One of the telltale signs of overall health is the health of your hair and a well-balanced diet can go far beyond any hair product when it comes to contributing to a lush, shiny mane. Not to mention the fact that many of the foods that help increase shine and cut down on split ends and hair loss are the same antioxidant-rich ones that help protect against cancers and heart disease. Here are some foods to load up on to decrease hair breakage and increase luster.
- Fish, in particular salmon: Fish is a fantastic source of protein and minerals and salmon is a particularly wonderful option because it’s also high in omega-3s and vitamin D, two nutrients that have been linked to preventing hair loss in chemotherapy patients. Omega-3s are also key to keeping your scalp healthy and skin moisture-rich. Additionally, salmon is a great source of iron (iron-deficiency is a common cause of hair loss).
- Lean meats: Hair is made of protein (called keratin), so it’s important to get plenty of it. A great source is chicken.
- Pumpkin seeds: Great source of iron.
- Red meat: Great source of iron.
- Tofu: Great source of iron and protein.
- Oysters: Great source of iron.
- Beans: Rich in protein, iron, as well as biotin, which is key to treating brittle hair.
- Dark leafy greens: Vegetables like kale are high in vitamin A and C, which are key for sebum production (the oil that's secreted by hair follicles and acts like a natural conditioner). Leafy greens also help your body store more iron.
- Eggs: Great source of protein, biotin, and B-12 (a deficiency in B vitamins has been linked to hair loss).
- Low-fat dairy: Great source of protein (think cottage cheese, yogurt, skim milk…).
- Brazil nuts: Rich in selenium, a mineral that has been shown to be important for hair health.
Aside from the foods we eat, stress is a common contributer to hair loss so a once a week yoga class may go a long way, especially in combination with a diet loaded up on the aformentioned foods.