Foods For Healthy Hair: 10 Foods For Strong Hair

Healthy Hair Foods

The Huffington Post Canada   First Posted: 03/ 1/2012 10:23 pm Updated: 03/29/2012 6:50 pm

Forget your growling stomach -- experts say healthy foods can benefit your hair too.

In honour of Nutrition Month, we're finding the best food secrets for our bodies and thinking a little differently about what's on our plates. Today, it's all about hair from the inside out.

"You need to have good protein intake to grow hair these days," says hair expert Dr. Alan Bauman of Bauman Medical Group in Florida.

Even though there are many different types of hair, depending on the person, our bodies' ability to produce sebum is one thing we have in common. Sebum is an oily or waxy substance that is created by our hair's sebaceous glands. But just because your locks may look moisturized and healthy, it doesn't mean they are.

"You need to have healthy hair and scalp -- you can't have one without the other. If your scalp is dry, your hair won't be well conditioned," Dr. Bauman says.

Age is also a factor. Dr. Bauman and his team have seen patterns with women of different ages who have experienced hair loss. In the younger generation, you are more at risk for hair loss if you go on a crash diet. On the flip side, women who are in their 50s may experience hair loss because of hormones. "You have to build good hair from the beginning," he says.

And just because you fry up some salmon for dinner tonight, it doesn't mean you'll see results right away, Dr. Bauman says. It can take up to six weeks for food and your hair to finally tie the knot.

Check out the top 10 superfoods that can patch up any split-end or dry hair problems you may have -- your healthy locks will thank you later:

Loading Slideshow...
  • Salmon

    When it comes to foods that have a beauty punch, it's hard to beat salmon. Loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, this high-quality protein source is also filled with vitamin B-12 and iron.

  • Dark Green Vegetables

    Spinach, like broccoli and Swiss chard, is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, which your body needs to produce sebum. This oily substance, secreted by your hair follicles, is the body's natural hair conditioner.

  • Beans

    Legumes like kidney beans and lentils should be an important part of your hair-care diet. Not only do beans provide protein for hair growth, but they also inject ample iron, zinc, and biotin into your locks.

  • Nuts

    Do you go nuts for thick, shiny hair? You should. Brazil nuts are one of nature's best sources of selenium, an important mineral for the health of your scalp. Walnuts contain alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid that may help condition your hair. They are also a terrific source of zinc, as are cashews, pecans, and almonds. A zinc deficiency can lead to hair shedding, so make sure you eat nuts on the regular.

  • Poultry

    Chickens and turkeys may have feathers, but the high-quality protein they provide will help give you the healthy hair you crave. Low quality protein deficiences can cause weak brittle hair, while extreme deficiencies can cause a loss of hair colour. Poultry also provides iron with a high degree of bioavailability, meaning your body can easily reap its benefits.

  • Eggs

    When it comes to healthy hair, it doesn't matter whether you like your eggs scrambled, fried, or over easy. However they're served up, eggs are one of the best protein sources you can find. They contain biotin and vitamin B-12, which are important beauty nutrients.

  • Whole Grains

    Sink your teeth into hearty whole grains, including whole-wheat bread and fortified whole-grain breakfast cereals, for a hair-healthy dose of zinc, iron, and B vitamins.

  • Oysters

    While they are perhaps best known for their reputation as an aphrodisiac, oysters can also lead to healthy hair. The key to their love and hair-boosting abilities is zinc -- a powerful antioxidant. If oysters don't make a regular appearance on your dinner plate, don't despair. In addition to getting it from whole grains and nuts, you can also get zinc from beef and lamb.

  • Low-Fat Dairy Products

    Skim milk and yogurt are great sources of calcium, an important mineral for hair growth. They also contain whey and casein, two high-quality protein sources.

  • Carrots

    Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A, which promotes a healthy scalp along with good vision.Since a healthy scalp is essential for a shiny, well-conditioned head of hair, you'd be wise to include carrots in your diet as snacks or toppings on your salad.

Also on HuffPost:

FOLLOW HUFFPOST WOMEN