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Top 10 Foods that Encourage Hair Growth and 5 that Prevent It
Put down that expensive “hair growing” shampoo and conditioner. If you truly want long, luscious, shiny hair, it actually starts from the inside out. It’s true, a healthy diet is important for those 150,000 or so hair follicles on your head, just as important as it is for your body. When you think beautiful hair, think beans, fish, lentils, and bananas.
Protein is the main building block for beautiful hair. When you neglect your protein intake, your locks will grow slowly and the strands will be much weaker. Healthy hair is easy but it does take about 6 months to actually see improvement, depending on how fast your hair grows.
So first, let’s take a look at the top 10 foods that not only encourage your hair to grow, but make it strong, shiny, and beautifully soft.
1. Bananas and Raisins
These two great tasting fruits contain the mineral silica, which improves the thickness of the hair. Try eating more organic foods that contain this mineral and make you hair more durable and stronger. Oats are also a good source of silica.
2. Sweet Potatoes
These beauties contain tons of beta-carotene, which your body will change into vitamin A, a very nourishing agent for your skin and hair. Eating foods rich in vitamin A makes your hair shiny and protects you from having dry skin. It also helps keep your scalp from developing dandruff. Other vitamin A rich foods would be kale, butternut squash, carrots, and asparagus. Always choose organic foods for your best health, and for the best looking hair.
3. Citrus Fruits
It’s time to say yea to vitamin C! When you don’t get enough vitamin C, it can make your hair dry and weak. Vitamin C also helps your body absorb iron. So stock up on organic lemons, oranges, strawberries, and apples.
4. Olive Oil
If your diet is too low in fat your hair could become brittle, dry, and lackluster. You don’t need much; just a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in your daily diet will keep your hair shiny and soft.
All beans and lentils are super rich sources of iron and protein, both things you hair needs in order to grow longer. Lentils, especially, are super good for hair support, growth, and maintenance. Add lentils to your soups and salads and watch those locks grow! Find out why black beans and lentils are the healthiest.
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Full of biotin, an important B vitamin that promotes overall scalp health as well as encouraging hair growth. Other foods that are good sources of biotin are cheese, avocados, almonds, and peanuts. Choose organic, free range eggs for the most nutrition.
7. Dark Green Veggies
If you need another reason to eat your greens, here it is. Spinach, Swiss chard, broccoli, and green peppers are all packed full of vitamin C and A, which help your scalp produce sebum, a natural oil that works as your body’s own natural hair conditioner. Read more about benefits of 10 healthiest vegetables ever.
Androgen, a hormone naturally produced by the body, is, unfortunately, associated with hair loss. Zinc is a mineral that helps your body regulate the production of androgens. People with low levels of androgens generally have dandruff and very slow growing hair. Change your diet and emphasize zinc rich foods such as oysters, liver, crab, and lean cuts of grass fed beef, can help keep you from losing hair as well as making the hair you have shiny and healthy looking.
9. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega=3’s encourage a healthy scalp. A deficiency in this important fatty acid leads to dull hair and a dry scalp, including dandruff. Good sources of Omega-3’s are walnuts, sardines, herring, mackerel, wild salmon, and flaxseeds.
10. Lean Red Meat
A diet that contains too little iron can actually cause baldness! Addressing iron deficiencies in the diet can help the body regrow hair. Most people who have problems with hair loss tend to have an iron deficiency, especially women. Besides cuts of organic, grass fed beef, other rich sources of iron include dried fruit, beans, turkey, and egg yolks.
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Now let’s address those foods that can actually keep your hair from growing. You may not think that eating particular foods can inhibit your hair from getting long and strong but it’s true. Check out the 5 foods that interfere with hair growth.
Yes, salt is super delicious on popcorn or those otherwise bland dishes but you need to moderation your intake if you want long, beautiful locks. Excess sodium consumption has been shown to cause the body to shed hair in alarming amounts. Consume no more than 2300mg daily, and even less than that if you are over 50, have diabetes, or have high blood pressure. If you want those long, beautiful curls, use that salt shaker with caution.
If for no other reason than you want long, beautiful hair, turn away from sweets. Sugar interferes with the body’s absorption of protein and, if you’ve read the above, you know how important protein is for your hair. Vitamin E is also important for health hair and eating sugar lowers the levels of vitamin E in your body. Avoid sugar as much as possible.
You already know that sodas aren’t good for you but did you know that just one contains a huge amount of processed sugar, HFCS, (more sugar), artificial sweeteners, artificial colors, artificial flavors, and absolutely no nutrients for your body whatsoever; except for completely drying out your hair! Even if you drink water most of the time, but enjoy that can of pop during your lunch break, the ingredients in that one can will dehydrate your hair and make them brittle, which means your hair will break off and not grow very long. Cut out all sodas and watch your hair grow long and lush.
If you really want a head full of long, luscious, shiny hair then you should consider reducing your alcohol intake right about…..now. Too much alcohol consumption reduces the vitamins, minerals, and folic acids that your hair needs to grow its shiny best (See more how alcohol affects the body). No one is saying you shouldn’t have a night out on the town every now and then, but the 3 martini lunches or the bottle of wine you polish off at night after dinner needs to stop if you want that beautiful mane.
5. White Flour
Although many people avoid carbs, they do it more for their waistline than their hair, but you should know that starchy foods, such as white flour, are quickly broken down by your body into sugars which causes your hair to thin as well as not allowing it to absorb vitamins that are important to your hair. So if you are having a little love affair going on with bread, pasta, cake, bagels and the like, it’s time to cut down, or cut out entirely, your consumption of white flour. There are many health reasons to do so but if you can’t break the habit for your health, perhaps you will for your hair.