good whole-grain sources are oatmeal, brown or wild rice, buckwheat and popcorn (skip the butter, though).
• Avocado. Eat avocado to get a good dose of vitamin E — pass the guacamole!
• Broccoli, spinach, and chard. Dark green leafy veggies are full of vitamins A and C. Your body uses these foods to produce sebum, the oily secretion on your scalp that works like conditioner. These veggies also pack iron and calcium.
• Carrots, squash and sweet potatoes. The vitamin A in orange vegetables can help keep your scalp healthy. Apricots are a good choice, too.
• Cauliflower and cabbage. These vegetables provide silica, a mineral that may help protect your hair against loss and breakage.
• Onion and garlic. Your hair will benefit from the bioflavonoids contained in these flavorful allium vegetables.
• Oranges and grapefruit. All the citrus fruits, in fact, are good sources of vitamin C, which helps your body absorb iron.
• Water. Drink plenty of water to keep your hair—and your body—well hydrated.
A balanced diet that’s heavy on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy foods is a great choice for the health of both your body and your hair.
Choose a mix of the foods on this list to ensure a healthy head of hair. If you’re considering taking supplements to make sure you’re getting enough of any of these vitamins or minerals, talk to your doctor. Some can be dangerous in high doses.