I've been getting tons of questions about oil-pulling from my clients, lately (I blame it…
Want longer, stronger hair, and fast? Eat these foods to naturally speed up hair growth and strengthen your tresses. Some of these tips were recently shared on Vogue.com, but I’m including more of my faves here.
What foods can you incorporate into your diet to naturally speed up hair growth and make it stronger and longer?
The healthiest diet for your hair is also going to be the healthiest diet in general – one that is based on real, whole foods, and mostly (yet not necessarily entirely) plant-based, to ensure you’re getting the variety of nutrients your hair (and body) need.
In general, you want to incorporate foods rich in iron, zinc, Vitamin C, B Vitamins, and omega-3, as these nutrients have been most commonly associated with stronger and longer hair. Some examples include:
Clams & Oysters
Oysters are an excellent source of zinc, which is involved in hair growth and keeps the oil glands around the hair shaft working properly. Low levels of zinc can lead to dandruff, slow growth, and even hair loss. Clams are a good source of iron, which helps boost circulation and carries oxygen to the roots, which helps hair grow faster and longer. An iron deficiency can also lead to hair loss.
Clams and oysters may be some of the richest sources of iron and zinc, however, on a daily basis, beans are much more inexpensive and easily accessible way to get more iron and zinc into your diet. One cup of chickpeas delivers 26% of recommended daily value (RDV) of iron, and 17% of the RDV for zinc.
In addition to providing iron and zinc, eggs are a good source of biotin, a B-vitamin that supports hair growth. All of these foods – oysters, clams, beans, and eggs – provide protein which is the building block of hair. Without enough protein, hair grows much slower, and the hair that does grow is weaker.
Vitamin C-rich foods like bell peppers support healthy hair in two main ways. First, they help the body absorb the non-heme iron found in plant-based foods like beans and spinach. Secondly, Vitamin C is used by the body to form collagen which is required for optimal hair growth. Other good sources of Vitamin C include citrus, strawberries, kiwi, and dark leafy greens.
Brussels Sprouts other Dark Leafy Greens
Brussels sprouts and other dark leafy greens, like kale, broccoli, and spinach provide iron and Vitamin C. Certain greens – including arugula, kale, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts also contain high levels of sulfur, a mineral that promotes hair growth.
Hemp seeds provide omega-3 fats, an essential nutrient which reduces inflammation and nourishes the hair to promote thicker, faster growing hair. Wild Salmon is another good source of omega-3 fats.
How quickly can you expect to see results?
Since hair growth is naturally a long process, you will start to see improvements and benefits of eating a healthier diet within a couple months, but it will take at least 6 months of regular consumption to see the most benefits. On the bright side, because your skin and nails utilize these same nutrients, you’ll likely see improvements with them within weeks. Of course, to maintain your Rapunzel-like tresses, you must keep up with a healthy, whole food diet for the long term.
Do you have any tips or beauty remedies to naturally increase hair growth? Share them in the comments below!
Maria Marlowe is a holistic nutritionist and wellness coach who uses real food to help her clients improve their health, weight, and skin. She offers meal plans, ongoing group workshops both in NYC and online, and writes healthy and delicious recipes for her popular blog. She is also the author of The Real Food Grocery Guide, the most practical guide to selecting the healthiest foods, without going broke. Praised by Dr. Oz and InStyle magazine, it was a #1 new release on Amazon.