I often get asked what my secret to growing longer and strong hair is. It can be sobering when my answer turns towards the direction of expensive salon visits, twice weekly conditioning treatments, protein treatments, regular trims, choosing the right products for what my hair needs and the list goes on and on. However, there is a part of my hair care routine that somewhat feels effortless but makes the biggest difference to my hair: what I snack on every day.
Your diet is one of the most important adjustments you can make to your lifestyle that builds a great foundation for healthy long hair. Here are my five favourite foods to snack on for healthy hair:
One of my favourite super foods is the buttery Avocado. It’s so yummy that it kinda feels wrong that it’s so healthy?! It’s loaded with healthy unsaturated fats, fibre, potassium, iron, copper, folate and other minerals. Not only is it great for your brain and heart health, your scalp and hair absolutely love it! It’s a great source of Biotin and Vitamin E which improves the blood circulation and helps the follicles work more efficiently to promote hair growth. It also maintains the balance oil and PH levels, which if produced in excess, can clog the hair follicles and cause the hair to fall.
When I started incorporating more avocado into my diet after a few years ago, I found that I rarely suffered beyond the normal amounts of hair fall like I’d used to. So when you find your hair is falling out, load up on avocados – it’s the most delicious way to get Vitamin E and reduce that hair fall!
I always include half an avocado in my breakfast usually on toast with a bit of salt and pepper. Sometimes I’ll have the other half in the afternoon with a salad or with whatever I am eating. It kinda goes with everything!
Image: The Garlic Dairies
2. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are full of vitamins and minerals and the magical Beta Carotene. This substance is converted to vitamin A in the body and is key to making your hair hold moisture and helps your stands to grow with a sheen and lustre to them.
I can hear all you fries-lover rejoicing. Yes, you are now free to eat sweet potato fries, guilt-free! Ok, maybe not completely guilt-free but at least you’re doing something great for your hair, right?! I snack on these around twice a month and love to bake mine into wedges (favourite recipe here). If it’s on the menu at a burger joint, you can count on me to always order them! For a healthier alternative, munching on carrots is a great way to load up on Vitamin A.
3. Green Vegetables
Spinach is one of the most nutrient-rich leafy greens available. It’s rich in Vitamin A and C, iron, folate and beta carotene which great for hair and if you like it, I would recommend having it regularly in your diet to support your hair growth. However, my favourite vegetable to add into my diet for hair health is broccoli! It derives most of its caloric content from protein, which is essential for hair health and growth. It also contains a substance which when ingested, inhibits dihydrotestosterone, which is closely related to hair loss and thinning. So if you have a history of hair loss in the family, eating more broccoli may help slow down your hair loss.
I love cutting up broccoli into small pieces and baking it with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper – I can snack on these all day! If I have extra time on my hands, I’ll make this recipe here. To me, snacking on broccoli is more satisfying than downing a packet of potato chips and I get all the lovely hair growth nutrients as I do it!
Image: A Beautiful Plate
4. Chia and Flax Seeds
Omega-3 fatty acids are great for your hair – it helps add a sheen and lustre to your stands and keeps your scalp healthy which we know, promotes hair growth. Chia or Flax seeds are rich in these fatty acids as well as Vitamin D and protein, all of which are loved by your hair. Why it made it on the list for me is because they’re so easy to incorporate into your food. I sprinkle them on whatever I can: smoothies, salad, muffins!
5. Nuts & Legumes
Nuts and nut-based butter such as peanut and almond butter are high in fibre, protein, biotin and vitamin E. In particular, almonds are great for a healthy scalp and hair. I always like to keep a bowl of nuts on my desk to snack on while I work or put them in my smoothie bowls as pictured above.
Legumes such edamame and chickpeas also make great snacks and are packed with vitamins and minerals including folate and biotin. If Toby and I decide to stay in, my go to movie snack is hummus with carrots. All the nutrients you get from a portion of hummus and carrots helps fight thinning hair, dandruff, irritated scalp, and hair loss! It’s also great for your overall health!
What are your favourite foods to eat to keep your hair healthy? I would love to know in the comments!