The “lather, rinse, repeat” process is a standard staple in most everyone’s daily routine. But sometimes this basic shampoo-conditioner combo isn’t enough to keep strands shiny and soft. In the same way your skin must be nourished to remain clear and glowy, your hair needs to be nurtured to look its best as well. After researching acne fighting foods a little while ago, I got to thinking about applying this idea to your tresses too. I came up with a healthy (and delicious) list of 10 foods that will help you achieve happy, healthy, heavenly hair. Incorporate these eats into your daily diet and get ready to say goodbye to dull, drab strands…

  1. Fruits and dark green veggies. It should be no surprise that this section of the food pyramid made the cut. Fruits and veggies are one of the best things you can incorporate into your diet for overall health. In terms of your hair, leafy green vegetables like spinach and broccoli are an excellent source of vitamins and they provide you with iron and calcium. Fruits high in vitamin C and A help your body to produce sebum. (Sebum is an oily substance in your hair follicles that acts as a natural conditioner.) Strawberries, oranges and grapefruits are the best vitamin booster fruits for hair.
  2. Foods with omega-3 fatty acids. If you’re having déjà vu, you may be remembering this category in my Tuesday Ten list for healthy skin. Omega-3 fatty acids are a powerhouse when it comes to giving you a good glow. Munch on flaxseeds and walnuts to add some serious shine to your hair, and choose fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, and herring to amp up your omega intake as well.
  3. Foods that produce beta-carotene. Carrots, sweet potatoes, kale, asparagus and pumpkin are all foods that convert beta-carotene to vitamin A during digestion. (Amazing what the body can do, isn’t it?) Vitamin A not only nourishes your hair and skin, it also prevents dandruff. Carrots in particular are great for promoting a healthy scalp, which is essential for keeping your hair soft and supple. (I’ve been told that healthy hair starts at the scalp.)
  4. Beans. Legumes like kidney beans and lentils provide growth-boosting proteins that will increase the thickness and length of your hair. Beans also have iron, zinc, and biotin, which prevent hair breakage. Researching some healthy fall soups to cook up is a great way to incorporate beans into your diet.
  5. Foods rich in cysteine. This amino acid is known to give your body a healthy detox and promote hair growth by actually increasing the thickness of each individual strand. This miracle worker can be found in poultry, eggs, red peppers, garlic, onions, Brussels spouts, yogurt, oatmeal, and broccoli. Yum!
  6. Nuts. Brazil nuts, which are one of the best sources of selenium, have minerals that keep your scalp and hair healthy. Walnuts, cashews, pecans, and almonds fall under this healthy hair category as well. They all have zinc, which can help prevent hair shedding. Keep these snacks around for mid-day munchies…and watch your hair go nuts (in a good way).
  7. Whole grains. This category is another heavy hitter when it comes to providing your body with a daily dose of zinc and iron. Whole wheat bread and healthy, fortified cereals also give your body B vitamins, which promote happy strands by boosting your red blood cell count. Red blood cells will carry oxygen to the living portion of hair strands and therefore increase your hair’s growth rate. (Crazy what you can learn online these days. To see my sources, check the fine print at the bottom of this post.)
  8. Oysters. This shellfish regulates the production of androgens, a hormone that, when levels are low, is associated with hair loss…so eat up! Oysters also contain our friend zinc, a powerful antioxidant that supports the growth of strong, think hair. Indulge in a couple oysters with a little squeeze of lemon and a dollop of hot sauce for a delicious hors d’oeuvres snack that will give you sleek, shiny strands. How luxurious…
  9. Low fat dairy. Calcium is a very important mineral for hair growth and it can be found in low fat dairy products. Options like skim milk and yogurt not only contain this mineral, they also contain whey and casein, two major protein sources. Kick your calcium and vitamin C levels up a notch by mixing fresh cut strawberries into a cup of Greek yogurt.
  10. Foods that contain silica. Including foods rich in silica into your diet can help make your hair stronger and more durable. Some healthy options for this category include bananas, oats, and raisins–the perfect combination to top off your Overnight Oats with, if you ask me.

You might notice that most of these healthy hair staples overlap with foods on my acne fighting foods list. That’s because they essentially have the same glow-enhancing properties that make both your skin and your hair happy campers. They’re also great go-to items to include on your grocery list. Plus they are easy to incorporate into delicious recipes. Healthy skin, healthy hair, and a healthy lifestyle are all huge priorities in my life. So for me, eating these heavenly hair foods is certainly a must.

Which healthy hair food is your favorite? Personally, I’m excited to try my newfound silica-rich oatmeal recipe. If you have a healthy hair recipe, share it in the comments below.

XO Lauren

You might also like…
Beauty Faux Pas: How to Fix a Bad Fake Tan
Tuesday Ten: My Summer Beauty Secrets
Primp Tip: The Smart Girl’s Guide to Shaving
Tuesday Ten: Acne Fighting Foods

Sources: Huffington Post, US News, Web MD, eHow, Livestrong