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Top Food to Eat for Hair Health

 Top Food to Eat for Hair Health

Top Food to Eat for Hair Health

When it comes to achieving optimal health, everything is interconnected, including your hair. The foods you consume play a significant role in your overall health and specifically in maintaining vibrant, strong hair. If your hair has been looking dull, feeling brittle, or shedding more than usual, a change in diet could be the key to revitalizing your locks.

In essence, consuming foods rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, folic acid, and essential vitamins can dramatically improve your hair health. Below, two registered dietitians explain why nutrition is crucial for healthy hair, reveal their top food choice for hair health, and share vital dietary tips to keep your hair looking its best.

The Importance of Nutrition for Hair Health

The nutrients you consume directly impact your hair's health, states Amanda Sauceda, RD. “Before focusing on specific nutrients, it’s essential to ensure you’re consuming enough calories. Your body needs energy for hair growth and hormone production necessary for healthy hair.”

For example, the average adult woman requires around 2,000 calories daily, according to the National Library of Medicine. Beyond energy, the nutrients obtained from food directly influence hair health.

“Hair is composed of protein, specifically keratin, so it’s logical that adequate protein intake is necessary for healthy hair growth,” says Frances Largeman-Roth, RD, a nutrition expert and author of "Everyday Snack Tray."

In addition to protein, other essential nutrients for healthy hair include zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin D, magnesium, and biotin. “These vitamins and minerals are involved in new cell growth, and without them, our hair cannot thrive. Moreover, studies have shown that restricted carbohydrate intake can lead to hair loss.”

The Top Food for Hair Health: Wild Salmon

Both Largeman-Roth and Sauceda agree that wild salmon is the best food for hair health. Salmon provides high-quality protein, marine collagen, omega-3s, and zinc, all of which are crucial for hair health.

Specifically, wild sockeye salmon, mainly sourced from Alaska and sustainably caught, has the highest vitamin D content among salmon varieties. A deficiency in vitamin D is often linked to hair loss, highlighting the importance of including this nutrient in your diet. Aim to eat two servings per week, and don’t skip the skin—it’s rich in collagen, which promotes hair health, advises Sauceda.

Additional Top Foods for Hair Health

A balanced diet is vital for hair health. Here are other excellent foods to include:

  • Almonds: Rich in plant protein, iron, and magnesium, making them a powerhouse for hair health.
  • Walnuts: A vegetarian source of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, fiber, and magnesium, which keep hair strong and healthy.
  • Eggs: High in protein and packed with vitamin B12, biotin, vitamin D, and antioxidants, promoting healthy hair.
  • Citrus Fruits: Full of folic acid and vitamin C, essential for collagen production and oxygen transport to scalp cells.
  • Skin-on Chicken: An alternative source of collagen if salmon isn’t an option.
  • Legumes: Provide vegetarian protein, B vitamins, and iron, supporting thriving hair.

Foods to Avoid for Healthy Hair

To maintain healthy hair, prioritize anti-inflammatory foods and limit inflammatory ones. Avoid excessive consumption of sweets and ultra-processed foods, which lack essential nutrients and can negatively affect blood sugar levels, suggests Sauceda.

While it’s okay to enjoy less nutritious foods occasionally, being mindful of their impact on hair health is important. Additionally, Largeman-Roth advises avoiding high-mercury fish like swordfish and bigeye tuna, as mercury buildup can cause hair loss.

Lifestyle Tips for Healthy Hair

Healthy lifestyle habits are crucial for maintaining hair health. Stay hydrated to prevent dry, brittle hair, and avoid yo-yo dieting, which can lead to hair loss. Managing stress is also essential, as chronic stress can increase cortisol levels and disrupt the hair growth cycle.

Proper hair care is equally important. Limit heat styling and always use a heat protectant. Consider sleeping on a satin pillowcase and drying your hair with a microfiber towel to protect your strands.

By incorporating these dietary and lifestyle tips, you can promote healthier, stronger, and more vibrant hair.

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