Have you ever watched a shampoo commercial and thought, How is her hair so smooth and shiny? No one’s hair actually looks like that! You wouldn’t be alone in those thoughts, but if you thought lustrous commercial-worthy hair was only possible thanks to professional products and some not-so-secret video editing, think again. Getting soft, strong, and shiny hair that’s healthy from root to tip is easier than you think. The cold winter weather and direct heat from the hair dryer can be especially rough on hair, but they’re not the only culprits. A poor diet may be the biggest offender, so simply adopting a healthy diet of nutrient-rich foods can do wonders for your hair, turning your dry, dull strands into the luminous locks you envy on tv.
Try incorporating these six healthy foods into your diet and marvel at the transformation of your hair!
1. Chicken Unless you’re a vegetarian, you should definitely be incorporating a healthy serving of chicken into your diet to get the protein benefits it provides. But any old chicken won’t fly. Unfortunately, chicken nuggets and fried chicken are high in fat and lose a lot of their health benefits. Try tossing some grilled chicken into a salad or with some healthy grains, such as quinoa or brown rice, on the side. Chicken is a high-protein food that is rich in the vitamins folate, B6, and B12 that are crucial for maintaining healthy hair. These vitamins aid in the production of red blood cells that deliver oxygen throughout the body so a deficiency of these vitamins could result in stunted hair growth, and weak and brittle strands.
2. Chickpeas Hummus not only tastes great, but it’s great for you as well! Chickpeas, whether ground up into hummus or tossed into a salad, are a perfect healthy snack. Chickpeas are a great protein substitute for vegetarians because they’re high in folate and zinc, as well as keratins, hardened proteins that keep hair strong and durable.
3. Peanuts Salted peanuts may be high in sodium, but eaten in moderation, they are full of the vitamins biotin and folate, both great for healthy hair. Biotin, another B vitamin, contributes to hair growth and a healthy scalp.
4. Beans You know that joke about beans being good for your heart, despite causing flatulence? Well, they really are good for you, and not just your heart, but your entire body…so maybe you should have listened to your mom when she tried to get you to eat your beans! Legumes are high in folate and iron, which both contribute to healthy hair. Folate helps produce red blood cells, while iron helps blood cells transport oxygen and other nutrients throughout the body, together working to prevent hair loss and strengthen your strands.
5. Kale You probably don’t need me to tell you healthy kale is. It’s one of those green superfoods touted by nutritionists everywhere for its health benefits. You should listen up, though, because kale is rich in iron and beta carotene. Beta carotene is converted by the body into Vitamin A, which is needed for cell growth and replenishment. Without enough vitamin A, you’ll be left with a dry, itchy scalp. Vitamin A also produces sebum, a natural oil put out by hair follicles, keeping hair well-hydrated.
6. Strawberries See, this list is really not so painful, right? Strawberries are a sweet, delicious fruit and they also happen to contain a high level of Vitamin C, which helps the keep collagen (the fiber that maintains hair structure) healthy. A deficiency in this vital vitamin can cause dryness and split ends, making hair more prone to breakage. Eight strawberries is all it takes to reach the recommended daily intake of Vitamin C, so fill up on strawberries or each just a couple and wash them down with a swig of orange juice, and you should be good to go!
Who knew that healthy hair and a healthy body were so closely related? A simple diet combining high-protein foods such as fruits, veggies, nuts, and legumes can transform your hair from blah to wow in a matter of days, while keeping you healthy at the same time.