Aim 4 Natural Grilled Chicken
Image Credit: Getty Images

Hey A4N Family,

Happy Sunday! What’s for dinner tonight? Not sure? Perhaps you’ll have a better idea after we review the foods that are best for healthy hair.

I’ve mentioned this many times in previous posts, “our hair is a direct reflection of what we eat and drink.” Of course, there’s more to it than just food – stress, smoking, hormonal imbalances, and not getting enough sleep can also affect how our hair looks and feels.

Elizabeth B. Krieger, author of the Top 10 Foods for Healthy Hair (WebMD) says, “if we eat a balanced, varied and protein-rich diet that focuses on the following 10 foods, we’ll give our hair the TLC it needs and deserves.”

Consultants to Krieger’s article was New York nutritionist Lisa Drayer, MA, RD, author of The Beauty Diet and New York City Dermatologist Cybele Fishman, MD.

Let’s get started…

Which foods are best for healthy hair?

1. Salmon

• Rich in protein and vitamin D (important for strong hair)
• Contains omega-3 fatty acids
Salmon is my favorite fish. I love to pair it with asparagus and brown rice. Yum!!

Other options: Herring, sardines, trout or mackerel. Avocados and pumpkin seeds are also great sources of essential fatty acids.

2. Walnuts
• Contain a significant amount of omega-3 fatty acids
• Rich in biotin and vitamin E (too little biotin can lead to hair loss)
• Contain cooper (helps to keep our natural hair color from getting dull)

I like mixing walnuts in oatmeal and salads to give it a little extra crunch.

3. Oysters
• Rich in zinc. A lack of this essential mineral can lead to hair loss (even in our eyelashes), as well as dry, flaky scalp.
• Contain a good level of protein “Remember, hair is about 97% protein,” Drayer says. Without enough protein, our bodies cannot replace the hairs that we naturally shed every day and the hair that we do make can be dry, brittle, or weak.

Not too crazy about oysters? Not my favorite either but they’re okay.

Other options: Fortified cereals, whole grain breads, nuts, beef and eggs

4. Sweet Potatoes
We discussed the benefits of sweet potatoes in a previous post so y’all know how I feel about them… Yummy!! Let’s see what the nutritionist and the good doctor has to say about ‘em.

They’re a great source of the antioxidant beta carotene, which our body turns into vitamin A. “Every cell of the body cannot function without enough A,” Fishman says. It helps protect and produce the oils that sustain our scalp and being low on vitamin A can even leave us with itchy, bothersome dandruff.

Other options: Carrots, cantaloupe, mangoes, pumpkin, and apricots are all good sources of beta carotene.

Related Post: Sweet Potatoes: 9 More Reasons to Love Them

5. Eggs
• Great source of protein
• Loaded with four key minerals: zinc, selenium, sulfur, and iron. Iron is especially important, because it helps cells carry oxygen to the hair follicles and too little iron (anemia) is a major cause of hair loss, particularly in women, Drayer says.

Other options: Chicken, fish, pork and beef can also boost our iron intake.

6. Spinach
The iron, beta carotene, folate, and vitamin C in spinach help keep our hair follicles healthy and scalp oils circulating.

Y’all know I absolutely love spinach! See my previous post on how green leafy veges are great for healthy hair growth.

Other options: Broccoli, kale and Swiss chard.

Related Post: The Ultimate Green Smoothie: So Simple. So Nutritious

Hungry yet?

Let’s continue…

Aim 4 Natural Salmon and spinach
Image Credit: Getty Images

7. Lentils

• Tiny but mighty, these legumes are full of protein, iron, zinc, and biotin, says Fishman.
• Great staple for vegetarian, vegans and meat eaters.

Other options: Soybeans (the young ones are called edamame) and kidney beans are great for soup or salad.

8. Greek Yogurt

• High in hair-friendly protein, vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid — an ingredient you’ll often see on hair care product labels). Who knew?!
• Great source of vitamin D (emerging research links vitamin D and hair follicle health) but exactly how that works isn’t yet clear, Fishman says.

Other options: Cottage cheese, low-fat cheese and skim milk.

9. Blueberries
• Great source of vitamin C which is critical for circulation to the scalp and supports the tiny blood vessels that feed the follicles. Too little C in our diet can lead to hair breakage.

Other options: Kiwis, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and strawberries.

10. Poultry
• Extraordinary source of protein
• Contains hair-healthy zinc, iron, and B vitamins to keep strands strong and plentiful.
• Hair is nearly all protein, “foods rich in protein are literally giving you the building blocks for hair,” Drayer says.

Other options: Lean cuts of beef are another good source of protein.

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So now what are you having for dinner tonight?

Look for these “hair-healthy” foods on your next shopping trip. Let us know what other foods are beneficial for your healthy hair growth.