The Food and Nutrients You Need to To Make Your Hair Strong and Grow Faster
Do you want long, shiny hair, and wish there was a way to make your hair grow faster?
There is unfortunately no “over-night” solution to grow waist long hair, but if your hair grows very slowly or if it looks dull and lifeless, a poor diet could be the culprit.
The best way to promote hair growth and restore shine and glow to lifeless, brittle hair is usually coming from the inside out.
A mix of vitamins, minerals, protein and healthy fats are what you need for strong, shiny and healthy hair. And unless you have any health issue, you can get most of the nutrients your hair needs from a healthy, balanced diet.
Here below is a list of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients you want to make sure you get enough of, since they are all essential for hair growth and healthy, shiny hair.
12 Top Vitamins, Minerals and Nutrients For Shiny, Healthy Hair and Hair Growth
1) Biotin (B7):
Biotin, also known as vitamin B7 (or vitamin H for hair!), is perhaps the most well-known vitamin to promote healthy hair and strength. It can increase hair elasticity by strengthening the hair follicle.
Biotin helps your system to produce natural keratin, the protein that makes up your hair, skin and nails. The most effective way to boost biotin in your system is to eat foods that are biotin-rich, such as meats, egg, nuts and whole grains.
Most people are not deficient in biotin, some medical conditions may cause deficiency though. So if you’re deficient in biotin (or B vitamins) and experience thinning hair, a supplement with biotin may benefit you.
Since vitamin B is water-soluble it should be safe for most people, but to be on the safe side, you should always check with your doctor before taking any supplements.
If you want stronger and fuller hair, try topical biotin that you apply directly on your hair. Topical biotin strengthens the surface of the hair strands and adds fullness.
2) Niacin (B3) and Niacinamide (NAD+):
Niacin is vital to hair growth, because it improves blood circulation and brings oxygen to the hair follicle. Poor blood circulation is a major factor in hair thinning and hair loss.
Niacinamide, a form of B3 (niacin), enhances the feel of the hair and can improve texture or damaged hair by helping to build keratin.
Niacin can also improve the skin on the scalp if it’s dry or flaking since it increases the production of ceramides (the lipids in your skin that retain water).
Niacin – and niacinamide are readily available in a number of foods like yeast, meat, fish, milk, eggs, nuts, green veggies, beans, and refined grain.
To specifically improve the look, strength and growth of your hair, go for a topical treatment with niacinamide. You can also buy a serum or an oil with niacinamide, and massage it into your scalp daily.
3) Vitamin C
Vitamin C helps the body to create collagen, a protein that’s an important part of the hair structure.
It also helps prevent hair from aging, since it’s a powerful antioxidant that protects against oxidative stress and free radicals. Free radicals can block hair growth.
Moreover, vitamin C helps your body to absorb iron, a mineral necessary for hair growth.
Good food sources of vitamin C are oranges, lemons, kiwis, strawberries, peppers and tomatoes.
4) Vitamin A
Vitamin A has positive effects on the hair since it helps the scalp to produce a healthy sebum to nourish and protect the hair.
It also strengthens the hair and reduces breakage. However, too much of vitamin A can cause hair loss. Therefore, you have to be careful if you take supplements with vitamin A.
Carrots, mango, spinach, eggs, cheese and milk are food with high amount of vitamin A.
Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin. This means, it can be stored in your body and therefore you have to be careful not to get too much of it since that can be harmful and cause negative health effects.
Most people get enough vitamin A from food. If you eat a fairly well-balanced diet, you likely don’t need to supplement to have enough of this vitamin.
5) Vitamin E
Vitamin E is known for its hair and skin boosting properties. It can help improve overall scalp and hair health. Additionally, it improves blood flow, which encourages hair growth.
Good food sources for vitamin E are sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach and avocados. Most people get enough vitamin E from food, and do not need to supplement.
Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin, so it can be stored in your body, so be careful not to get too much of it since that can be harmful.
However, vitamin E in a topical oil can be very beneficial for your hair and scalp. If your scalp is dry or flaking, massage the oil onto your scalp. An oil treatment with vitamin E is also beneficial for dull and frizzy hair.
The oil helps to moisturize the scalp and brings back the shine to your hair. But dilute the oil first, if it’s not already mixed with a carrier (another oil). You can also use an oil rich in vitamin E, e.g. avocado oil.
Moreover, you can add a few drops of vitamin E oil to your shampoo or hair mask to give your hair an extra shine and antioxidant boost.
6) Vitamin D
Vitamin D stimulates hair follicles to grow. Deficiency in Vitamin D may cause hair loss and may be linked to the autoimmune condition alopecia areata, that causes patchy hair loss.
Make sure you get enough vitamin D, since it supports hair growth and regrowth. The best source to get vitamin D is from the sun!
