Many women covet the shiny, lustrous locks that fill the images in print advertisements for hair products or come to life in television commercials.
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They are so eager to attain these potentially unattainable looks that they spend, on average, $15,000 on beauty products in their lifetimes, reports InStyle Magazine. While some pricey products may be able to deliver the bold and brilliant tresses they promise, there are other ways to achieve the hair greatness you seek.
While you probably never consider the impact your diet has on your hair health, you should, as the foods that fill your plate could have a major impact on the hair that graces your head. If you’re trying to improve your hair health, start by adopting a hair-healthy diet.
Along with providing loads of nutrients, seed consumption gives you unparalleled access to plant-based proteins and fatty acids, both of which are vital to hair health. Seeds of all varieties offer this benefit, from black sesame seeds to pumpkin seeds.
Trail mix-lovers will be delighted that nuts are great for your hair. Like seeds, nuts provide a hefty dose of fatty acids. They also commonly contain selenium and zinc, both of which aid in the development of healthy tissue, particularly in the scalp.
Do your locks look lackluster? If so, salmon could be your new best friend. Salmon, like many fatty fishes, contains omega-3 fatty acids. Along with giving your hair an enviable sheen, these components also help protect you from an assortment of diseases – bonus!
4. Greek Yogurt
A contemporary breakfast staple for many, Greek yogurt is great for your locks. The protein packed into this yogurt does more than just keep you full until lunch; it feeds your tresses, encouraging growth and strength. Greek yogurt is also rich in vitamin B5, which aids in ensuring blood flow to the scalp and may prevent hair loss.
Another breakfast go-to, eggs provide hair related benefits no matter how you cook them. Egg yolks contain biotin, a component that protects the hair follicles and shaft, which reduces breakage and increases the strength of your hair.
6. Iron-fortified Cereal
Turns out, lots of breakfast foods are great for your hair. Fast and easy, iron-fortified cereals provide, as the name suggests, a mega dose of iron. Maintaining a healthy iron level is vital to preventing hair loss.
Both your doctor and your beautician would encourage you to eat more spinach. This nutrient-rich dark green leafy vegetable contains vitamin A, vitamin C, beta carotene and folate, all of which help keep your hair moisturized and your scalp healthy.
8. Sweet Potatoes
Although popular when marshmallow topped at Thanksgiving, succulent sweet potatoes are largely ignored by many. These filling vegetables are rich in beta-carotene, which your body converts to vitamin A. Vitamin A promotes the development of sebum in your scalp. While it may have an off-putting name, sebum is actually just an oily fluid that helps keep your locks glossy.
Another orange veggie, carrots provide your hair benefits for many of the same reasons as their cousin root vegetable, sweet potatoes. This vegetable is also rich in beta carotene – it’s the component that gives the veggie its orange color, after all. Along with vitamin A, this nutrient helps ensure continued hair and scalp health. Most notably, carrots can increase shine.
10. Bell Peppers
Crunchy and delicious, bell peppers are more than just a colorful addition to a salad. This veggie contains vitamin C, which is a component necessary for collagen production. Both your skin and your hair require collagen to stay healthy and strong. In the absence of this vital element, your skin will age and your hair will lose its luster.
11. Whole Grains
Like spinach, the benefits of whole grains are widely reported, although you most likely didn’t think these benefits extended to your ponytail. Along with fiber, iron, zinc and vitamin B, whole grains contain silica, which has been called “the beauty mineral.” This generous title comes from the results of a University of Cincinnati study in which it was found that women given 10 milligrams of silica daily saw a noticeable increase in hair thickness and elasticity.
Packing a flavor punch, cinnamon provides lots of hair help in a small package. When consumed regularly, cinnamon helps promote healthy circulation, which ensures that nutrients and oxygen get to your hair follicles. As you probably expect, improved circulation also helps ensure enhanced overall health, making this spice an addition that benefits you from head to toe.
Considered a delicacy by many and a slimy appetizer option by some, oysters contain loads of hair-benefiting nutrients in their little shells. These sea creatures are rich in zinc, selenium, iron and protein, all of which are vital to the growth of healthy, shiny hair.
14. Red Meat
Load up on zinc and iron by adding some red meat to your plate. All varieties of beef and veal provide a large dose of these dietary elements and could prove beneficial to your hair. While you don’t want to eat red meat nightly, as it is also high in cholesterol, picking red meat as your protein of choice two nights a week could prove beneficial to your hair.
Enjoy them with your meal or munch them as a snack, as blueberries offer nutrients that your hair craves. These bold berries contain vitamin C, which helps ensure overall health. Additionally, vitamin C aids your body in absorbing iron from other foods.
16. Lean Poultry
If thickness if your main concern, increase your intake of protein without expanding your waistline by eating more lean proteins. If your diet is too lean in proteins, your hair growth slows and hair loss can occur.
If you’re an herbivore, you can increase your protein intake naturally through the consumption of lentils. These legumes contain zinc, biotin and protein. The protein found in the lentils can increase the strength of your individual hair strands.
A tropical vacation for your taste buds, guava is vitamin C-rich. Each cup of guava contains approximately 377 milligrams of this nutrient, which along with improving your overall health, helps prevent hair breakage.
Another tropical taste, coconut provides wonderful hydration and an assortment of hair health benefits. Coconut oil, which fills the coconut fruit, contains vitamin E, vitamin K and an assortment of other minerals. These components help promote hair growth and moisturize your scalp, which results in shinier, glossier hair.
20. Exterior Applications
While some stick to consuming food and allowing the benefits to come naturally, others swear by the use of food as a beauty product. To nourish your hair, make a paste with one egg yolk, half an avocado and a spoonful of honey. Spread on your hair and leave it for 30 minutes – while eating the guacamole you made with the other half of the avocado, no doubt – before rinsing.