"If your hair is done properly and you have on good shoes, you can get away with anything." -Iris Apfel

A recent survey conducted by Avon reveals that 67% of women feel more confident on a good hair day. Men and women alike associate confidence with feeling in control of the situation. Your luscious locks are the easiest part of the body to alter.

Women and even men regularly change their colour, cut and highlights to feel better about themselves.

One can walk into a business meeting with complete confidence if their hair is styled to perfection.

An individual may have nice looking hair but that does not mean it is healthy. To impress the rest, many put a lot of strain on their hair; straightening it, dying it, curling it etc.

Did you know, however, that a healthy diet is a key to a shinier mane?

Just like skin, the condition of your hair is an outward sign of your internal health. Key nutrients are required to have strong and healthy hair.

Superprof highlights the importance of good nutrition for a healthier head of hair.

Which Foods Make Hair Stronger?

Long, strong and healthy hair is everyone's dream. This is achieved through a healthy diet of key nutrients.

avocados are delicious
A delicious avocado toast or smoothie is rich in vitamin E which contributes to fast hair growth. (Source: Visual Hunt)

There are certain foods that can easily be implemented in your diet to have that head of hair you've always wanted. Here are some of the best foods for your hair:

  • Eggs: hair is made of protein, therefore it is necessary to consume natural sources of protein. A few eggs to start the day with a cup of coffee doesn't sound too bad now does it?
  • Spinach and other leafy greens: iron is an obligatory mineral for hair cells. An iron deficiency may cause your hair to become bridle and crack off (oh no!),
  • Oranges, limes or lemons: citrus fruits provide you with your daily dose of Vitamin C which is needed to absorb iron. Citruses allow for quick hair growth.
  • Nuts and Seeds: a full, thick head of hair needs healthy fats such as omega-3 fatty acids. Our bodies are incapable of producing these fats so they need to be incorporated into our diets by eating almonds, walnuts or flaxseed.
  • Whole Grains: rich in biotin, iron and zinc. Biotin is an ingredient seen in many shampoos. This is because biotin is required for cell proliferation and producing amino acids, both essential for thick hair.
  • Carrots: a glass of carrot juice a day keeps hideous hair away! Carrots have high levels of vitamin A which is required for the growth of every cell including hair cells.
  • Juicy, Plump Avocados: are filled with Vitamin E which improves hair circulation and helps hair follicles to work faster and promote hair growth.
  • Cinnamon: brings oxygen and nutrients to your hair follicles.
  • Salmon: filled with omega-3 fatty acids that act as anti-inflammatories. These healthy acids can help if you have inflammation that is causing your hair to shed and lose its strength.
  • Greek Yoghurt: very rich in vitamin B5 (also referred to as pantothenic acid) which helps blood flow to the scalp and hair growth. You're one greek yoghurt parfait away from having the mop of hair of a Greek god!
  • Almond Butter: Eat This, Not That! online has this delicious spread as its number one best food to eat for hair growth. High in protein, healthy fats and vitamins such as the super vitamin E. An 8 month trial conducted reveal that those who supplemented daily with vitamin E, from tablets or food, saw an increase in hair growth by 42%!

If you incorporate these foods into your diet, you will not only feel healthier inside but your hair will shine and become the envy of those around you!

What's great about these food choices is that they can all be bought at the local supermarket and eaten during breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Another added bonus about some of these healthful foods is that they can be easily made without spending too much time in the kitchen. For example, you can make a freshly squeezed citrus or carrot juice, avocado smoothie, spinach salad or scrambled eggs all in less than 5 minutes.

Toasting a whole grain piece of bread with almond butter is a great low-calorie snack that contributes to hair growth. Yummy!

Combating Hair Loss

Men go bald eventually. It is estimated that 50 to 60% of Caucasian men start to lose their hair by age 70.

However, those numbers seem to be getting worse by the minute. Many men in their early 20's are now reporting a major loss of hair.

Premature hair loss can leave most men and even some women feeling very self-conscious about their looks. Some even question if anyone will ever love them if they eventually go completely bald!

That's a bit extreme but it goes to show how important a full head of hair is to everyone. 

The key to stronger hair? Eat the aforementioned food! Nutritional meals and snacks can create stronger hair follicles and prevent hair loss. A healthy diet is a healthy body and a healthy body means a radiant mane!

The Worst Foods For Your Hair

Just like we saw that there are many healthy foods to eat that cause hair growth, there are also many foods to avoid!

Nutritious, vitamin and protein filled food is what you are searching for. You do not want to consume processed foods that are high in saturated fats, sodium and unwanted sugars.

Here are the worst foods for your precious locks:

  • Sword Fish: other fish like Salmon come highly recommended whereas Swordfish is a big no-no! This large fish has high levels of mercury which are detrimental to hair growth and strength.
  • Diet Sodas: sorry for those who like these refreshing drinks but diet sodas are artificially flavoured with aspartame a product that has been linked to hair loss.
  • SUGAR: stop the madness! It seems to be everywhere in almost every food we touch. Protein is super important for hair growth and sugar stops the body from absorbing the essential proteins it needs.
  • Starchy Whites: white bread, cakes, pastries and white pasta need to be avoided like the plague! They go hand in hand with sugar and cause hair thinning instead of hair strengthening.
  • Fast Food: these delicious carbohydrates are very addictive but also so bad for your hair! Super greasy food can leave your skin greasy, this also includes your scalp. The grease from these overly processed foods clogs your pores and prevents further hair growth.
  • Alcohol: we are definitely not condoning a drink once and a while but a frequent consumption of alcohol slows down the levels of zinc in your body. It also dehydrates your hair making it less shiny and more brittle.