Foods rich in D-vitamins are: avocado, eggs, salmon, nuts, milk and cheese.
Many people are actually deficient in this vitamin, especially during the winter. To know for sure, you need to take a blood test to check this, and consult with your doctor about supplementation.
Iron is an important mineral, also for your hair and hair growth. It helps red blood cells to transport oxygen to your cells – and to your hair follicles. Moreover, it helps your body to use protein to grow and build strong hair.
Deficiency in iron is a major cause of thinning hair and hair loss.
Good food sources of iron are e.g. red meat, liver, spinach, lentils, eggs, clams and oysters, prunes, figs and dried apricots.
The mineral zinc is known for its repairing and healing properties. Thus it helps hair tissue to repair and it keeps the oil glands around the hair follicles working properly.
Additionally, your stem cells need zinc to build keratin and your body needs zinc to make collagen.
If you know you’re deficient in zinc, it’s worth taking a zinc supplement – but not too much since too high doses of zinc can also contribute to hair loss!
Foods high in zinc are e.g. beef, lamb, egg yolks, lentils, spinach, shellfish, oysters, soy products, chickpeas and pumpkin seeds.
Silica is a combination of silicon and oxygen. It’s a trace mineral and an essential nutrient for the hair and skin. It helps to retain elasticity and to repair damaged tissues and follicles.
Silica improves blood circulation and stimulates the blood flow to your scalp, thereby it encourages hair growth.
It’s also a necessary component of the skin’s connective tissues, and helps to strengthen and restore your hair, nails and bones.
Moreover, silica is one of the most important components of collagen.
You can get silica from seafood, leafy greens, root vegetables, almonds, seeds, whole grain, horsetail and beer.
The richest source is young bamboo shoots or a bamboo extract supplement.
Sulfur is one of the most abundant minerals in the body, after calcium and phosphorus. It’s i.a. needed in your body to synthesize proteins and enzymes.
Hair is approx. 88% composed of a protein called keratin, and keratin has a very high sulfur content. It helps to maintain the shape of your hair and it also contributes to the strength, elasticity and overall health of your hair.
Adding more sulfur to your diet (or supplementing) can lengthen the growing phase of your hair, if you want your hair to grow longer.
Moreover, sulfur can help treating and relieving certain skin and scalp issues, like psoriasis, eczema and dandruff.
Garlic and onion are rich sources of sulfur. Other food sources are: eggs, fish, meat, asparagus, Brussel sprouts, kale and legumes.
You can take a supplement like MSM (a sulfur supplement) or buy sulfur powder and mix your own hair growth products.
11) Protein and Amino Acids
Protein is super important for your hair and hair growth since hair is made almost entirely of the protein keratin.
Keratin on the other hand is built up by 18 amino acids, therefore amino acids are necessary for your body to build keratin.
The perhaps most important amino acid for hair growth is Cysteine. Therefore, supplementation of Cysteine may promote hair growth.
Arginine, another amino acid, has also a phenomenal effect on hair growth. It’s a precursor of nitric oxide and regulates the level of nitrogen oxide in your body.
Glycine and Lysine are other important amino acids for your hair, since they help building blocks of collagen.
Important food sources for protein and amino acids are: meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, peas, nuts, seeds, dairy products and soy.
12) Omega-3 fats
Essential fatty acids like Omega-3 fats are really important for your health and well-being – and also for your hair.
People with low fat diets have often problem with hair breaking and hair falling out. Therefore, you want to make sure your diet consists of a certain amount of healthy fats.
Add fatty fish, shrimps, krill, walnuts and flaxseed to your meals. That will help make your hair strong and shiny.
You can also take an Omega-3 supplement, since many people are deficient in this nutrient.
This is important to know though to get high quality Omega-3 supplements:
What about hair supplements: Do they work and do you need them?
In general, you can see fast results with hair supplements in individuals who are deficient in certain nutrients. If you eat a healthy, balanced diet, then you probably get all nutrients your hair needs.
However, today’s hectic life with dieting, poor nutrition, hormonal imbalance and intense stress, make a lot of people deficient in one or more nutrients. Because if anything goes wrong in your body, hair growth is one of the first things your body stops working on.
If you’re e.g. sick or super stressed and you can’t eat properly, then your body will shut down your hair growth first and redirect nutrients away from your hair follicles to use for tasks in organs that need it most.
It makes sense from your body’s point of view. Your body puts the energy towards tasks that keep you alive. But it’s devastating for your hair, because this slows down your hair’s metabolism even more.
So if your hair grows slowly or if it’s dull and lifeless, it could be a sign of a nutrient deficiency. And then, taking a hair supplement could be very beneficial for your hair growth and overall hair quality and structure.
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And if you have any tips about how to grow strong and long hair – please share what you’ve tried and your results in the comments here below – or send me a message => Natural & Toxinfree Thanks!
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