Certain foods support scalp tissue, glands and prolific hair follicles. Doctors at the Mayo Clinic stress that an overall balanced diet will promote physical fitness, of which good-looking, healthy hair is an indication.
The cellular makeup of human hair is based on proteins that are synthesized from food proteins you ingest. Meat and fish protein help produce great hair. Find complete protein in pork, turkey, beef, lamb, chicken, fish, crustaceans and mollusks. Eggs and low-fat dairy products are “meatless” healthy foods for hair.
Vegetarians who have a hard time growing thick, healthy hair should concentrate on achieving complete protein nutrition, which may be minimal in their diets. To this end, eat a variety of combinations of high-protein cooked pinto, kidney, black, navy and great Northern beans, soybean products and whole grains.
Vitamin A and C foods support connective tissue for a strong scalp and immune response for healing fissures from scratches and dry skin. Healthy foods for great hair in this category include milk, cheese and yogurt, red peppers and orange juice.
Several B vitamins aid scalp condition for healthy hair. Enriched bran cereals may contain several B vitamins as well as vitamins A and C. Carrots, spinach, red peppers and cantaloupe have them all in varying concentrations as well.
Great hair thrives on zinc, which supports immunity and protein synthesis. High-zinc contributors include oysters, some enriched whole-grain cereals, crab, turkey, lamb, beef and chicken. Eggs, milk and cheese are healthy food sources of zinc, and the spinach has significant zinc content as well.
The mineral selenium is thought to have a similar effect as zinc. Good selenium choices are Brazil nuts, canned tuna and most meats.
Omega-3 fatty acids support the scalp’s sebaceous glands. These produce oil to keep the scalp hydrated, thus preventing dandruff and promoting healthy hair. Get your omega-3s from foods such as salmon, spinach, almonds, flaxseed and tofu. Other sources of these beneficial fats are sardines, shrimp, cod, halibut and red snapper. Chickens that have been fed a diet that includes omega-3's produce eggs rich in this fatty acid. Vegetable sources include green beans and orange squash.