Hair can become dry, frizzy, and break easily. Strong hair depends on the strength of the hair shaft and healthy scalp and follicles.
Overuse of hair products, sun, illness, and poor diet can all weaken hair.
Eating the right foods can restore lustrous hair: the B vitamin biotin boosts scalp health, healthy proteins provide keratin to strengthen hair strands, and betacarotene converts to cell-building vitamin A in the body.
How to avoid fragile hair
This tropical fruit is loaded with collagen-building vitamin C, which helps the absorption of iron from vegetable sources, ensuring there is enough iron in red blood cells to carry oxygen to hair follicles.
Key nutrients: Vitamins B1, B5, B6, C, folate.
How to eat: Enjoy a 5cm-slice of pineapple each day.
This is a source of vitamin B5, also known as pantothenic acid, which gives hair flexibility, strength, and shine. The vitamin helps to synthesize protein and fats, helping to bolster the hair shaft, which is made almost entirely out of protein. Other sources of B5 include brewer’s yeast, legumes, lentils, sunflower seeds, cereals, and wheatgerm.
Key nutrients: Vitamin E, potassium, omega-9, vitamin B5, folic acid, fibre.
How to eat: Have a slice for breakfast with a fruit smoothie or dip into soups.
Seaweeds such as dulse, bladder wrack, kelp, and nori are high in iodine. A deficiency in iodine can contribute to the condition hypothyroidism, associated with dry, brittle hair.
Key nutrients: Iodine, iron, vitamins B2 and B5, zinc, folate, magnesium.
How to eat: Add 1 tbsp dried seaweed daily to food, or soak seaweed sheets to use in meals.
These sweet nuts contain vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps to stabilize and strengthen cell membranes in hair follicles to promote healthy hair.
Key nutrients: Vitamin E, magnesium, biotin.
How to eat: Snack on a handful of almonds daily.
This fish supplies vitamin B12, which supports the formation of red blood cells. At the base of each hair follicle, blood vessels connect to each strand. Red blood cells carry oxygen to the living portion of the hair strands. Without enough oxygen, hair can’t sustain healthy growth.
Key nutrients: Vitamins B12 and D, selenium, omega-3.
How to eat: Aim to eat 2–3 portions of oily fish a week.