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When most people think about changing their diet, it’s related to their body shape and long-term health. But a well-balanced diet stretches beyond that. Your skin, your nails, your hair, even your body odor are all affected by what you eat. While no amount of salmon is going to act like automatic Rogaine, loading up on certain foods — all of which are part of a healthy diet anyway — will help contribute to healthier, shiner hair that’s less prone to breakage in the long-term. Here’s a look at the foods to add to your diet on a regular basis now.
- Tea: Stress is a common contributor to hair loss, and while we all have different ways of handling it, taking a moment to savor a cup of tea is never a bad idea. Chamomile, barley, mint and passionflower are all commonly found, and boast a variety of calming properties.
- Salmon: Salmon is consistently singled out on lists of the healthiest foods. Its high levels of omega-3s in particular are key for helping keep your scalp healthy and hydrated, while its high levels of vitamin D and iron help prevent hair loss (their deficiency is commonly associated with hair loss).
- Protein: Hair is primarily made up of protein (called keratin), so it stands to reason that it’s imperative to have a protein-rich diet for a healthy mane. Eggs, tofu, chicken, beans, lamb, pork, the occasional piece of lean beef — these are all great sources of protein. Beans boast a wide range of other hair-boosting properties, including iron and come in a wide variety of types; ideally mix up the kind of beans you are eating.
- Nuts and seeds: Watch your portions on these as it’s very easy to overindulge. A handful of nuts and seeds added to your diet daily, however, will give you the healthy fats your hair needs. Nuts, especially walnuts, are also rich in biotin, which is commonly prescribed in health food stores as a supplement for healthy hair (as with anything, though, it’s better to get key vitamins, minerals and nutrients directly from food).
- Dark, leafy greens: Kale, spinach, Swiss chard — these are all high in vitamins, folate and beta carotene, known to help with sebum production to naturally condition hair.
- Blueberries: Like salmon, blueberries consistently come out on top as one of the best foods for overall health. For hair loss in particular, they are rich in vitamins that have been shown to help fight hair breakage.
You’ll want to bear in mind, however, that while all of the above mentioned foods will help boost the health of your hair if eaten consistently, there is no one magic wand to fix your hair with a quick bite. The most important thing you can do to encourage hair growth is to get a handle on your stress levels and eat a well-balanced diet high in fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, lean protein, and low in sugar and processed foods. Good hair products designed specifically for your type of hair are also key, and always protect your hair from the sun and heat styling with a spray like this.