Of course you care how your hair looks. Who doesn’t? Ever since humans emerged from caves, we’ve used our hair to broadcast two messages: “I’m healthy and powerful,” and “Hello, honey, how about it?” Some politicians get elected just because of their healthy hair.
What you feed your body also feeds each of the 150,000 hair follicles on your head. Try these 8 top foods for healthy hair that tells everyone you’re as young as you feel — or even younger:
Green tea, walnuts, and salmon. The polyphenols and omega-3s in these foods are good for more than your heart and brain. They also help make your hair shiny. (If you’re fighting dandruff, try rinsing with green tea. It helps prevent dandruff-causing fungus.)
Fruit. Brightly colored fruit, such as peaches, strawberries, mango, kiwi, and tomatoes (yep, they’re a fruit!) are rich in vitamin C, which is essential for making collagen that gives structure to hair. Vitamin C firms skin, too.
Beans, whole grains, and other healthful B-rich foods. B vitamins (especially vitamin B6 and folic acid) ensure a good supply of blood and oxygen to your hair follicles, which encourages growth and may slow hair loss. Other B-rich foods include beans, peas, carrots, cauliflower, soybeans, nuts, and eggs.
Dark green veggies. Think spinach, broccoli, and Swiss chard. They’re great sources of vitamins A and C, which help produce sebum, the scalp oil that’s a natural hair conditioner.
Dark sesame seeds. The Chinese swear this keeps a man’s hair darker longer.
Say yes to avocados. Avocados and avocado oil may prevent dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which kills hair follicles, from getting where it needs to go.
What food should you skip for healthy hair? Pass on animal fat (the kind in red meat), especially if you’re losing hair. Animal fat can lead to more DHT production and hair-follicle damage. DHT shrinks hair follicles in men who are genetically predisposed to hair loss.
Nourish healthy hair with these delicious recipes from EatingWell:
Eating a diverse diet that includes 4 servings of fruit per day can make your RealAge as much as 6.1 years younger if you’re a woman and 4.4 years younger if you’re a man.
By Mehmet C. Oz, MD, and Michael F. Roizen, MD