We know that eating a healthy, balanced diet supports good health, including healthy hair, skin and nails. And eating foods rich in fruit and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, lean proteins and dairy and limiting packaged and processed foods (including added sugars) can help promote good hair, skin, nails and overall health.
A diet rich in healthy hair-promoting foods is key to growing hair, but which nutrients are most important?
1. Protein: Hair is made of protein, and a protein-rich diet is a foundation for healthy hair.
2. Iron: Iron is essential for the production of red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the hair follicles. Iron also plays a role in producing keratin, the protein found in hair.
3. Zinc: Zinc is crucial to the manufacture of collagen, a protein that strengthens and repairs skin, hair, nails, and bones. Zinc has been shown to stimulate hair growth. Slivers of beef, chicken, and turkey are good sources of zinc. Zinc also appears to improve blood circulation to the hair follicles.
4. Vitamins B6, B12, C: Vitamins B6 and B12 are cofactors in the production of certain neurotransmitters, which are responsible for sending signals between cells. Vitamin C also plays a role in collagen production.
5. Phytosterols: Phytosterols, plant compounds, help provide a protective outer layer of hair.
6. Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish, nuts, and seeds, boost circulation to the scalp and nourish hair follicles. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation, which may help hair grow. Fish, walnuts, and flaxseeds are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
7. Biotin: Biotin, a water-soluble B vitamin, helps strengthen hair.
8. Zinc: Zinc, a mineral found in seafood and meat, plays an important role in collagen production.
9. Vitamin A: Vitamin A, which can be found in carrots, sweet potatoes, and leafy greens, helps support hair growth.
10. Vitamin C: Vitamin C, found in citrus, peppers, and tomatoes, boosts collagen production, which strengthens