How to Eat Your Way to Healthy Hair

Whether it’s repairing damage from the summer sun or prepping for the cold, dry winter, lots of us are thinking about keeping our hair healthy right now. I know how hard it can be to invest in new products, do weekly hair masks, and give up the styling habits that can cause damage. Fortunately, a lot of hair-health progress can be made just by working certain foods into your diet.

Biotin-rich foods can erase the need for biotin supplements for hair, and might even be safer and more effective than supplements. Many other foods contain other important ingredients for luscious strands. Most of them have more than one benefit, but to simplify things I’ve assigned each food item to a common hair goal it targets. With a holistic dietary approach, maintaining healthy tresses is easy!

Avocado: Strong Hair

Avocados aren’t just a trendy health food. They contain the B vitamin biotin—about 2 to 6 micrograms per whole avocado—which helps hair grow quicker and thicker. Many of the other nutrients in avocados, like Vitamin E, are also beneficial.

Salmon: Glossy Hair

The omega-3 fatty acids in salmon are known to lend shine to dull strands. If you’re concerned about mercury, smaller fish like anchovies or sardines can have the same effect with lower mercury risks (since they don’t live as long before getting eaten by predators, they don’t accumulate as many toxins)

Strawberries: Lush Hair

Any fruit that’s high in Vitamin C, including strawberries, kiwis, blackberries, and papayas (as well as the most popular source: oranges), will help your hair grow full and lustrous. Vitamin C aids in the production of collagen, which keeps hair shafts strong and nourished.

Almonds: Protected Hair

Almonds contain tons of hair-healthy nutrients, including manganese, Vitamin E, Vitamin D, and magnesium. Low magnesium levels have been connected to hair loss, and the other ingredients promote health and growth. You don’t need to eat a lot—a small amount of almonds goes a long way.

Pumpkin: Moisturized Hair

Fall and winter weather can be extra drying. Pumpkins help by being great sources of beta-carotene, an antioxidant that gets turned into Vitamin A when you eat it. This helps your scalp produce enough sebum, which is the natural moisturizer your body makes to keep your skin and hair soft.

Greek Yogurt: Long Hair

The high protein content of Greek yogurt (it has considerably more protein than regular yogurt) gives you what you need to grow, grow, grow! B vitamins also contribute to hair growth by maintaining healthy blood flow to the scalp.

Eggs: Thick Hair

If you’re worried about thin hair, don’t skip eggs for breakfast (or any meal of the day). Eggs are great sources of protein and iron, as well as biotin, which are all necessary to stimulate growth and strength and prevent hair loss.

Kale: Breakage-Free Hair

If you suffer from breakage and split ends, keep kale (or other leafy dark greens like spinach) in heavy rotation. Iron, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C are just a few of the nutrients kale has to help your hair stay strong and moisturized so it doesn’t break.

Oysters: Full Hair

Oysters are rich in zinc, which is crucial for the cells that foster new hair growth. Zinc deficiencies are known to cause hair loss so extreme you can even lose your eyelashes. Fortunately, crab and lobster are also good sources of the mineral.

Tomatoes: Hair Regrowth

If you’ve already struggled with hair loss or thinning, tomatoes will put you on the fast track to regrowth. Lycopene, which tomatoes have in spades, is often used to combat hair loss. They also contain other important nutrients like Vitamin C and beta carotene.