Commercials and magazine ads tell us on a regular basis that we need a quality shampoo and conditioner for healthy, shiny hair.  Hair care products are only part of the story, though.  For truly healthy hair, a diet consisting of healthy food is required.

Hair grows at the rate of 1/4 to 1/2 inch every month.  The strength and health of that new growth is based on the nutrients that have fed it.  Eating a diet based on lean proteins, whole grains and plenty of fresh produce will create a healthy foundation for your body and hair.  It is also important to avoid processed foods and products high in sugar.

The Nutrients Needed for Healthy Hair Protein

Healthy Hair
Healthy Foods for Healthy Hair 5

Hair is mostly protein and requires more of it to remain strong.  Good sources of protein include eggs, fish, meat, cheese, soy products, yogurt, and cottage cheese.  Salmon is one of the best forms of protein for healthy hair, as it also contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, B-12 and iron.  


Iron prevents hair loss and changes in pigmentation.  Iron is found in red meats, legumes, eggs, dried fruit, dark green, leafy vegetables and whole grain cereals.  Increase the amount of iron your body absorbs by combining these foods with ones high in Vitamin C.

B Vitamins

B vitamins promote cell growth and repair, while preventing hair loss.  Foods high in B vitamins include poultry, beef, fish, whole grains, green vegetables, beans, sunflower seeds, peas, nuts and nutritional yeast.  Look for B-12 in fortified foods, such as cereals. Vitamin C – Vitamin C helps with iron absorption.  It is a powerful antioxidant and it supports capillary health.  Vitamin C, along with Vitamin A, is needed for the production of sebum, the oily substance secreted by hair follicles.  Sebum is the body’s natural way of conditioning the hair.  Vitamin C can be found in citrus fruits, melons, berries, bananas, leafy green vegetables, green peppers, avocados, artichokes and parsley.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A helps promote a healthy scalp.  It is required by the body for the production of sebum.  Good sources of Vitamin A include carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, broccoli, apricots, cantaloupe, oily fish, dark green leafy vegetables and tomatoes.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E helps with protein synthesis, circulation and cellular repair.  It is also an antioxidant. Sources of Vitamin E include egg yolks, avocados, nuts, dark green vegetables, legumes, wheat germ and whole grains.


Another antioxidant, Beta-carotene is responsible for protein synthesis and helps prevent hair loss.  Beta-carotene is found in fruits and vegetables that are green, yellow or orange.


Biotin deficiency is rare, but it is can be the cause of brittle hair and cause the scalp to become scaly.  Biotin can be found in beans, molasses, nuts, fish, dairy products and meat.  Eating three or more cups of lentils or beans each week will give you ample biotin, zinc, and iron for healthy hair, as well as a good source of healthy protein.


Zinc prevents dandruff and hair loss.  Zinc is associated with protein-rich foods, meaning it can be found in meats, fish, shellfish, beans, lentils, brown rice and dairy products.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Essential fatty acids promote overall hair health.  Omega-3 can be found in salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines, trout, walnuts, almonds, flaxseed oil, avocados, olives and pumpkin seeds.

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Silica increases hair strength and helps prevent breakage.  Silica is often reduced when products are processed.  Try to use organic produce and products whenever possible.  Silica can be found in rice, oats, lettuce, asparagus, onions, strawberries, cabbage, cucumbers, celery, cauliflower, green leafy vegetables, and sunflower seeds.

Correcting and Preventing Common Hair Problems

Common hair problems are often a sign of the body being deficient in one or more of the nutrients listed above.

Dry, brittle hair

This may be a sign of the diet lacking in essential fatty acids, silica or biotin.  Also, make sure you keep your hair hydrated by drinking six to eight glasses of water each day.

Greasy hair

Not getting enough Vitamin B in your diet can lead to oily or greasy hair.  Increase the amount of Vitamin B-rich foods in your diet and stay away from oily foods.

Thinning hair and hair loss

Thinning hair or hair that is falling out can be a sign of a deficiency in protein, Vitamin E, Iron or B Vitamins.  Hair loss can also be a sign of a thyroid problem or other health problems, so talk to your doctor if your hair loss continues or is severe.


I love food, so much that i started writing about it.