Let’s talk about healthy hair today, shall we? Today I’m sharing with you my tips on how to grow strong, long, healthy hair. There is no special shampoo or dietary supplements that can achieve what healhty eating can do. It’s a balanced diet packed with hair health promoting vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.
What to eat for healthy hair
Protein is my very first tip for healthy hair. Hair is more than 90 percent protein, and if you’re not getting enough protein you can experience slow hair growth or even hair loss. So add protein. Great plant based protein sources are lentils, hemp seeds, chia seeds, quinoa, spirulina, beans and nuts and seeds.
Consume lots of food high in silica
Already in 1939, Professor Adolf Butenandt (Nobel Prize winner for chemistry), proved that life can’t exist without silica (also known as silicon dioxide). In humans, silica is essential for the development of the skeleton and to prevent very dry hair. It’s also an important component of hair . Great sources are Fiji water, horsetail, beets, leafy vegetables, brown rice, potatoes (particularly the skin), strawberries, green and red peppers, cucumbers, oats, barley, wheat, millet, bean sprouts and asparagus. However, since lots of foods is processed and the soil is often treated with chemical treatments the amount of silica can significantly decrease. Therefore, it is advisable to opt for organically grown unprocessed foods.
Get enough copper and zinc
We don’t need a lot of copper, but we do need it. It’s crucial for the proper functioning of the body, including healthy hair growth. Normal levels of copper can prevent hair loss and contribute to hair thickness. Copper can also intensify the hair color and prevent premature graying of hair. Another mineral that is important to hair health is zinc. It plays a role in the production of new cells (including hair cells) and it keeps the hair shiny.
My tip is to consume zinc and copper together as the balance between the two is crucial: too much zinc will interfere with the absorption of copper, and higher amounts of copper can be toxic. So what can you eat? I find black sesame seeds to be a great source. The Chinese are using this for promoting hair growth and restoring hair color. They’re a source of both copper and zinc. Also chia seeds and garlic contain both of this hair health promoting mineral combination.
Have a sufficient intake of iron
Iron carries oxygen to the hair, so hair follicles will not starve of oxygen. Interestingly, iron deficiency is the most common form of nutritional deficiency as I wrote here. Women who are menstruating (especially if they have heavy periods), women who are pregnant or have just given birth have a higher risk of being deficient in iron. I wrote an article on iron including some great sources of iron.
Eat foods high in vitamins C and E
Vitamin C is required to keep the blood vessels in the scalp healthy. Vitamin C also increases the absorption of iron in food. Vitamin E is an important vitamin that will keep the hair shiny and elastic. It may also help hair grow faster because it can boost the circulation to the scalp. Vitamin C and vitamin E protect each other and are more effective when consumed together. Good sources are spinach, nuts and seeds and avocados.
Eat foods high in vitamin A and beta-carotene
Vitamin A supports the growth of healthy cells and tissues, including hair and scalp. A deficiency of vitamin A can cause thickening of the scalp, dry hair and even hair loss. Beta-carotene can be found in yellow/orange and green vegetables and fruits such as spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash, mango, melon and apricots.
Be sure to eat plenty of foods rich in B vitamins
B vitamins are in essence a complex of vitamins that often work together. A sufficient intake of the B vitamins, particularly of vitamins B6, B2, B9, B7, B5 and B3 is necessary for healthy hair.
Vitamin B are thought to slow hair loss and prevent graying of hair. In addition vitamin B is important for the hemoglobin (blood cells). Hemoglobin is needed for transporting oxygen from the lungs to the other tissues in the body, including hair. A good supply of oxygen is necessary for healthy hair. Nutritional yeast is my favorite source.
Eat enough sulphur
Sulphur? Yes. Luckily, I love onions! I panic if I’m out of them and I truly eat onions every day. And guess what? It’s a great source of sulphur, which is nature’s beauty mineral.
Sulphur is a mineral that is found in all cells of our bodies and is particularly abundant in our hair, skin, and nails. Sulfur is ‘nature’s beauty mineral’ because it aids in good blood circulation, reduce skin inflammation and promotes hair growth. Some first signs of a sulphur deficiency are the loss of hair, brittle hair and nails and a dry skin.
Although we have sulphur in our bodies, it can only be obtained through food. Sulphur is found in onions and also legumes are a rich source of this mineral. Garlic, cabbage, onions, turnips, kale, lettuce, brussels sprouts, kelp, seaweed and some nuts also contain sulphur.
You can read my article on how to grow healthy hair fast (non food related) here.
When I posted this avocado onion cream picture (see below recipe) on Instagram, most assumed you were supposed to put this in your hair. No, you should definitely eat this. If you don’t care about healthy hair, I can tell you this tangy avocado cream is such a great alternative to other dips and sauces. It’s absolute the healthiest cream ever. The consistency is so deliciously thick and creamy, just like mayonnaise. However, the slightly tangy flavour created by the onion gives it a great kick and makes it just divine. I honestly eat it this with everything almost every day. I particularly love it stirred into a veggie buckwheat bowl.
Avocados contain (along with a whole lot of other benefits) biotin. Biotin protects our cells from damage. A sign that you’re biotin deficient is brittle hair and dry skin. Eating avocado often (daily if possible) means we get a steady supply of biotin for gorgeous hair, healthy nails and healthy moisturized skin.
- 1 ripe avocado
- one small onion or half of a medium onion
- 2 teaspoons of olive oil
- Celtic sea salt and pepper to taste
- Simply scoop the avocados out of their skin and place all the ingredients into a food processor. Blend them for a few minutes until a creamy paste forms.
photos and text by the green creator (c) (copyright)