Healthier and fuller hair is something most everyone wants, and there are many ways to improve not only the look of your hair but also how thick and healthy your hair is on an overall basis with some simple health and nutrition tips.
Common problems that lead to hair loss and excessive shedding are easy to avoid when it comes to health and nutrition. And while it is true that genetics do play a small part in how healthy and thick our hair, we also have more control over our hair health than most of us realize.
Prioritizing whole foods is a great place to start when you’re looking to make your hair thicker and fuller, but that’s not the only piece of the puzzle or all you should know about improving the look and health of your hair.
Believe it or not, there are specific foods and nutrients that can help you achieve healthier and fuller hair in no time, along with some simple lifestyle tips that can all help your hair grow thicker and fuller in just one month!
1. Optimize a Clean Diet
Your hair health is largely influenced by how you care for it inside and out, so be sure you’re feeding your hair what it needs by eating a clean diet. This doesn’t mean you need to diet and cut calories; it just means you should feel your plate with lots of nutrient-dense foods.
Clean (whole) foods that are great for your hair include lean sources of protein such as fish, eggs, lentils and beans, whole grains like oats and quinoa, healthy fats like chia, flax and avocado, and ample amounts of fruits and vegetables to supply enough vitamins and minerals to the hair. These foods not only help your hair grow and look healthy, but they also contribute to less breakage and improve the overall thickness of your hair.
2. Pump Up The Protein
There’s no need to load up on meat here, but you should be sure to take in enough high-quality protein throughout the day. Protein in its whole food form contributes to the production of keratin to strengthen hair and boost collagen stores which will help your hair grow faster along with aid in improving the overall appearance of your hair.
Protein also helps your hair grow if you choose high-quality sources such as nonfat (plain) Greek yogurt, wild fish, hemp protein, whole grain oats, eggs and egg whites, whey protein, beans, lentils, peas, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and even tempeh, soy milk and tofu can be good options for vegans. Be sure to take in enough protein for your body weight, which is generally anywhere from 0.75 – 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight in men and women.
One more protein tip: Always go for whole food sources of protein such as those above instead of relying on bars made with lots of oil and processed ingredients or high-fat animal sources such as steak, cheese, and dairy products like butter, full-fat milk, and cream. It’s overall best to eat lean sources of protein and keep heart-healthy sources of fats in your diet versus those high in oil and cholesterol. Good sources of healthy fats include avocado, fish, nuts, seeds, coconut, and whole sources of soy.
3. Check Your B’s
B vitamins are critical to many parts of our health including brain health, metabolism, and yes, even hair health too! B vitamins contribute to the growth and thickness of our hair, and they can even help prevent breakage. Many hair, nail, and skin vitamins contain B vitamins targeted to help hair grow and thrive as do many multivitamins. However, it’s best to get your B vitamins from your food when possible. Why? Because overdosing on B vitamin pills may not be doing you much good in the long-run.
B vitamins are water-soluble meaning they’ll just be excreted from the body if you consume too many of them, so eat B-rich foods first before relying on supplements. Good choices include oats, salmon, soy, quinoa, nutritional yeast, chicken, avocado, Greek yogurt, almonds, chia seeds, broccoli, spirulina, bananas, eggs, and barley.
4. Choose the Right Shampoo and Conditioner
Many shampoos and conditioners can contain alcohol and toxic chemicals that can dry hair out and can lead to breakage. Many products may also use dyes, artificial fragrances, and other toxic chemicals that diminish the appearance of your hair, how it grows, the texture of your hair, and how it thrives over time. Look for a non-toxic hair product that doesn’t contain dyes, perfumes, sulfates, and chlorine. Most vegan and natural shampoos on the market are great choices since they’re made with higher-quality ingredients than commercial (more common) brands are.
It’s also important to select hair products designed for your specific hair type. For instance, if you have dry and brittle hair, you may need to choose hair products with nourishing ingredients that help prevent breakage such as cocoa butter, coconut oil, avocado oil, or argan oil. Choosing the right shampoo and conditioner can make all the difference in helping you achieve healthier and fuller hair in a shorter amount of time.
5. Manage Stress to Drive Down Cortisol
You might not think stress contributes to your hair health, but it actually has a huge impact on your hair. Stress hormones cause the body to release chemicals that can decrease how nutrients are absorbed, and therefore, they can lead to your hair not getting what it needs. Stress can also cause the production of too much cortisol which can lead to hair loss, breakage, or poor growth rate(s).
Manage your stress however you can and take up activities that help calm you down. Favorite stress-reducing exercises among many women include yoga, walking, rebounding, stretching, and lifting weights. And, of course, sleep is also huge when managing your stress levels. Aim to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night without exception. If you need help getting to sleep faster, check out these tips!
