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6 Worst Foods For Your Hair—And What You Should Eat Instead

Below, some foods you should avoid, and which ones you should consider adding to your diet for healthier hair:


The right foods can keep your locks looking shiny and beautiful.




Lustrous locks are a sign of good health. But it takes more than great shampoo to help your hair look its best. Just like your nails, your tresses are a window to your overall well-being. (Here's what your hair can tell you about your health.)

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Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to keep your scalp and hair healthy. And it starts with what’s on your plate. Certain foods can wreak havoc, while others can shore up your locks. Below, some foods you should avoid, and which ones you should consider adding to your diet for healthier hair:





Avoid: Sweets

When you eat something filled with sugar or made with refined flour like white bread, it causes your blood sugar to spike, which triggers a surge of insulin. That, in turn, causes your body to release more androgens. “That’s a hormone that can cause your hair follicles to shrink, so it could potentially lead to hair loss,” says Christy Brissette, RD, president of 80 Twenty Nutrition.
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Avoid: Too much animal protein

The Keto diet might work for your waistline, but not so much for your locks. Protein is essential to building strong hair, but not if you’re overdoing it on the animal protein at the expense of other nutrients. “Go for some higher fiber, plant-based protein instead,” Brissette says. “Then you’re getting a wider variety of nutrients, which is really important for overall health, but also your hair health.” The key? Make sure you get enough cystine, the amino acid that’s a precursor to keratin, which is the main structural protein in hair. Good sources include broccoli, wheat germ, and red peppers. (Here's how broccoli can protect your joints—plus 3 tasty ways to eat more of it.)




Avoid: Foods low in iron and zinc

Skimping on these important minerals can lead to lackluster hair, Brissette says. If you want your hair to grow stronger, she recommends you get iron from any food that comes from an animal, particularly beef, chicken, and fish. Not a meat eater? Beans and leafy greens are also good sources of iron. And eating seafood like oysters and whole grains will make sure you get plenty of zinc.

MORE: 8 Foods That Have More Iron Than Beef
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Avoid: High-mercury fish

Eating plenty of fish with omega-3 fatty acids helps reduce inflammation and encourages hair growth. Just make sure to avoid high-mercury seafood such as swordfish, which can lead to hair loss, Brissette says. Healthier choices for your tresses include salmon, canned light tuna, and halibut, which is also rich in magnesium. (Here are 6 things omega-3s can do for your health—and 3 things they can't.)


Avoid: Alcohol

Beer, wine, and spirits can interfere with how your body metabolizes zinc, a crucial mineral for hair health. Too much booze can also dehydrate you, which can affect your hair. “Alcohol can make your hair more dry, more brittle, and more prone to breakage,” Brissette says. So while some red wine may be good for your heart, not so much for your hair.




Avoid: Greasy food

Foods that are high in saturated fats and hydrogenated oils can clog your pores, even on your scalp. That could in turn lead to hair loss. The culprits? Anything made with trans fats, such as hard margarine, baked goods, or crackers. (Try using an air fryer to make your favorite fried foods without so much oil. Here, 6 of the best air fryers you can buy right now.)
So what should you eat? Here are some suggestions...
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Eat more: Cinnamon

This sweet spice actually improves your circulation—including to your scalp. That means you’re getting more nutrients to your hair follicles, which means faster-growing, healthier hair, Brissette says. (Cinnamon is also one of these 6 smart ways to flavor your coffee without added sugar!)



Eat more: Sweet potatoes and squash

Vibrant, orange-hued fruits and veggies like sweet potatoes, squash, mango, pumpkin, and even guava are fantastic for hair health. They’re filled with beta carotene, a.k.a vitamin A, which encourages the scalp to produce a healthy oil called sebum that adds shine and moisture. But it is possible to get too much of a good thing. Excessive amounts of vitamin A can lead to hair loss, Brissette says. So aim to get the nutrient from your diet, not from a supplement.

MORE: 3 Science-Backed Reasons Not To Take A Multivitamin




Eat more: Almonds

Almonds are fantastic because they’re rich in vitamin E. With its antioxidant properties, vitamin E helps repair tissue and reduces inflammation, encouraging hair growth. Other good sources of vitamin E include sunflower seeds, pine nuts, spinach, and avocado. (Psst! You should be eating these 4 ridiculously healthy seeds on the regular.)
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Eat more: Chickpeas

Hummus isn’t just a great party dip. Chickpeas are high in vitamin B9, also known as folic acid, which is another important nutrient for the health of your hair. Leafy green vegetables, bok choy, kale, spinach and turnip greens are also great sources of folic acid. “The more dark leafy greens people can include in their diets, the more folate they’re going to be getting,” Brissette says. Folic acid spurs the production of red blood cells, which transport oxygen throughout the body and make sure all the nutrients get where they need to go—including to your hair.

MORE: 10 Tasty Ideas For Canned Chickpeas

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Women's Lifestyle: 6 Worst Foods For Your Hair—And What You Should Eat Instead
6 Worst Foods For Your Hair—And What You Should Eat Instead
Below, some foods you should avoid, and which ones you should consider adding to your diet for healthier hair:
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