Ladies, you are what you eat—all the way from the tips of your toes to the hairs on your head. Just like you can’t expect to have killer abs on a steady diet of greasy take-out, you can’t boast silky strands without watching what’s on your plate. While other factors like smoking, stress, a hormonal imbalance or lack of exercise can all affect your crowning glory, making sure that you eat right can play a pretty big part in your mane’s overall health. Keep your hair happy by reaching for these foods and vitamins more often:
Pump Up the Iron
When it comes to maintaining full and lustrous locks, nothing’s more key than eating enough of this hair-building mineral. Iron deficiency doesn’t only lead to dry, lackluster strands, it could also leave you with a lot less of them (read: hair loss). Keep things growing by noshing on animal proteins like beef, chicken, shrimp, oysters and turkey, or iron-rich vegetarian options like lentils, soybeans, spinach, kale and broccoli.
Go For Lean Protein
Protein, like iron, is one of the main building blocks of your hair, so it makes sense that upping your intake of high protein lean meats like chicken and fish, along with eggs, nuts, cottage cheese, beans and legumes will help boost the strength and health of your mane. Aim to get two to three servings a day to get the best results.
Eat Your Antioxidants
Think of antioxidants as the fountain of youth when it comes to your locks. Super-powered vitamins and minerals—like vitamins C, E and beta-carotene—work to prevent damage, premature aging, greying and thinning. To help stop the clock, load up on fruits and veggies like oranges, cantaloupe, blueberries, kiwis, strawberries, kale, carrots, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, yams and squash. Get your fill with five to six servings daily.
Snack on Hair-Friendly Fats
Severely slashing calories and fats from your diet is never the healthiest route for your body, or your hair. Good-for-you oils and fats, including omega-3—found in mackerel, salmon, herring, trout, avocado, flaxseed, walnuts and pumpkin seeds—help to drastically improve the condition of both your mane and scalp. Healthy fats = shiny, happy hair.
Don’t Forget Your B Vitamins
B-complex vitamins, like B6, B12 and biotin, work together to reduce shedding, slow the greying of your strands and have been said to promote faster growth. Find these mane-boosting nutrients in enriched grains, tuna, bananas, grapefruit, peanuts, asparagus, swiss chard, skim milk, eggs and greek yogurt.