When we feel like our hair just won’t grow fast enough or we’re concerned about its health, most of us immediately turn to the latest products to improve our less-than-luscious locks. While many professional products are nothing short of magical, there’s something even more important than what you put on your hair. It’s what you put in your hair. What have you eaten for your hair lately? Here are 10 foods that can actually improve your hair.
Almonds are a health-food staple, but did you know all those healthy fats found in almonds also provide for gorgeous hair shine? In addition, they contain magnesium and vitamin D to help strengthen hair and help guard against breakage.
Avocados are full of alpha-tocopherol, an antioxidant that fights free radicals that can dull and stress hair. They also contain copper, which helps to build elastin and collagen in the body, especially in the skin (which supports hair follicles).
These little guys are chock-full of vitamins A, C, and E, which increase collagen stimulation and oxygenation essential for hair growth.
An unlikely benefactor for hair, cinnamon actually stimulates blood flow, a necessary revivalist for hair growth.
While many people use coconut oil products, eating coconut has benefits for your hair as well. Coconut is loaded with healthy fats, minerals, and vitamins that strengthen hair and add luxurious shine.
6. Dark Chocolate
Do we really need more reasons to eat chocolate? It contains copper, zinc, and iron—all minerals essential for shiny hair. Plus, chocolate is a stimulant that increases blood flow vital for hair growth. Fair warning: unfortunately, the added sugar found in most chocolate can make hair dry, so stick to raw and dark varieties.
Biotin, collagen, protein, sulfur, amino acids, iron, zinc, and beta-carotene are all included in these powerhouses. Hair strength, shine, growth, and scalp health are just a few of the positive side effects.
8. Pumpkin Seeds
These tiny seeds pack a big punch. Rich in biotin, zinc, and omega-3s, as well as vitamins A, E, and K, pumpkin seeds also contain linoleic and oleic acid, which impact androgen levels in the body. (Androgen is believed to be a primary cause of hair loss.) If that isn’t enough, pumpkin seeds also contain cucurbitin, an amino acid that affects hair growth.
9. Cooked Spinach
Admittedly, Popeye didn’t have much hair, but spinach can actually help boost hair volume. Iron deficiency can cause hair loss, and just one cup of cooked spinach packs 6.5 milligrams of iron. Pro tip: cooking spinach unlocks some of its natural iron absorption inhibitors, so make sure to cook it up for maximum benefits.
10. Sweet Potatoes
Who knew there was a food to help with dandruff? Sweet potatoes are packed with beta-carotene, which our bodies convert into vitamin A. Beta-carotene is also the vitamin that stimulates essential (and appearance enhancing) cell regeneration. Win-win!
This article originally appeared in AHP Beauty Sense, a digital magazine written entirely by hair professionals for consumers.