About 50% of women experience noticeable hair loss throughout their lives. Another 30 million American women suffer from female-patterned hair loss. Women with thinning hair often try supplements or treatments to restore their locks — but many of these options are costly, with mediocre results. Healthy eating habits are often the best medicine to improve overall health. Vitamins and nutrients can stimulate hair growth, strength and shine. If you want your thick, shiny hair back, you should look at what you’re missing during mealtimes.
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5 Foods for Hair Growth and Thickness
Women typically regard their manes as an essential part of their identity. That’s why hair loss often feels so traumatic. Thankfully, eating these five foods every day can build healthier shiny hair.
Mangos are the perfect follicle food for hair growth. They contain silica — often called the “beauty mineral” — that helps strengthen and lengthen hair strands. They also include high amounts of antioxidants and vitamins A, B6 and C, folate and potassium. Eat two medium slices as a snack between meals. A bowl of mango makes the perfect after-dinner dessert, as well.
One egg contains 6-8 grams of protein and helps increase collagen production. Collagen tends to break down the older we get — and our strands need plenty to prevent breakage. Try different omelet recipes about four days a week to promote hair growth. You might even include spinach, peppers and onions for enhanced flavor.
3. Flax Seeds
Omega-3s have many health benefits, including nourishing your hair. Studies show that dietary omega-3 helps stimulate the hair growth cycle. Fish is renowned for high levels of this nutrient, but flax seeds are another excellent source. Just one tablespoon of flax seeds a day is needed to reap the benefits. Sprinkle them over yogurt or oatmeal in the morning. You can also blend them into a smoothie if you’d prefer.
Oxidative stress makes repairing bodily damage difficult, including hair follicles. Thankfully, vitamin E boosts scalp circulation to encourage restoration. Avocado is another effective follicle food for hair growth. Eat one medium avocado at least twice a week for maximum benefits. Cut it up into salsa over chicken or a salad. You might even make homemade guacamole with it.
5. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens are keratin-rich foods for hair growth and thickness. They are packed with essential nutrients — vitamins A, C, B and K, potassium and folate — that result in stunning strands. Make a salad with kale, watercress, spinach and cabbage for a light lunch. You can also sauté Swiss chard as a side dish for a meal. Kale is particularly keratin-producing and helps strengthen hair follicles.
Combatting Stress and Hair Loss
Stress can also lead to significant hair loss. The brain recognizes prolonged illnesses, injuries, surgeries or dramatic weight loss as traumatic events. Crash dieting and starvation also cause hair to fall out. However, the proper intake of fruits, vegetables, protein and grains can help counteract this.
Of course, stress may also be a precursor to severe mental health conditions and substance abuse. It’s important not to fall into the addiction trap, as several drugs weaken strands and inhibit growth. For example, studies have shown how marijuana suppresses the endocrine system, which could cause hair loss.
You can reduce your risk for depression and severe side effects of polysubstance misuse disorders when you find healthy ways to relax.
Hair-enhancing foods can also help lower stress levels. The omega-3s in flaxseed and avocados are most effective at reducing anxiety symptoms. Vitamin B6 in mangos also improves mental health conditions and quality of life.
Try New Recipes to Promote Hair Growth and Shine
Healthy shiny hair begin at home in the kitchen. Use these five hair-enhancing foods to try new recipes to promote hair growth and thickness. Cooking can be a relaxing activity, as well. The combination of healthy follicle foods and less stress will give you the beautiful strands you’ve been missing.
Beth is the content manager and Managing Editor at Body+Mind. She is passionate about writing about beauty, fashion, parenting, diet and fitness. In her spare time, Beth enjoys trying out new recipes and going for runs with her dog.