Do you have thin hair? Is your hair weak and prone to breaking? Is it hard to style because it lacks volume and thickness? Don’t worry, you are not alone! While men only have to worry about hair loss and male pattern baldness, many women have to deal with the stress caused by thin hair.
Thin hair often lacks luster and vitality, and while some women have always had thin hair, some of us find that our hair starts to thin as we get older. As well as age, hair thinning can also be the result of hormonal changes and poor diet. Stress can also lead to thinner hair.
Whether you have had thin hair for your entire life, or you have noticed changes in your hair thickness, there plenty of things you can do to make your hair stronger and thicker. Good quality shampoos and conditioners can help, but that only really treats the symptom of thin hair. If you want to get the heart of the matter, you need to feed your hair from within, and that means eating more of the foods that support hair health and growth.
The six best foods to eat for thicker hair
You are what you eat, or so the saying goes. Everything you eat affects your body at a cellular level. If you want your hair to grow thick and strong, you need to consume more of the nutrients and foods associated with healthy hair growth. The good news is that these foods are readily available, enjoyable to eat, and are good for your general health too.
1. Oily fish
Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, and tuna are loaded with hair healthy omega three fats. These fats are so good for you that they truly deserve their other name – essential fats. Fish is also high in protein – another nutrient vital for hair health.
Eat oily fish every other day to make sure you are getting enough omega three fats in your diet. Grill lightly or steam to preserve the healthy properties of fish. Overcooking and very high temperatures can damage the fats, nullifying some of their benefits. Serve with lots of nutritious vegetables or a big salad to make your meal even healthier.
Not a fish fan? No problem! Eggs contain decent amounts of the same hair healthy fats and are also high in protein, biotin, and many other hair-strengthening compounds too.
2. Beans and legumes
Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart – and good for your hair too! Beans and their legume cousins contain protein and fiber and are a great source of biotin. Biotin is one of the B vitamins and helps keep your hair and nails healthy and strong. That’s why biotin is often added to shampoos and conditioners.
Forget canned beans and beans sold in sugary, flavored sauces – that is not what you need. Instead, buy dried beans, soak them overnight, rinse them, and then cook them until they are tender. Add them to soups and stews or cook them and allow them to cool before adding them to salads. You can also replace meat with beans in some dishes. Good beans for hair thickness include black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, navy beans, white beans, peas, lentils, and soybeans.
3. Nuts and nut butters
Nuts and nut butters contain lots of hair-friendly protein as well as essential fats, zinc, and selenium – two minerals strongly linked to scalp and follicle health. Ideal for on-the-go snacking, nuts and nut butters taste great. Be warned, both nuts and nut butters are very high in calories so make sure you practice proper portion control. To avoid unwanted weight gain, measure out and limit yourself to about 1-2 ounces per day.
The best nuts for hair health are Brazil nuts, almonds, walnuts, and peanuts. If you eat nut butters, make sure you choose products that are made from 100% nuts and do not contain any added sugar or palm oil.
Beer has been used as a hair conditioner for many years. It’s thought to make your hair shinier and healthier. Beer shampoos and conditioners are readily available, and you can easily make your own. But, why waste beer by rubbing it on your head? Why not drink it instead?!
Beer contains a substance called silica, and silica is really good for your hair, scalp and follicle health. A single small beer contains 10 mg of hair-friendly silica which means you don’t need to consume gallons of it to boost hair health.
The good news is that light, low-carb, and alcohol-free beers contain just as much silica as the intoxicating version. That’s good news if you prefer to remain clear-headed or would rather not develop a t-shirt busting beer belly!
5. Collagen protein
Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body and helps make up tendons, ligaments, and your skin. It gives elasticity, strength and flexibility to the connective tissues, including your hair. Unfortunately…
As we age collagen production naturally begins to decrease, but by supporting collagen production, we can keep our hair as healthy, flexible and strong as possible.
There are 3 primary collagen categories, known as types 1, 2, and 3. Type 1 is found primarily in skin, bones, tendons, organs, and blood vessels; commonly found alongside type 3 collagen. Together, these two types make up about 90 percent of the body’s collagen. Type 2 collagen makes up about 60 percent of the protein found in cartilage.
When buying supplements, look for those that list what type of collagen they contain, and tailor your supplements to your needs. Type 1 and 3 are used to support bones, improve nail strength, thicken hair and slow hair loss, minimize lines and wrinkles, and improve skin hydration, suppleness and elasticity. Type 2 is used to support joints, lower back function and stuff knees.
6. Antioxidant-rich berries
Free radicals are molecules with unpaired electrons in their outer shells. These nasty critters can harm virtually every part of your body, not least your hair. They are also responsible for the aging process. We HATE free radicals! Thankfully, we have a defense against these malicious marauders – heroic anti-oxidants.
Anti-oxidants are nutrients that stop free radicals in their tracks. Lots of foods contain these wonderful compounds, but brightly-colored berries are amongst the richest and tastiest way to consume them.
Start your day with a bowl of natural yogurt topped with blueberries, blackberries, or redcurrants for a protein and anti-oxidant rich breakfast that’s good for your hair too.
It doesn’t matter if you have naturally thin hair, or your hair is starting to thin because of age, stress, or diet. Eating these foods can help thicken and strengthen your hair. Most of them are also good for your general health too.