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What Are the Best Foods for Thick Hair?

By Megan Shoop
Updated May 17, 2024
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Many nutritionists agree that most bodily functions are affected by diet in one way or another. Hair is no exception to this rule. Vitamins and nutrients reaped from protein and iron-rich foods as well as zinc, vitamin C, and omega-3 fatty acids not only help internal organs function, they help improve the texture and luster of hair. Those suffering from premature hair loss, thin locks, or dull hair may be able to make their hair thick and shiny again with the right additions to their diet.

One of the most important categories of foods for thick hair features protein. In addition to providing energy for cell reproduction and muscle growth, protein nourishes hair follicles. Hair is made mainly of keratin, a hard protein that also forms the fingernails. Plenty of protein usually equals plenty of keratin, which improves brittle hair and may reduce the occurrence of split ends. Protein-rich foods include red meats, poultry, fish, eggs, legumes, and most dairy products.

Iron is another chief ingredient for thick, healthy hair growth. Many protein-rich foods also contain iron, making these foods for thick hair doubly important. Consuming a healthy dose of iron each day may help increase the blood flow to hair follicles, stimulating growth and helping hair thrive. Dark greens, like kale and spinach, egg yolks, grains like oats and lentils, and dried fruits are all iron-rich.

Vitamin C packs a double-whammy when it comes to foods for thick hair. Not only does it help the body produce collagen, an essential substance for growing strong, shiny hair, it also helps the body absorb and process iron. Some iron-rich foods also contain vitamin C, but others must be paired with foods plentiful in vitamin C. Kale and other dark greens already contain this perfect combo. Foods containing vitamin C — but little iron — include strawberries, citrus fruits, papaya, broccoli, and pineapple.

Omega-3 fatty acids and zinc are also important ingredients when consuming foods for thick hair. Zinc aids cell repair, stimulates the glands in hair follicles, and may help regulate hormones related to hair growth. While humans don’t generally require a lot of zinc, eating foods containing this mineral may help balance internal problems contributing to hair loss. Beans, nuts, oysters, peanut butter, and lean meats all contain zinc.

Salmon, herring, mackerel, flaxseed, nuts, and most dairy products contain the omega-3 fatty acids necessary foods for thick hair. These fats not only protect the heart and help the organs function, they also promote shiny, healthy hair. Those with dry skin, especially on the scalp, may want to increase their intake of seafood and fat-rich nuts. These fats nourish both the hair follicles and the skin surrounding them.

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