Hair follicles are small sacs lined with skin cells. Oil glands emit sebum into these sacs, which serves to protect and lubricate hair. Cells enter the sac and get packed together and pushed out resulting in hair. The hair shaft (the part of hair that you see) is made up of keratin, a form of dead protein. To strengthen hair follicles, you must adopt a healthy diet because hair is derived from your cells and its health is dependent on your health--healthy hair is strong hair.
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Eat foods containing iron, such as dark green vegetables, beans and legumes, lean red meat or take an iron supplement. Iron carries oxygen to the hair follicles. A lack of oxygen can weaken the follicle.
Make a place in your diet for foods containing zinc--most often found in seafood and meat. Zinc strengthens hair follicles because it binds proteins building a strong strand of hair. It also helps support the oil glands which protect hair. Aim for about 11 mg daily because too much zinc can interfere with the absorption of other minerals that are essential for hair health.
Eat a diet that is high in vitamins A, B, C and E. This can be achieved by eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables and healthy fats (try avocados or olive oil). To help you choose a variety of fruits and vegetables, pick different colors. Fruits and vegetables also help hydrate the body.
Consume high protein foods such as eggs, turkey, chicken and low-fat dairy. Hair is derived from protein so having enough protein in your diet will make it stronger and healthier.
Drink at least eight cups of water daily to help hair growth and strength. Water helps the body perform all functions, including growing hair. When your body is properly hydrated your hair will be softer and supple, as opposed to dry and brittle.