As you age, men and women tend to focus on different aspects of their health and appearance. However, when it comes to their hair, most men and women of all ages are able to reach a consensus: they want it to remain healthy, thick, and luxurious for as long as possible.
For most people, hair grows about half an inch per month, which is roughly 6 inches per year. This pattern can change from person to person depending on a variety of internal factors like genetics, age, diet, health; likewise, it can also hinge upon a person’s history of hair treatments such as frequent dyeing, shampoos and pomades that contain sulfates and other chemicals, or repeated exposure to heat through hair straighteners, curlers, and dryers.
Though anyone can change their habits and reduce their use of chemical-filled products and high-heat hair equipment, you can’t turn back time and undo any damage that’s already done. What’s more, you don’t have any control over some internal factors, namely your age and genetic makeup. One of the most common causes of hair loss is alopecia, a genetic condition involving gradual hair thinning and loss that can affect people of all ages. Though many people believe that only men suffer from genetic hair loss or balding, women can be affected just as much by the presence of pattern baldness in their genetic makeup.
However, one thing everyone can control is their diet, which directly provides the nutrients needed to support a healthy head of hair. The best diet for hair growth is one that contains foods high in protein, minerals and nutrients. Paying closer attention to the foods you eat can do more than just improve your overall health and wellness, it can create visible changes in the thickness, length, and shine of your hair.
If you’re wondering what foods you can add to your diet to maintain thick, voluminous hair, look no further. Here are the top 5 foods that can help stimulate hair growth and maintain hair thickness:
- Berries. For healthy hair, proper levels of Vitamin C in your diet are essential, and berries are one of the easiest (and most delicious) ways to pack your diet full of Vitamin C and other antioxidants. Berries can even aid in collagen production, which reduces breakage and brittleness. In order to combat free radicals, which are naturally occurring, yet harmful molecules found in the body that can damage your hair follicles, make sure to add a handful or two of berries into your daily intake as a snack or healthy dessert.
- Fish. Omega-3 fatty acids are not only important for a nutrient-rich diet, they have been linked to improved hair growth in both men and women. One of the primary sources of omega-3s are fatty fish such as mackerel, salmon, and herring, and studies have shown that people who increase their intake of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids see a reduction in hair loss or hair thinning. Besides increasing hair growth, incorporating fish into your diet once or twice a week can also provide important nutrients like protein, vitamin D3, and vitamin B, improving your overall health and preventing any illnesses that could cause hair loss or decreased hair density.
- Eggs. One of the primary nutrients involved with hair health is biotin, which also affects the skin and nails. Biotin helps to produce keratin, a protein that your body uses specifically for hair growth. If your hair is thinning or breaking easily, you may have a biotin deficiency caused by a lack of biotin-rich foods in your diet. In order to reap the most benefits of biotin-rich eggs, add a boiled or poached egg to your regular meals 3 or 4 times per week.
- Sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes contain high levels of beta-carotene, a compound that our bodies convert into vitamin A and subsequently use to grow thick, healthy hair. A single sweet potato can provide enough beta-carotene to produce as much as four times the amount of vitamin A your body needs daily, and vitamin A helps your body to create sebum, the oily substance that keeps hair looking shiny and full.
- Soybeans. There are several compounds found in soybeans that are known to promote hair growth, one of which is spermidine. Spermidine can help to prolong your hair’s active growth period known as anagen phase, which means your hair will have the opportunity to grow even longer than it would naturally. Soybeans are also known to decrease hormonal imbalances, which often contributes to hair loss. Adding around 2 ounces of soy into your diet every week will allow your body to fully utilize the hair growth and health benefits of soybeans.