For many men, hair loss is the bane of the bodily domain. No matter how dedicated you are in your self-care regimen, you can’t stop male-patterned baldness. You can set up a strategic defense, slow its progress, but when it’s coming for you, eventually you will be forced into surrender.
While you can’t eat your missing hair back, you can eat your way into healthy hair follicles, slowing hair loss and creating prime breeding ground for new hair growth. For you balding guys inclined to undergo a transplant to replace your thinning hair, a hair-healthy diet will increase your chances at successful hair transplantation. As for you lucky guys who expect to have a full head of hair well into old age, these whole foods for healthy hair will simply make your already luxurious locks even more delicious.
Your hair is like any other part of your body. It demands several nutrients for growth and vitality. According to Today Health, the most essential nutrients when it comes to healthy hair are:
- Protein, require for growing any new cells
- Iron, which helps transmit oxygen to stimulate hair follicles
- Vitamin C, which helps produce collagen, a necessary fiber for keeping hair in place
- B Vitamins, which help produce red blood cells that carry nutrients and oxygen to the hair follicles
- Zinc, which aids in the repair and regrowth of tissue
The Best Foods
While many foods provide the above nutrients required for optimal hair health, some foods are powerhouses at keeping hair follicles healthy and stimulating the growth of new hair. By incorporating these foods into your diet, you’ll work toward hair health at every meal.
It may not be your heart’s best friend, but red meat and your hair are very chummy indeed. Red meat offers a protein punch unlike any meat source, but it’s also a source of iron, zinc and B vitamins. When consuming red meat, you already know it’s important to keep cuts lean and portions small, ideally consuming no more than eight ounces per week.
Though poultry has slightly lower amounts of healthy-hair nutrients than beef, it provides the same ones, and has a better reputation in the health world. The American Heart Association recommends up to 6 ounces of lean meats, like poultry, each day. This includes eggs, another hair-friendly food option.
Fish & Seafood
With both salmon and oysters making WebMD’s “Top 10 Foods for Health Hair,” the fish and seafood category is a good place to go looking for hair health. A good source of animal protein, like beef and chicken, fish and seafood are also the best dietary sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s make up three-percent of the hair shaft, according to WebMD, making them essential for a well-nourished scalp.
Oysters, in particular, are also an excellent source of zinc, and fish is the American Heart Association’s favorite source of animal protein. For heart health, they recommend fish consumption at least twice weekly.
Though, they aren’t as iron-rich as animal protein, walnuts do provide a rich source of protein. More importantly, they are a good alternative source for Omega-3s for those who don’t eat as much fish as hair health demands.
Bonus nutrients in walnuts, according to WebMD, include biotin and vitamin E, which prevent hair loss and help hair heal from sun damage.
You probably grew up being told that carrots are good for the eyes, but the same beta carotene and Vitamin A found in carrots, as well as pumpkin, sweet potatoes and spinach, are also good for the hair. Vitamin A helps produce the oil in your hair follicles that reduces dry scalp and makes hair shiny.
So, it’s not technically a food, but water is more essential to hair health than just about anything else you put into your body. With water making up as much as 60-percent of the human body, dependent upon weight and muscle mass, and 70-percent of the brain, water is vital to every function. Dehydration dries out the skin, which clogs pores, resulting in a flaky scalp and brittle hair.
Whether you’re trying to keep your full head of hair in top form or make the most of the hair that you have left, what you put into your body plays a vital role in you hair’s health. When your hair is threatened by dandruff, poor growth or hair loss, a protein-rich, nutrient-dense diet is your best defense.
Adam writes for Great Hair OK, specializing in NeoGraft hair transplant.