When you care about your hair, people notice. This is because how our hair looks determines how old or young we look (and feel). Having healthy-looking hair that isn’t rife with split ends is almost a must-have goal a lot of people struggle. Aside from genetics, one of the leading problems of this may be due to a simple thing we call “the diet.” Hair growth is a complex process that requires almost as much TLC as our skin does.
To ensure your hair is receiving as much healthy help as possible, there is a host of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals we need to ensure optimal hair growth and follicle stimulation. Listed below are 10 foods (some of them are called a “superfood”) that are loaded with minerals and vitamins that do just that.
NOTE: As this list concerns natural, healthy foods, it’s intended for people who do not use artificial-growth products or pharmaceutical creams and chemically-laden lotions.
1. Citrus Fruits
The reason citrus fruits kick off this list is that they are “super-charged” with vitamin C. Vitamin C is the leading “repairman” of our body tissues. Vitamin C helps us produce collagen, which is responsible for creating skin, ligaments, cartilage, tendons and blood vessels. Vitamin C also helps the healing rate of our flesh when we’re wounded, in addition to keeping our bones and teeth healthy as possible.
Therefore, introducing more citrus fruits into your day (perhaps after your glass of water first thing in the morning) is paramount to not only maintaining healthy hair but maintaining your overall health. In fact, a lot of doctors think that vitamin C deficiency is the cause behind dry and cracked hair.
In case you’re stumped for citrus fruits, here is a quick list/short reminder:
- Blood orange
- Key lime
- Mandarin and regular orange
Carrots have a significant source of vitamin A – which is responsible for improving our eye health and keeping our vision clear. However, there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to vitamin A: Vitamin A produces sebum on our scalp (an oil that stops our hair from drying out and falling off).
Clearly, having vitamin A in our bodies is important. Not having enough of this vitamin leads to dry eyes, a host of skin problems, and severe bouts of diarrhea. It is important, however, not to overdo vitamin A as doing so will backfire on you and have the opposite effect of hair growth. Carrots are also a significant source of biotin. We’ll talk about the benefits of biotin has on your hair later.
Selenium is found in spinach. Selenium is important for us because it’s directly responsible for our joint, eye, reproductive system and immune system health. Our bodies do not produce selenium, so we must find this “hidden secret” nutrient somewhere else; introducing a cup of cooked spinach to your diet gives you 10 micrograms of selenium, which also has antioxidant properties – preventing cell and tissue damage.
Be careful, however, as a “selenium overdose” has a large part of what causes hair loss (oddly enough). However, taken in small amounts and coupled with zinc, selenium helps hair grow because it keeps our hormones healthy and optimally functioning.
4. The Sun
Okay, the sun isn’t a food. But, staying 15-20 minutes in the sun gives you more than enough vitamin D for the day. Aside from making your hair look older, a lack of vitamin D can lead to several (life-threatening) cancers such as breast cancer, ovary cancer, prostate, and colon cancer. Vitamin D is also phenomenal for regulating our immune system.
Even though the sun isn’t a food, there’s nothing bad that comes from getting 10-15 minutes of sun a day. Least of all because the sun lowers cortisol levels (which is responsible for stress hormones), lessens depression, and (because the sun increases your vitamin D levels) helps protect against arthritis.
Whether they’re blueberries, strawberries or raspberries – berries are high in biotin. Biotin (which is a B vitamin) makes it easier for our bodies to process sugars and fat. This nutritional element is one of the foundations of our fundamental body functions and prevents hair problems. Doctors and supplement companies associated symptoms of hair loss and red rashes with biotin deficiency – however, the National Institute of Health (NIH) says there are insufficient data to support this. Personally, coupled with carrots, any one of these berries (or all of them) supercharges your healthy hair growth. Eating a healthy amount of biotin never hurt anyone.
One cup of boiled lentil has 6.6mg of iron. Why is this important? Because iron helps our bodies produce red blood cells, transferring oxygen from our lungs to all our organs and tissues. Not having enough iron (you might already be painfully aware) causes anemia, fatigue, pale skin, and–perhaps most relevant–hair loss.
It cannot be stressed enough just how vital iron is. Luckily, lentils are packed with these powerful legumes. Aside from iron, lentils are loaded with protein and essential amino acids – both of which help us feel more energetic. Plus, they’re versatile and can be used in soups, pastas, stews and on top of salads.
7. Dried Thyme
Yes, believe it or not, the popular spice you use in your meals actually help your hair growth. This is because dried thyme is a great source of iron. Thyme contains 6.1 milligrams of iron per 5 grams. (For reference: 1 tbsp. of dried thyme = 2 grams.)
Putting dried Thyme and Lentils together in your next meal is a great recipe for stimulating hair growth. And as if that weren’t enough, thyme also has anti-bacterial properties which make it a fantastic acne fighter. Thyme also lowers blood pressure, boosts our immunity systems, and positively improves your mood (whether in natural or essential oil form).
Every dish you could possibly prepare can greatly benefit (health and taste-wise) from adding a few small amounts of dried thyme. (Personally, I make a habit of pouring Italian seasoning into everything, and will shortly start making a habit of doing the same with dried thyme.)
Aside from all the health benefits of these foods, having these foods and nutrients in our bodies help us feel and look younger and sexier. There’s nothing wrong with feeling good about the way we feel and look – in a world where health has quickly become top-priority, a part of health includes feeling confident and proud of yourself. Keep in mind that maintaining 100% hair health is virtually impossible to do, but it never hurts to try keeping the healthiest-looking (and feeling) hair you’ve ever had, without all the pharmaceutical hair growth products.
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