Find nutrition courses you can take here.

Fast Food
As delicious as fast food is, it is extremely detrimental to hair growth and strength. (Source: Visual Hunt)

Some of the aforementioned items are sometimes hard to resist but your hair deserves better than that! In the long run, a well balanced healthy diet beats out the momentary guilty pleasures.

Healthy Recipes and Suggestions For Your Hair

"Let food by thy medicine and medicine be thy food." -Hippocrates, 460 B.C 

Hippocrates was on to something all that time ago. As we have so far learnt, certain food items can become like medicine to the body and especially the hair.

However, it is one thing to know what foods will contribute to a healthy diet and head of hair but it is a completely different thing to know how to cook them.

Have no fear, there are many simple recipes that include all the food groups and that will get you the luscious locks you've always wanted.

An overall balanced diet is required to stimulate hair growth and have a healthy scalp.

The possibilities for recipes using legumes such as black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans and lentils are endless. They are also great sources of protein, iron, zinc and biotin. Vegetarians can be happy too because there are many meat-free recipes available.

Here are some examples available on BBC Good Food Online:

  • Jerk Chicken Curry with Kidney Beans: this 7 ingredient recipe is savoury, spicy and healthy!
  • Pepper Lime Salmon with Black Eyed Beans: super simple recipe that only takes 10 minutes of prep time and 20 minutes of cook time.

Now for some other food items. Nuts are rich in zinc and selenium, both very good for the hair.

Here are some good nutrition courses here.

Brazil Nuts
Recipes that include nuts are good for the hair and can be interesting to try for breakfast, lunch or dinner. (Source: Visual Hunt)

2 more easy to make recipes featuring different nuts:

  • Baked Aubergine Stuffed with Roasted Pumpkin, Feta & Walnut with Minted Courgettes: does that not sound absolutely and incredibly delicious? A bit more effort is required here than in the previous recipes but it still only occupies 30 minutes of prep and 40 minutes of cook time.
  • Tropical Treat: an extremely easy to make breakfast treat filled with pumpkin seeds, shredded coconut, chopped Brazil nuts and cashews. (Yum yum!)

Take nutrition courses on Superprof.

Fish was mentioned various times throughout this article but that does not mean that poultry or beef do not contribute to a healthy diet! Meats are equally as beneficial. The internet is swarming with healthy beef and chicken recipes such as:

  • Chilli Beef Shepherd's Pie: a family favourite that has been slightly modified! Includes minced beef, kidney beans and parsnips. A very low effort is required to make and is something the whole family will enjoy.
  • Thai Beef Stir-Fry: the ideal after-work meal because it only demands 5 minutes of prep and 5 minutes of cooking time.

Let us not forget now the beautiful variety of orange and leafy green vegetables we can use. Here are 4 recipes to try out this week:

  • Pumpkin and Parsnip Cassoulet: not really recommended as an after-work recipe but more as a weekend get-together dish. This meal is wholesome comfort food perfect for those chilly winter evenings.
  • Stir-Fried Curly Kale with Chilli and Garlic: a very easy salad that goes well with beef, chicken, fish or classic oriental dishes.
  • Orange, Carrot and Mint Soup: healthy, vegetarian and beneficial for hair growth and strength, must I say more?
  • Sweet Potato and Chicken Curry: a very delicious budget meal because chicken thighs are quite inexpensive yet very juicy and flavourful!

Now it's time to see how you can boost your omega-3 levels. These fish recipes are just the trick:

  • Warm Mackerel and Beetroot Salad: fish is not nearly served enough in homes all around the world. This delicious recipe is cheap and easy to make for one person or two.
  • Sardines with Chickpeas, Lemon and Parsley: sardines cooked to perfection on the barbie during a warm summer night is just what the hair doctor ordered!

As mentioned before, all of these fantastic recipes are available on BBC's Good Food. They have a great article detailing the foods to cook and eat in order to have healthier hair.

Just as a reminder, I am not writing a blog about recipes and cooking. These tasty recipes are mentioned because they encourage healthy eating and include all the food items needed to promote healthier, stronger hair.

Try Hair Masks

Hair masks and DIY treatments have increased in popularity during the last few years.

Many of the masks can be done using household items like coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, avocados, eggs, brown sugar, lemons, coconut milk and honey.

These hair treatments do not damage hair with chemicals instead they replenish the hair and give it its original glow They also repair split ends and prevent dry scalps.

A balanced healthy diet is crucial in order to have strong, healthy, shiny and unbreakable hair.

Definitions About Hair

What is biotin?

A vitamin complex that can be found in an egg yolk, animal liver or yeast. Includes fatty acids and glucose and contributes to hair growth and strength.

What are omega-3 fatty acids?

An unsaturated fatty acid originally found in fish oils. Very healthy and beneficial. Can be taken in tablets as a dietary supplement.

Did you know that your diet can directly influence these factors?

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