What to Read Next

10 Best Foods for Your Hair

Angela Haupt
July 3, 2012

What You Eat Can Make a Big Difference

Move that shampoo and conditioner aside. The pursuit of luscious, shiny locks starts with fish, beans, bananas, and lentils. Indeed, a healthy diet is as good for the 150,000 hair follicles on your head as it is for your body. "Having a balanced diet, while putting a little extra emphasis on things like protein and iron, gives your hair a boost," says Neil Sadick, a clinical professor in the department of dermatology at the Weill Cornell Medical College.

Protein, for example, is the building block of hair. If you don't get enough, your mane will grow more slowly, and strands will be weaker. "Pump up the protein," says registered dietician Dawn Jackson Blatner, author of The Flexitarian Diet. "Include a small dose at each meal and with each snack, and you'll keep your hair follicles strong." Safe bets include poultry, lean beef, fish, beans, and nuts.

If you start a hair-healthy diet today, you'll likely see improvements within six months to a year, depending on how fast your hair grows. The following are the 10 best foods for your tresses.

Related content: 

Lean Red Meat

Too little iron can cause baldness, according to research conducted at the Cleveland Clinic. Treating iron deficiency may help regrow hair. "People who have problems with hair loss or hair growth tend to be iron deficient—especially women," says dermatologist Paradi Mirmirani, who practices in Vallejo, Calif. Other iron-rich options include turkey, egg yolks, whole grains, dried fruit, and dried beans (soaked and cooked, of course).

Eggs

They're full of biotin, a B vitamin that promotes hair growth and overall scalp health. A deficiency can cause brittle hair. Other high-biotin foods include peanuts, almonds, wheat bran, salmon, low-fat cheese, and avocados.

Bananas, Beer, Oats, and Raisins

These contain the mineral silica, which is thought to improve hair thickness, Jackson Blatner says. Emphasizing foods rich in silica helps make hair stronger and more durable. (Although beer contains a good dose of silica, it's wise to stick to a moderate amount—one drink a day for women and two for men.)

Dark Green Veggies


Load up on spinach, broccoli, and Swiss chard. They're packed with vitamins A and C, which help produce sebum—a scalp oil that works as a natural hair conditioner.

Oysters

Opt for these to get plenty of zinc, a mineral that helps regulate the production of androgens. These are hormones that, in low levels, are associated with hair loss. People with low levels of androgens can also suffer from slow hair growth and dandruff. Adjusting your diet—and emphasizing zinc-rich choices like oysters, along with crab, clams, liver, lean beef, and wheat germ—will help stave off hair loss and keep your mane shiny and healthy.

Sweet Potatoes


These are packed with beta-carotene, which your body converts to vitamin A, a nourishing agent for your hair and skin. Vitamin A protects against dull hair and dry skin, a leading cause of dandruff. Other smart choices to get glowing hair and skin include carrots, kale, butternut squash, asparagus, and pumpkin.

Beans

Legumes like kidney beans and lentils are great sources of iron-rich protein. Lentils, in particular, play a role in hair maintenance and support.

Fruits and Veggies

They're full of vitamin C, which helps your body absorb iron. Getting too little C makes hair dry and weak. The best sources? Broccoli, leafy greens, green peppers, citrus fruit, and strawberries.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

They support scalp health; a deficiency can lead to dry scalp and dull hair. Good sources include salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, flaxseeds, and walnuts.

Healthy Oils

No one wants dry, lackluster hair. But if your diet is too low in fat, that's what could happen. Healthy oils like olive, peanut, safflower, and sunflower can restore the shine. About a teaspoon a day will do the trick.

How to Choose the Best Student Loans

The fun of summer vacation is often dampened by thoughts of student loan debts. See which loan is the best for you.

Bad News For Insurance, Great News For Virginia

Virginia drivers, with cars and good driving records are learning that they may qualify for lower car insurance rates. Do you qualify?

Highlights From 2015's Summer Music Festival Scene

Check out 'Rising,' presented by Toyota, for highlights from Outside Lands, Lollapalooza, Nocturnal Wonderland and more!

Compare rates. Save big.

We'll compare rates so you have more time for important things… like cats.

Must-have handbags for Spring

Set the stage for spring with Brahmin’s new collection.

Free Workshop in Washington DC Area, Feb. 27!

Discover the power of stocks and options trading at this FREE Stock Success Workshop! Save your spot now and receive a free silver bar for attending!

Starwood Credit Card

Earn 25,000 Bonus Starpoints®! Use toward Award Nights or Flights.

ACE® Fitness

Become an ACE Trainer. Start Your Career In Fitness!

Relief is here.

Moms and Dads don’t take sick days. Moms and Dads take NyQuil or DayQuil Severe. Be prepared and get yours today!

The Smith Part-Time MBA Gives You More Options

Ad Description Earn an MBA from UMD on your schedule. New accelerated options at 3 locations.

Banks Are Worried Homeowners Will Do This.

Homeowners are surprised and furious. If you owe less than $625,000 on your home, you better read this.

Traveling to Las Vegas? Find a Hotel!

Traveling can be hectic, but your stay doesn't have to be. Compare rates and find the best hotel deals!

Amazon Prime Video, Wherever You Go

Stream thousands of movies and shows. Watch anywhere, even offline.

Military Mortgage Rates In 2016

Rates as Low as 2.75% (3.028% APR) 15 Year Fixed. Exclusive For Veteran & Military - Takes 1 Min!