A balanced diet that's rich in essential nutrients can help you have strong, healthy hair. A poor diet can lead to hair loss and weak hair that is dry and brittle. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends eating 1 1/2 to 2 cups of fruit and 2 to 3 cups of vegetables per day for a balanced, healthy diet. You can provide a further boost to your hair health by choosing fruits and vegetables that contain vitamins that will help with hair growth.
Foods Rich in Vitamin A
A natural antioxidant, vitamin A provides protection for your hair from environmental toxins. It also helps produce sebum, oily secretions, in your scalp that act as a natural conditioner, encouraging healthy hair growth. The recommended dietary allowance of vitamin A is 700 to 1,300 micrograms per day for women and 900 micrograms per day for men. Sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, cantaloupe, kale and broccoli are all rich sources of vitamin A, so including them in your diet can encourage the development of healthy locks.
Foods Rich in Biotin
Foods rich in biotin, a member of the vitamin B complex, may help prevent hair loss, which can help you maintain a head of healthy, strong hair. All B vitamins help with healthy growth and development, and a lack of biotin can lead to scales on your skin as well as hair loss. The adequate intake of biotin is 30 to 35 micrograms per day. While many animal products are a rich source of biotin, avocado, raspberries and raw cauliflower are good fruit and vegetable sources of this hair-benefiting vitamin.
Foods Rich in Vitamin E
Vitamin E, like vitamin A, is a natural antioxidant. It can help protect your hair from becoming damaged from sun exposure as well as exposure to environmental toxins. The RDA of vitamin E is 15 to 19 milligrams for women and 15 milligrams for men. In addition to being rich in biotin, avocados are also rich in vitamin E, as are spinach and carrots.
Foods Rich in Vitamin C
Like vitamins A and E, vitamin C is a natural antioxidant, providing protection for your hair from toxins. It also helps you produce collagen, which is necessary for hair production. The RDA of vitamin C is 75 to 120 milligrams per day for women, with pregnant and breast-feeding women requiring more vitamin C. The RDA for men is 90 milligrams per day. Smokers of both genders require more vitamin C than other adults, with 110 to 125 milligrams as the RDA. Citrus fruits, such as oranges and grapefruits, including juices, are good sources of vitamin C. Others include kiwi, strawberries, tomatoes, red peppers, spinach and broccoli.
- BBC Good Food: What to Eat for Healthy Hair
- ChooseMyPlate.gov: How Much Fruit Is Needed Daily?
- ChooseMyPlate.gov: How Many Vegetables Are Needed Daily or Weekly?
- Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin A
- Linus Pauling Institute: Biotin
- Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin C
- Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin E
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Strawberries, Raw