The growth and condition of the hair is closely related to overall health and well-being, which is, in turn, largely dependent on good nutrition. The body needs a well-balanced supply of vitamins, minerals, proteins and other nutrients to maintain optimal health. While many of these nutrients contribute to the hair growing process, certain minerals are of particular importance in hair growth. However, it is important to keep in mind that it is possible to overdose on many minerals, and doing so can have health consequences, so be sure to avoid mega dose supplements.
A diet rich in iron can help maximize the growth potential of your hair. Iron is a mineral that is essential to a variety of body processes, according to Linus Pauling Micronutrient Center, an component in hundreds of proteins and and essential element in metabolism. Iron is essential to the circulation system, responsible for the transportation of oxygen to cells throughout the body, including the scalp and hair follicles, and a deficiency may lead to brittle hair and hair loss, according to the American Society of Hematology. Foods like liver, dried beans, red meats, eggs, poultry and whole grains are rich sources of iron.
Silica, also called silicon, is an essential mineral for a number of body processes, including, according to the Mineral Information Institute, the growth of hair, skin and fingernails. Sources of silica include whole grain breads, beets, bell peppers, raisins, almonds, peanuts, peas and beans.
Selenium is a trace mineral that is necessary to the human body in very small amounts, but is essential to a number of important processes. Among these is the metabolism of some proteins, according to Linus Pauling Micronutrient Information Center. Proper protein metabolism is vital to the hair growth process, since hair is made mostly of protein. On the other hand, too much selenium can cause brittle hair and hair loss. The recommended intake of selenium is 55 micrograms per day. Rich sources of selenium include brown rice, whole grains, brazil nuts, liver and seafood.
Zinc has been recognized as an essential trace mineral for humans for years, and is involved in over two hundred different reactions within the body, according to a report from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Among the many roles of this mineral is its contribution to healthy hair. A study in the January 2013 issue of "International Journal of Trichology" reports that zinc deficiency may slow hair growth and even cause hair loss. Zinc can be found in foods that include whole wheat bread, seafood, meat poultry, dairy products, yeast and beans.
Copper is a trace mineral that aids in the production of melanin, the pigment that adds color to skin and hair, according to Linus Pauling Micronutrient Information Center. Copper also plays and important role in the circulatory system and stimulates hair follicles, both factors that are important to healthy hair growth. Foods containing copper include seafood, liver, lentils, nuts and semi-sweet chocolate.
- Linus Pauling Micronutrient Information Center: Iron
- Linus Pauling Micronutrient Information Center: Copper
- Linus Pauling Micronutrient Information Center: Selenium
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Best Foods for Specific Minerals
- International Journal of Trichology: Zinc Deficiency Associated with Hypothyroidism: An Overlooked Cause of Severe Alopecia
- American Society of Hematology: Iron-Deficiency Anemia