The goodness of eating good food doesn’t stop at just your hair. Most of these foods (which you likely already have in your fridge!) also help with luminous skin and strong nails. Both skin and nails are similar in composition to hair, primarily made up of keratin, so a vitamin or ingredient that helps one will help the others. Now that’s a trifecta we can get behind.
There’s a slew of multivitamins on the market to help boost hair growth, nail strength, and skin regeneration, but you don’t have to pop a pill to see results. Try one of these nutrient-packed snacks, and rock the locks you envision.
Salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which combat dryness in your skin and hair. Besides keeping dandruff at bay, this tasty fish also contains selenium, which protects locks against the sun’s harmful rays. Yes, your hair can be damaged by the sun, too! And with its anti-inflammatory properties, salmon not only keeps your hair healthy, but it can also help it grow. With endless recipes out there, find one that suits your taste—whether it’s salmon sashimi or a grilled salmon steak with mango salsa.
Move over, iceberg lettuce: Spinach is here in a super-vitamin-rich way. This leafy green is high in iron (as well as other vitamins), which helps red blood cells carry oxygen to the hair follicles, enhancing your locks and promoting growth. The best part about spinach: It’s so easy to add to just about anything. Swap out your regular salad green, blend into a smoothie, or sauté with some garlic and chili pepper for a spicy side dish.
It’s not surprising that blueberries, a bona fide superfood, are good for your hair along with tons of other things. These antioxidant-rich little guys protect against aging while also providing a dose of goodness to your locks by eliminating free radicals. If you’re tired of blending them into your morning smoothie, pop a few into the freezer for a refreshing summer snack.
Though seemingly sinful, this is one sweet that’s actually good for you. High in cocoa, dark chocolate helps cell renewal, a key process aiding in hair growth, because it’s high in iron, zinc, and copper. So grab a square after a savory meal—guilt-free—but make sure it’s at least 60 percent cocoa.
Like you needed another reason to eat avocados! This creamy fruit (yes, fruit!) is super high in vitamin E, which is a nutrient essential in promoting hair growth along with keeping your skin and heart healthy. Essentially, vitamin E helps everything grow, meaning it can even help with hair loss by encouraging capillaries in your scalp to kick into high gear. Slice up some avocado for your morning toast or blend it into a smoothie for an extra creamy kick. Not up for a snack? Consider applying an avocado hair masque, like this one by Earth Science, to up the shine of your tresses.
Maybe you haven’t tried these legumes before, but you really should. They contain zinc, which in tandem with iron helps foster healthy hair follicles, as well as biotin, which is a key ingredient in hair growth (and what all those hair, skin, and nail vitamins boast). Get the nutrient naturally by trying new recipes, like dal, or by adding a cup or two into your favorite grain salad for a boost; lentils are also rich in protein, which is needed to make your hair strong.
This fuzzy fruit is high in fiber and chock-full of vitamin C and antioxidants, both of which promote healthy growth. Bonus: These nutrients in tandem help prevent wrinkles. Add the tangy fruit to a fruit salad or grab one when you’re on the go—you can eat the whole thing, skin and all!
Ever-so-versatile and high in protein and biotin, eggs boost hair health by adding strength to your strands and lending important vitamins to them, too. There are 1,001 ways to use eggs (from scrambles to frittatas), but if you don’t like the taste and are feeling adventurous, rub a lightly beaten egg on your hair and scalp to reap the benefit of vitamin B without cooking.
Sweet potatoes are mostly known for their holiday appearances, but this versatile starch is high in beta-carotene, which is key in warding off dryness in both your hair and skin as it gets converted into vitamin A. Of course, you can eat them mashed, but why not mix things up and make some homemade potato wedges to serve alongside an herby dip or roasted in a salad with arugula and fresh spring onions?
Besides noshing on these foods, there are other internal and external factors that impact your hair health. Sudden weight loss can impact your hair’s condition, as can eating foods high in refined carbohydrates and sugar (although, don’t be afraid of healthy fats!). So make sure you’re monitoring your wellness overall when eating your way to healthy hair.