Fostering healthy hair is a delicate science. Every growth cycle is shaped by your everyday decisions, and you’d be remiss to think your eating habits aren’t part of this equation. Your daily diet should include the vitamins, minerals, and protein necessary to keep your hair follicles in action, as well as enough key nutrients to help keep obstacles like inflammation and stress at bay.
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Food to encourage healthy hair growth
- Avocados. These fruits are the good kind of fat you need in your diet. Avocados bathe your body in nutrients like magnesium, zinc, vitamin E, and vitamin C with every serving, helping to fuel your hair follicles, keep your immune system strong, and support an unruffled inflammatory response. This high-fat food is especially helpful to support maximum absorption of Nutrafol’s fat soluble ingredients, making it a great choice to add to the meal you take your supplements with. (So the next time someone gives you the side-eye for ordering avocado toast again, tell them it’s not for you, it’s for your hair!)
- Nuts and nut butter. Seriously, go nuts with nuts. Just like avocado, the ample fat in nuts supports your absorption of those fat soluble ingredients found in Nutrafol. They’re also laden with protein (an important piece of our daily hair growth puzzle) and fiber (which is essential for keeping your gut flora happy and helpful in their role of supporting your nutrient absorption). Keep your nut choices varied to ensure you’re cashing in on the various micronutrients each different type brings to the table.
- Oysters and clams. We can’t say enough good things about vitamin B12-rich foods for hair health, so these shellfish make this list thanks to their impressive amount per serving. As an added bonus, they’re also packed with hair-supportive zinc — double the reason to add them to your hair-healthy diet. If you’re looking for B vitamins but avoid eating animal products, consider supplementation or fortified non-GMO tofu.
- Bell peppers. Did you know these underrated veggies actually have more vitamin C than oranges? Vitamin C is the star behind your body’s collagen production. While collagen is famed for its role in keeping our skin youthful and elastic, collagen is also important for your hair health because it helps keep your hair follicles secure in your head. Assuming you’d like to keep it that way, piling your plate high with vitamin C-rich foods like bell peppers is the way to go.
- Salmon and fatty fish. Foods rich in omega-3s are powerhouses at reducing inflammation in the body, which is one of the known enemies of optimal hair growth. It doesn’t hurt that salmon and similar fish are also chock full of hair-benefiting nutrients like vitamin A, B vitamins, vitamin D, and protein.
- Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables. Eating this family of veggies is like writing a love letter to your liver, which we depend on to help package and ship out most of the toxins in our body. Not giving your liver enough support can get in the way of your hair growth by letting inflammation run rampant, impairing nutrient storage, and gunking up your detox powers. Broccoli is also another great source of vitamin C.
Foods that mess with hair growth
- Candy and sugar-heavy foods. Foods heavy in sugar can send our blood sugar on a roller coaster of instability, rocking both our mood and our overall health. The ups and then inevitable crashes that come with eating sugary foods risk an increase of inflammation in the body.
- Marlin and other high-mercury fish. Letting too much mercury sneak into your diet can cause internal imbalances, disrupting your usual hormone signaling and piling on inflammation (thus stressing out your body and hampering daily tasks like hair growth). This stress is enough to kick your hair right out of its growth phase, as well as get in the way of your absorption of hair-happy nutrients.
- White bread and pastries. While tasty, these grains have been stripped of their natural fiber and nutrients, leaving you without proper nourishment or a buffer from these foods’ blood sugar-disrupting effects. While some bread will boast that it’s enriched in certain nutrients, fiber is unfortunately still left in the dust.
- Processed foods like potato chips. Easy to spot from their laundry list of difficult-to-pronounce ingredients, processed foods lack the nutrients necessary to support hair growth. Instead, they’re full of disruptive sugar, high sodium, and less-than-optimal forms of fat. Food additives are thrown into ingredient lists to improve flavor, texture, and increase shelf life. While some are innocent additions, others can add to immune disruption, mess with our blood sugar regulation, disrupt our microbiome, and essentially throw a wrench in our hair growth cycle.
- Alcohol. Cocktails and mixers are another culprit in sending our blood sugar on a joy ride —
a big problem since issues with controlling blood sugar are connected to hair loss. Even if you’re choosing to stick with more blood sugar-friendly alcohol choices, too much alcohol can still spell trouble for your hair growth, as a higher alcohol intake is correlated with worse nutrient choices overall. (And you better believe your hair depends on smart food choices to keep rolling out strong, healthy locks!)