Every hair company claims their product is the absolute best for healthier, stronger, shinier hair. But all hair companies seem to forget that topical hair products are only half the answer. Diet and nutrition play a key role in growing and maintaining long and healthy hair. So, how do you know what your hair needs in order to thrive? Well, first, you must understand the structure and composition of your hair.
Hair grows out of the follicles in the deeper dermis layer of the skin known as the hair bulb. The hair bulb is nourished by blood flow providing nutrients to the hair shaft. These nutrients include vitamins, minerals, and proteins. The shaft is surrounded by sebaceous glands that produce sebum which provides hair with a natural lubricant.
So, what nutrients does our hair need in order to flourish? Let’s look at 10 properties in our hair strands that are vital to healthy hair.
Protein- hair consists of 95% keratin. About 18 amino acids can be found in the hair strand and as we have previously learned, amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Thus, amino acids build keratin and collagen found in our hair, skin, and nails.
Vitamin C- is key to helping your body create collagen. It helps the body absorb iron and has antioxidant properties that protect the hair follicles from oxidative stress caused by free radicals.
Biotin- is one of the B-vitamins that help hair grow and improve strength. Biotin helps create red blood cells which carry oxygen and nutrients to the scalp and hair follicles aiding in keeping the hair nourished and fighting against damage.
Iron- is necessary for producing red blood cells to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the hair follicles supports hair health. Hair follicle cells are particularly sensitive to low levels of iron which prevents new cell growth.
Niacin-or Vitamin B3 is essential to improving blood circulation to the scalp. Without enough niacin, the hair follicle cannot produce hair. It also reduces scalp inflammation and hair loss and rebuilds keratin.
Vitamin A- all cells need vitamin A for growth including the hair. It also helps skin glands make sebum which naturally moisturizes the scalp and hair strand.
Vitamin D- helps create new hair follicles. Vitamin D deficiency causes alopecia, thinning hair, and female pattern baldness.
Vitamin E- is a powerful antioxidant that boosts hair growth, protects hair from oxidative stress, UV, and DNA damage.
Zinc- helps the oil glands around the hair follicles work properly and prevents zinc related hair loss such as alopecia areata.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids- are essential fatty acids that are key for healthy hair and hair regrowth. It naturally lubricates and protects our strands from damage.
Foods for hair growth
Watermelon- contains one of the highest water content in fruit. Watermelon is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, and B complex which boosts keratin production. The real winner here is not just the watermelon but its seeds.
Watermelon seeds- are highly nutritious. Watermelon seeds should be peeled before eating and chewed to receive the most nutrients. 100g of watermelon seeds contains magnesium (139%), manganese (87%), phosphorus (82%), zinc, vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and amino acids.
About 18 different amino acids are found in the keratin in our hair. Watermelon seeds contain 60% of the daily requirement of amino acids in 1 cup of seeds including the 5 best amino acids for hair growth: cysteine, methionine, arginine, cystine, tyrosine. One of the most important is arginine. Arginine is essential in helping the blood vessels relax, increasing blood flow and oxygen to the scalp. Additionally, watermelon seed oil is great for penetrating and nourishing the hair shaft with rich fatty acids.
Chickpeas- (garbanzo beans) and black eye peas have the highest iron content in the bean family. They provide a rich source of protein and amino acids-arginine, glutamic acid, aspartic acid, folate, iron, copper, and manganese. These vitamins and nutrients are key to strengthening the hair and aiding in the formation and structure of the hair strand.
Guava- packs four times more vitamin C than oranges. Vitamin C is important in boosting collagen production which helps promote faster hair growth. Additionally, vitamin C is a rich antioxidant that combats oxidative stress from the environment and DNA damage which can destroy our cells. Guava leaves can also be used as a hair rinse to prevent hair fall.
For the remaining 9 foods please download the Foods for Hair Growth PDF. I list a total of 12 foods to eat that are unique and not easily found by a quick google search. Download here! Let’s all grow long and healthy hair. Leave a comment below of some of your favorite foods to eat for hair growth.
Learn more on my video