6. Watch the Caffeine
Too much caffeine can disrupt normal hormone patterns in the body that leads to excessive cortisol output. This puts the body in a state of stress and can interfere with hair growth. A couple cups of coffee or tea a day are not likely to hurt you, but avoid excessive caffeine intake from pills and energy drinks.
Instead of caffeine, keep your body hydrated with pure water. It will help deliver nutrients to your cells and flush out toxins that interfere with the optimal absorption of nutrients that you need for healthy hair and overall health.
7. Don’t Cut Too Many Carbs
Low-carb diets are all the rage right now, but they’re bad news for your hair, sleep, and overall health. There are substantial benefits behind certain carb-rich foods like oats, quinoa, sweet potatoes, winter squash, and fruit. Many of these benefits include heart health, weight maintenance, satiety at meals, a healthy mood, and yes, hair health too.
When you avoid a food group like carbs, you are telling your body it has to function in a way nature did not design it to do. It has to use muscle cells and fat for fuel which is incredibly taxing to the body, especially the heart and kidneys.
For healthy hair, it’s best to consume a balance of protein, complex carbs, and moderate amounts of healthy fats. This trio is like a secret weapon to healthy hair and will help you achieve healthier and fuller hair in just one month!
8. Eat Enough Iron
Iron helps keep red blood cells functioning properly which is important to hair health and energy levels. You don’t need to eat steak in order to get enough iron (or even meat for that matter), but you do need to make sure you’re getting enough iron through your diet. Iron supplements can pose some heavy metal risks and lead to constipation, so choose some of the following healthy food sources of iron instead:
- Leafy greens
- Green veggies
- Tahini (sesame seed butter)
- Sesame seeds
- Dried Figs
- Fortified whole grain cereals without added sugar
- Seafood (preferably wild-caught)
- Poultry (choose those without antibiotics or hormones)
9. Be Sure to Pair Iron-Rich Foods With Vitamin C
Vitamin C helps the body properly use and absorb iron, and it also helps keep your collagen stores up. Collagen helps boost the look of the hair, skin, and nails. Instead of relying on collagen supplements, just eat plenty of foods that are high in Vitamin C such as:
- All Fruit
- All Vegetables
- All Greens
- Superfoods such as goji berries, camu camu berry, acerola cherry, and mangosteen
A great example of pairing iron-rich foods with Vitamin C-rich foods would be some kale (iron and Vitamin C) tossed with some tahini (iron) and lemon juice (Vitamin C) sprinkled with black pepper and turmeric. Black pepper and turmeric also contain special properties that help with the absorption of iron and Vitamin C!
10. Eat for Your Thyroid
Finally, your thyroid health is crucial to your hair health because thyroid hormones directly influence the look and feel of the hair. Your thyroid health also influences how you feel each day, and a poor functioning thyroid can lead to low energy, hair loss, poor sleep, and a host of other issues that are masked as something else.
Cutting all carbs from your diet can hurt your thyroid, but so can a diet rich in carb-rich foods like sugar, processed foods, and too many sweets overall. Your thyroid needs a balance of complex carbs, protein, and healthy fats from whole foods, and luckily, this balance is also wonderful for helping you achieve healthier and fuller hair at the same time.
It’s also helpful to incorporate thyroid-boosting foods to your diet that are rich in minerals such as selenium and zinc. Selenium is a mineral that is especially important for thyroid health, and many multivitamins don’t contain enough. Add more selenium-rich foods to your diet such as Brazil nuts, egg yolk, and fish. Zinc boosts thyroid function and improves the look of the skin, hair, and nails. Zinc-rich foods include pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, egg yolks, seafood, pecans, sesame seeds (or tahini), and beef.
Finally, coconut is a wonderful food for your thyroid function because the fats in coconut are used in a special way by the body to boost hormone function and energy levels. Incorporate whole food sources like fresh coconut meat, coconut flour, or coconut butter into your routine, and use coconut oil if you desire.
Final Hair Tips:
These 10 health and nutrition tips will help you achieve healthier and fuller hair in no time, but it also can’t hurt to give your locks some extra love when you care for it too. On that note, be sure you brush your hair with a gentle paddle brush made with coated bristles instead of one with harsh bristles that tear down the hair shaft and don’t wash your hair more than once a day at the most. It’s also helpful to avoid over-styling your hair with lots of sprays, gels, and chemical-based products.
Your hair health is in your hands, so make the most of your meals by eating for your hair and watch those locks grow and thrive in no time!
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