A nutritious diet supplies you with energy, helps fight disease, and provides the tools necessary to keep your heart and other organs functioning properly. Good nutrition affects the inner workings of your body. Furthermore, it helps highlight your visible signs of good health, such as glowing skin, strong nails, and lustrous hair. It is possible to include delicious and nutritious foods in your diet that help you look as good as you feel. Check out these 14 delicious foods that help promote strong, healthy, shiny locks of hair.
It should come as no surprise that foods that are healthy for your heart, digestive system, and bone structure are also healthy for your hair. Beans, peas, and lentils are delicious, fiber-rich foods that are also high in folate. Folate is a B vitamin which may help keep your hair lustrous through its role in DNA synthesis. Folate also plays a part in the formation of the red blood cells that deliver oxygen to your skin and scalp. You can enjoy a variety of legumes such as black beans, chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, and soybeans.
13. Nuts and Nut Butters
Enjoying a handful of nuts may provide your body with the protein, zinc, selenium, and healthy fats necessary for glowing skin and shining hair. You can receive these benefits without overdoing it on calories by enjoying nuts in moderation. Snack on a handful of nuts such as Brazil nuts, walnuts, or almonds. You can also enjoy a spoonful of peanut butter added to your morning smoothie. A dab of almond butter on apple slices makes a tasty snack that treats your body right.
Blueberries are sweet little gems of deliciousness that contain a good dose of antioxidants. Antioxidants prevent cellular damage caused by free radicals in your body. A handful of blueberries may protect your hair follicles and scalp against damage by these free radicals. Blueberries are also packed with health-promoting vitamins and minerals. At only 84 calories, one cup of fresh blueberries provides you with vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and manganese. You can enjoy these sweet berries on a bowl of oatmeal, blended into a smoothie, or atop a fresh green salad.
Kiwi is another fruit rich in antioxidants. One medium kiwi provides 117% of your daily requirement of vitamin C. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that protects your skin and scalp against damage by free radicals. This vitamin also plays a role in the formation of collagen, an important component of healthy hair. Other fruits rich in vitamin C include strawberries, tomatoes, and guava. A simple way to eat kiwi is to cut it in half and scoop out the sweet flesh with a spoon.
Tangerines and other citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruit, and lemons are also good sources of vitamin C. In addition to the effects vitamin C has on hair health, it also helps your body absorb iron. Proper amounts of dietary iron contribute to healthy, shiny hair. According to the International Food Information Council Foundation, vitamin C is the perfect complement to dietary iron. Enjoy a tangerine on its own, or include it in a refreshing, summery citrus salad. Include a lean piece of meat or a serving of lentils with that citrus salad for a complementary dose of iron.Related: 11 Dietary Choices to Avoid If You Want Healthy Hair
9. Fish and Seafood
Fatty fish like salmon, herring, and tuna are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids may contribute to shiny, strong, silky hair. Fatty fish also contain nutrients such as protein, selenium, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and pantothenic acid. Oysters are a rich source of zinc, copper, manganese, and selenium. Furthermore, one medium Pacific oyster provides 133% of your daily vitamin B12 requirement. Clams are another delicious source of vitamin B12. Three ounces of cooked clams provide a whopping 1401% of your daily vitamin B12 needs. Vitamin B12 is essential for the healthy blood cells that supply your skin and scalp with oxygen.
Like other orange-hued produce, such as pumpkin, sweet potatoes, mangoes, and cantaloupe, carrots are a rich source of vitamin A. Excessive doses of supplemental vitamin A may actually lead to hair loss. However, proper amounts of dietary vitamin A can support the production of sebum, which nourishes and protects the hair shaft. Enjoy carrot sticks dipped in hummus for a healthy dose of vitamin A served with the folate benefits of chickpeas.
7. Red Peppers
Red peppers are a great source of vitamin C. As you know, vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps protect your skin and hair against cellular damage. Oranges are typically considered the go-to food for vitamin C. However, one cup of chopped red sweet pepper provides 317% of your daily requirement of vitamin C. Meanwhile, one cup of orange slices provides 139% of your daily vitamin C requirements. Raw, red peppers make a great topping for salads. Stir them into soups or stews for extra flavor.Related: 9 Things You Should Know About Gray Hair
Spinach and other leafy green veggies such as kale, Swiss chard, and broccoli are high in many essential vitamins and minerals. These nutrient-packed veggies provide many great benefits to your skin, nails, and hair as well as your overall wellbeing. Enjoy spinach in a leafy green salad topped with strawberries and pecans. Blend a handful of spinach into a smoothie along with frozen bananas, blueberries, and a dash of your favorite milk.
One hard-boiled egg provides a perfect dose of protein. Eggs also contain biotin, a vitamin essential for growing strong nails and healthy hair. Top a leafy green salad with a sliced hard-boiled egg for extra protein. Start off your day with a savory omelet that includes spinach, chopped red sweet peppers, and mushrooms for a breakfast that fills your tummy and nourishes your hair from the inside out.
4. Greek Yogurt
A creamy, 6-ounce serving of Fage Total 0% Greek Yogurt provides 18 grams of protein and 20% of your daily value of calcium. Protein is the building block for your body’s cells, and those include the cells of your tresses. Add Greek yogurt to your smoothie or enjoy a serving topped with blueberries and almonds. You can also use Greek yogurt in place of sour cream in many recipes. The smooth, creaminess of Greek yogurt provides great flavor and texture with less fat and cholesterol.Related: Causes and Risk Factors for Thinning Hair You Should Know
Mushrooms are high in dietary copper. Copper plays an essential role in many body processes, including the development of red blood cells, smooth functioning of the nervous system, and bone strength. This mineral also helps keep your hair healthy by improving the absorption of dietary iron. Enjoy shiitake mushrooms in a stir-fry or added to soups and stews. Grill hearty portobello mushrooms for a savory alternative to grilled meat that provides protein, iron, and folate.
2. Whole Grains
Whole grains are essential for good health in that they provide the fiber necessary for good digestion and a feeling of fullness and satisfaction. These grains also contain many wholesome nutrients that bolster your body and contribute to good hair health. One cup of cooked, pearled barley contains 12% of your daily iron requirements in addition to manganese, selenium, niacin, and folate. Fortified whole-grain cereals provide a daily dose of iron. Oats are high in fiber and are an excellent source of iron, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Organ meats such as liver are rich in protein and packed with iron. Iron is essential for healthy red blood cells and oxygen-rich blood. Since liver is high in cholesterol, you should avoid eating this meat more than once per week. However, an occasional 3-ounce serving of this meat can contribute to healthy skin and hair. If you enjoy liver, you may enjoy an occasional treat of liver and onions. However, if the thought of liver makes you turn up your nose, there are plenty of plant-based proteins you can turn to instead.Related: Top 10 Natural Treatments for Thinning Hair