Who among us doesn’t covet lovely full-bodied hair, be it curly or straight — or somewhere in between? Alas, there are many of us left to manage thin hair, split ends and even a slow growth rate (seriously, why does my hair seemingly take months to grow back?). Luckily, there are a few simple food items we could all add into our diet to help with hair growth and repair. Rapunzel is shaking!
So, head out to your local grocery store or farmer’s market and stock up on some of these hair essentials… er, foods.
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Grab a carton and get crackin’! It turns out that eggs are a great source of protein and biotin, the latter of which assists with hair growth. Fun fact: a lack of protein in a person’s diet has been proven to promote hair loss, and eggs are an easy (and delicious) way to get back on track when it comes to your locks. Just make sure you you include the yolks in your recipes to enjoy in all the additional benefits of vitamin D.
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Raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, you name it! Research has shown that berries, in general, are jam-packed with beneficial compounds and vitamins that assist with hair growth. So grab a berry basket or two and enjoy them with yogurt, in your salad or just as a simple snack. Blueberries, in particular, have been shown to improve the circulation of blood, including on the scalp, which results in thick, healthy locks. Your hair will thank you.
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Spinach is one of the healthiest greens on the planet. It’s also a hair-friendly superfood that is loaded with nutrients such as iron, folate, iron and vitamins A and C, all of which have been shown to improve hair health. How exactly? Vitamin A encourages the skin glands to produce sebum, an oily substance that helps moisturize the scalp. Not a huge fan of Popeye’s favourite leafy green? Swap in kale, another nutrient-dense veg that benefits the hair and skin.
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Another veggie with vitamin A that deserves an A+, sweet potatoes are a great source of beta-carotene — the red-orange pigment that gets converted into vitamin A. It assists with cell growth which, in turn, helps prevent hair thinning and dullness. Fuller, luscious locks that don’t take forever to grow? Count us in and sign us up for every sweet potato recipe under the sun!
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There’s that biotin again (remember the eggs?). In addition to that badass vitamin, avocados also boast vitamin E which also assists in hair growth. According to multiple studies, minerals in avocado oil (think: potassium and magnesium) seal cuticle cells, which helps hair look shiny and smooth. So go ahead and swap your olive oil for the avocado variety or simply buy some of the hard-shelled fruit for a stand-alone snack or some homemade guac.
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Nuts and seeds
Make yourself an at-home unsalted trail mix and watch it work wonders on your locks. Not only do seeds and nuts provide a plethora of B vitamins, zinc and essential fatty acids, but they also strengthen hair cuticles and nourish the scalp. Deficiencies in any of these vitamins and nutrients has been linked to hair loss. Bonus: seeds, in particular, carry far fewer calories, so those who are allergy-free can add them to their regular diet.
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These gems are among the most underrated healthy foods out there. Extremely high in zinc, a mineral that is absolutely essential to immune health and helping us fight infection and disease, a single serving offers 100 per cent of your daily zinc intake requirement (that amounts to only six oysters). They also help the body produce hormones that encourage hair growth. Reluctant to try them? Pair them with a hot sauce, red wine vinaigrette, shredded horseradish or a spritz of fresh lemon juice for optimal enjoyment.
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Beans, as well as chickpeas and lentils
Similar to oysters, beans are an excellent source of zinc, which aids in hair growth and repair. They’re also packed with folic acid, a B-complex vitamin that helps to keep hair healthy, strong and eager to grow. Chickpeas boast high levels of folate which renews the cells on the scalp and aids in hair growth. The same goes for lentils, which have enough iron in them to help red blood cells carry the oxygen needed for longer, fast-growing locks.
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Prevent hair loss and encourage more growth with fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and herring, all of which have the nutrients needed to help your tresses. Omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to hair growth, so introduce more of these fish into your diet to keep those strands strong. If you’re not a fan of fish, you can consume fish oil supplements to promote hair growth and prevent hair loss, but be sure to refer to your doctor beforehand.
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This seasonal gourd boasts minerals such as potassium, biotin and zinc, all of which will work wonders on your tired, slow-growing tresses. Whether you buy it fresh or canned, this orange beauty is truly a superfood you’ll want to enjoy more often. Enjoy it in soups, pies, muffins, chili, stuffed pastas, oatmeal or no-bake protein bites.
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