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“Eating a diet that is rich in a variety of vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, whole grains, and healthy fats will likely give you what you need to be healthy inside and out,” says Serena Poon, CN, CHC, CHN, celebrity chef, nutritionist, and founder of Culinary Alchemy. That said, “there are some specific nutrients that can support hair health,” like vitamin C, protein, and beta-carotene.
Below, Serena shares 10 foods that support longer, fuller hair.
1. ACEROLA CHERRIES
“These tart fruits are incredibly rich in vitamin C—one cup contains 1,650 milligrams. This vitamin is known to support the body’s natural collagen production. Collagen is an important component of the proteins that make up healthy hair.”
2. ORANGE PEPPERS (AND OTHER ORANGE FOODS)
“These foods contain beta-carotene, which gets transformed into vitamin A by your body. Vitamin A supports sebum production that keeps your hair looking healthy.”
“These juicy fruits are not only delicious, they are also rich in both vitamin C and beta-carotene, supporting collagen and sebum production.”
“These tasty legumes are rich in protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, including iron. A protein-rich diet is crucial for hair health because your hair is made up of proteins. Foods rich in iron also promote healthy hair growth by supporting oxygen delivery to cells. A deficiency of this important nutrient can negatively affect hair growth. (I recommend that people get an iron test before supplementing with iron).”
5. AÇAI BERRIES
“These tasty berries are some of the most antioxidant-rich foods in the world. Antioxidants help protect your hair from oxidative stress and keep it looking lush and radiant.”
“This leafy green is a powerhouse when it comes to hair health, as it is rich in iron and vitamins A and C.”
“These tiny seeds are full of protein and plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, which may support healthy hair.”
8. CHIA SEEDS
“Similar to flaxseeds, chia seeds are a wonderful source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids that may support hair and nail health. They are also great for gut health, which helps protect you from nutrient deficiencies.”
9. PUMPKIN SEEDS
“Another delicious protein, pumpkin seeds are an iron- and omega-3-rich food that promotes healthy hair.”
“This grain is rich in fiber and high in the amino acid L-cysteine, which helps with keratin production. (Reminder: keratin is the protein that makes up your hair).”
Serena also recommends supporting your gut health, as conditions like dysbiosis (which can cause leaky gut syndrome) can lead to nutrient deficiencies that impact hair health. “You can support gut health with the above diet, along with limiting or avoiding the following: processed and fried foods, refined grains and sugars, and alcohol. You can also consider consuming probiotic-rich foods such as kefir and kimchi or taking a high-quality probiotic,” Serena says.
Ofc, it’s important to remember that what we eat isn’t the only contributing factor to the health of our hair. “There are a lot of other factors that could lead to unhealthy hair, such as stress, sleep deprivation, and environmental toxins,” Serena explains.“There are also autoimmune conditions that can cause hair loss, so if deteriorating hair health seems like a prolonged, worsening, or extreme problem, definitely check in with your health provider as well.”