Nothing says health (and glamour) quite like a full head of thick, shiny locks but not many of us are blessed at birth with thick hair. In fact, at the moment more of us than ever are looking to amp up our manes with hair loss a common side effect of Covid (Google searches for Covid hair loss have soared in the last 30 days).
There's a long list of food you can eat for thicker hair, as well as hair supplements to restore your main to its former glory, as explained in this extract from Neal’s Yard Remedies Eat Beautiful book.
For thicker hair, eat foods with antioxidant flavonoids to strengthen hair follicles, iron-rich foods to boost red blood cells, and protein- and silica-rich foods to promote hair growth and healthy hair.
This colourful fruit provides the mineral silica, a component of connective tissue that helps to strengthen hair and promote hair growth.
Key nutrients: Silica, vitamins A, B6, and C, folate.
How to eat: Have 2 medium-sized slices of mango as a snack or after a meal.
Foods derived from soy, such as soy beans and tempeh, are thought to inhibit the formation of a hormone called dihydrotestosterone, an imbalance of which is thought to contribute to hair loss.
Key nutrients: Iron, omega-3, vitamin B2, magnesium.
How to eat: Aim for at least one 75g (2½ oz) portion a week.
Full of protein, eggs help to boost collagen production. Collagen surrounds the hair strands, but as we age collagen breaks down more, which makes hair more vulnerable to breaking.
Key nutrients: Vitamins A and D, carotenes, lutein, zinc, protein.
How to eat: Enjoy a boiled or poached egg 4 times a week.
Certain nutrients in kelp, such as iron and the amino acid l-lysine, directly affect hair growth. Iron ensures healthy red blood cell production. L-lysine facilitates iron absorption, and a deficiency in both can impact hair loss.
Key nutrients: Iron, L-lysine, zinc, vitamins B2 and B5, folate, magnesium.
How to eat: Have 10g daily to reach your nutrient quota or try a kelp supplement.
Figs are a great source of iron, essential for healthy hair growth and shiny locks. Other good sources include dried fruits and berries.
Key nutrients: Iron, potassium, magnesium, vitamins A and E.
How to eat: Eat 2 figs a day.
High in omega-3, these help nourish hair and prevent it from drying out and becoming weak and easily broken.
Key nutrients: Omega-3, vitamin B1, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium.
How to eat: Eat up to 1 tbsp a day, either as a snack or sprinkled over meals.
These protein-rich seeds provide zinc, which supports cellular reproduction and enhances immunity, in turn promoting hair growth.
Key nutrients: Zinc, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, protein.
How to eat: Eat up to 1 tbsp a day. Combine with fl axseeds for a nutritious mix.
Naturally high in collagen-boosting vitamin C, berries aid iron absorption. Vitamin C boosts scalp circulation, and its antioxidant action protects follicles from free-radical damage.
Key nutrients: Vitamin C, potassium.
How to eat: Have a handful each day.
Creamy avocados supply vitamin E, which increases oxygen uptake, improving circulation to the scalp to promote healthy hair growth.
Key nutrients: Vitamin E, potassium, omega-9, B-vitamins, folic acid.
How to eat: Eat 1 medium avocado 2–4 times a week.
Greens such as Swiss chard, watercress, spinach, and cabbage, promote keratin, a hair protein that strengthens the follicles.
Key nutrients: Vitamins A, C, and K, B vitamins, potassium, folate.
How to eat: Eat 100g (3½ oz) portion of leafy greens daily in a salad or a meal.