You've heard it time and again: You are what you eat. The same can be said for your hair as well, which is why you may want to take a look in your fridge if your locks have been looking less than lustrous lately.
The truth is, your diet has a major impact on the strength and appearance of your tresses. Your hair craves vitamins and nutrients to grow and moreover, look its best. So if your hair seems a little dull despite using high quality haircare products, you may need to focus on nourishing your hair from the inside out.
If you're eager to achieve a thicker, healthier mane, make these foods a regular part of your diet.
Particularly if you heat style, color or chemically treat your hair, it's crucial to eat foods that are rich in zinc and selenium. Nutritionist Keri Glassman explained to Shape magazine that foods rich in these nutrients help to not only strengthen the follicles but also repair any damage. Deborah Enos, a certified nutritionist in NYC, told Harper's Bazaar that another reason zinc is crucial is that it promotes hair growth. When you have a zinc deficiency, she explained that you may actually notice your hair takes longer to grow - or worse, that you're losing it. Don't like shellfish? Go for legumes, such as chickpeas and black beans, which are also high in this mineral.
In recent years, biotin has been touted as the magic vitamin for hair and nail growth. So it's time to start snacking on peanuts, which are one of the best sources of this form of vitamin B. Slayton explained that your body depends on biotin to metabolize amino acids, the building blocks of protein, as well as fats and carbohydrates. Since hair consists of protein, biotin is key for making your strands grow faster. If you're allergic or just don't particularly like peanuts, other biotin-rich foods include walnuts and eggs.
There are a range of reasons why you should make lentils one of your go-to sources of protein. In addition to being packed with zinc, Glassman noted in Shape that they're also chock full of iron, which helps to boost circulation, thus supplying your hair follicles with the oxygen they need for optimal health. Add them to quinoa, a salad or even make lentil burgers. Or, if you don't like the taste of them, keep in mind that lean beef is a good option that's also full of iron.
These are some of the healthiest fruits out there because they're packed with powerful antioxidants that can protect your cells from damage due to UV exposure, free radicals and other environmental aggressors. Additionally, they contain a lot of vitamin C. Lauren Slayton, nutritionist and founder of Foodtrainers in NYC, pointed out in Harper's Bazaar that this vitamin facilitates the production of collagen, which is what coats your strands so they stay vibrant and strong. Not to mention, Enos explained that a vitamin D deficiency puts you at risk of split ends. Citrus fruits, papaya and brussels sprouts are also all great sources of vitamin C.