Let’s establish this right off the bat: there is no overnight solution that will make your hair grow like a shoot of bamboo. The condition of your hair, for the most part, reflects the overall condition of your body. This is why a balanced diet is usually the make or break of a beautiful, healthy mane. Nevertheless, there are foods rich in certain nutrients that promote locks growing thick and lustrous. Let’s determine what you should enrich your diet with to kickstart the improvement of your hair condition!
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1. Oily fish for healthy fatty acids
Remember when we had the talk on getting shinier hair? Back then we established that Omega-3-6-9 fatty acids are crucial dietary fats that you must keep in balance, usually by keeping Omega-6 in check and boosting your intake of Omega-3. One of the best sources of Omega-3 is fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, anchovies or sardines. Studies show that adding some more Omega-3 to your daily diet can not only reduce hair loss but even improve its density.
How can you add more fatty fish to your diet in a tasty way? A great idea is to add some smoked salmon to your lunch sandwiches or toss some anchovies to your salad. You can also make a delicious spread for your morning toasts out of herring or fry a whole sardine with onions and chopped carrots for a super tasty dinner. Even if you are not a big fan of fish, give them a try – they may really surprise you!
2. Eggs for proteins and vitamin A, D and B12
This one you may have already heard about from your grandmother when you were little. Eggs are commonly considered a wonder food for hair growth – but are they really? Well, eggs are full of biotin and protein, both of which contribute to hair growth. Although it is rather rare to have a biotin deficiency, protein deficiencies are more common and can be a culprit of extensive hair loss. Eggs are also good sources of zinc and selenium, as well as vitamin A, D and B12, all of which positively affect our hair condition.
To add more eggs to your diet consider preparing yourself some omelettes, quiches and fried eggs, all of which make fantastic breakfasts. Already tired by the regular ways you usually eat them? Toss some raw veggies, ricotta, salmon, prosciutto, parmesan, feta, curry or caramelised onion to the mix to spice things up. Alternatively, you can add boiled eggs to your lunch salad – it pairs well with avocados, tomatoes and fresh cucumber!
3. Nuts for biotin, fatty acids and vitamin E
Besides being another great source of Omega-3 and biotin, nuts are stellar for getting your healthy dose of vitamin E. Did you know that just an ounce of almonds provides for almost 40% of your daily vitamin E intake? Studies have shown that the antioxidant properties of vitamin E contribute to reducing oxidative stress in the scalp which leads to significant improvement in the condition of hair follicles.
Nuts are super easy to add to your diet while being an absolute benefit powerhouse! For example, you can use some 100% peanut butter as a sandwich spread, toss some walnuts to your salad or simply snack on a mix of your favourite nuts whenever you feel like it.
4. Grapes for OPC
What is OPC? It’s short for oligomeric proanthocyanidins (yeah, long word, we know!), compounds found in grape seed, that (among others) help improve blood flow, ease swelling in the joints and prevent dihydrotestosterone production, the main factor for hair loss. It can also stimulate the growth of hair follicles. However, it’s important to keep in mind that you need a grapeseed oil or extract in order to tap into these beneficial properties. Whole grapes are, on the other hand, rich in the aforementioned vitamin E.
Grapes are fantastic to snack on throughout the day and you should definitely check hair cosmetics (conditioners, lotions) that contain grapeseed oil!
5. Sweet potato for beta carotene
You most probably associate beta carotene mainly with carrots, however, sweet potatoes are also a great source of it, along with asparagus, cantaloupe, pumpkin and dark green lettuces. Beta carotene converts into vitamin A, which contributes to cell growth. If your hair looks dry, lifeless and dull, and/or you suffer from dry dandruff, a vitamin A deficiency may be the culprit!
How to add some more sweet potatoes to your diet? Definitely by making sweet potato fries and herb dip combo your new favourite lunch!
6. Avocado for some more fatty acids and vitamin E
Avocado is filled to the brim with Omega-3, biotin and vitamin E. Eating more of it will be especially beneficial if your hair is dry, frizzy and lifeless. You’ve also probably heard about homemade avocado hair mask recipes – it’s because avocado oil includes potassium and magnesium, and may seal cuticle cells, which leads to your hair looking shiny and glossy. Although there is no final evidence of whether or not such a mask brings any actual long-lasting benefits, the silky smooth look is enough for many people to do it regularly.
Avocado toast is a cult classic, but there are many other ways to introduce more avocados to your meals – think bruschettas with tomatoes and guacamole, salads with avocado, feta and watermelon or grilled avocado halves filled with veggie paste and cocktail tomatoes!