Strong, shiny, healthy-looking hair is a sign of beauty. That’s why baldness or hair loss – known as alopecia areata – can be a distressing condition.
Alopecia areata affects the scalp, which causes patches of hair loss. Alopecia areata affects both men and women.
Like any other part of your body, hair needs a variety of nutrients to grow and be healthy. If you’re dealing with dull, weak or thin hair, it may be best to  start paying attention to your diet. Factors such as age, genetics, hormonal changes, and stress may affect hair growth, but nutritional deficiencies are major drivers in causing hair loss. Making sure that you’re getting sufficient nutrition can promote healthy hair.
Experts recommend foods which are abundant in nutrients that help strengthen hair follicles and encourage hair growth. Some of the nutrients essential for hair growth include:
- Vitamin A – Vitamin A promotes the production of an oily substance called sebum in the skin glands. Sebum moisturizes the scalp and keeps hair healthy.
- B-vitamins – B-vitamins help create red blood cells, which carry oxygen and nutrients to the scalp and hair follicles.
- Vitamin C – Your body needs vitamin C to create collagen, which is an important part of hair structure.
- Vitamin E – Vitamin E improves blood circulation and helps strengthen the follicles.
- Iron – Iron boosts the body’s production of red blood cells. Iron deficiency is a major cause of hair loss.
- Zinc and selenium – These nutrients aid in hair tissue growth and repair, as well as protect the scalp from damage. (Related: Help your hair by eating these 10 foods full of healthy hair growth properties.)
For luscious locks, make the following food items a staple in your diet:
- Avocados – Avocados are rich in vitamin E and B-vitamins, as well as potassium, omega-9, folic acid, and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, which can aid in hair growth.
- Berries – Berries such as strawberries contain high levels of vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps protect follicles from oxidative stress. Other top sources of vitamin C include peppers and citrus fruits.
- Eggs – Eggs are high in protein, which is a building block of hair structure. Eggs also contain vitamins A and D, carotenes, lutein and zinc, which all promote healthy hair.
- Figs – Figs are a great source of iron, as well as potassium, magnesium, and vitamins A and E.
- Flaxseeds – Nuts and seeds like flaxseed are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that nourish the hair and support thickening. Flaxseeds are also high in vitamin B1, magnesium, phosphorus, and selenium.
- Kelp – This seaweed is an excellent source of iron, L-lysine, zinc, vitamins B2 and B5, folate, and magnesium.
- Dark leafy greens – Green leafy vegetables such as spinach are top sources of iron; the darker the greens, the higher the iron content. Leafy greens also contain vitamins A, C, and K, B-vitamins, potassium, and folate.
- Mangoes – Mangoes contain silica, which helps strengthen hair strands. Mangoes are good sources of vitamins A, B6, and C, and folate.
- Pumpkin seeds – Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc, which may help prevent scalp dryness. They also contain iron, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, and protein, which all promote hair growth.
- Soybeans – Beans in general contain high levels of iron. Soybeans in particular are thought to inhibit the formation of a hormone known as dihydrotestosterone (DHT). An imbalance of DHT is believed to contribute to hair loss. Other nutrients abundant in soybeans are omega-3, vitamin B2, and magnesium, which are good for the hair.