What to eat to get shiny, healthy looking hair

A thick lock of hair is usually a sign of youth and health on first impressions. Without a head full of thick hair, a person can sometimes look older than they really are. Sometimes it depends on your hair type as well, because if your hair strands are coarser, it will generally make your hair look thicker. I myself have very fine hair, and if I don’t take care of it, they can sometimes look limp and make me look really dull. Taking care of your hair doesn’t just mean making sure you are using the right shampoo or applying the right products; what you eat or don’t eat will affect the condition of your hair too.

Three different hair cycles
There are three different phases your hair goes through in your lifetime. There are known as the Anagen cycle (growth phase), Catagen cycle (transition phase) and the Telogen cycle (rest stage). Most of your hairs on your head are in their Anagen stage, which lasts from 2-8 years on your head. The Catagen stage typically lasts 2-3 weeks, and the Telogen phase lasts around 2-4 months. While most hair follicles on your hair are always going through transitions, for a healthy normal head, 90% of them should be in their Anagen stage and only 10% should be in either the Catagen or Telogen stage.

Normal hair loss
It is normal for people to lose 50-100 strands of hair every day and upon washing, sometimes  you can lose up to 250 strands. But all that is normal because even if you don’t wash your hair or tug at it, those hairs will still fall off on their own. Unusual hair loss can sometimes be attributed to heredity, pregnancy, and medical problems such as thyroid disorders, anemia, psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis. Physical or emotional stress can also be one of the reasons why a person may lose a large amount of hair overnight.

Reasons for unhealthy hair
Always styling and manipulating your tresses may prove to be more harm in the long run even though the hair loss during these inflictions is temporary. Drying your hair too roughly when it’s wet, daily blow drying hair, and tying your hair too tightly on a daily basis tend to break your hair and make it brittle over time, and in the long run may add to premature hair loss. It’s best to let your hair breathe once in a while without too many styling methods.

Foods to improve hair growth
If you are born with fine or thick hair, improving your diet will not drastically change your hair type, but rather, it will significantly improve the growth of new and healthy hair in time to come.  People often overlook ways to improve the health of their hair through diets because they tend to forget that it is the follicles and condition of the scalp that determines the growth of hair. Here are some of the foods to eat to improve the condition of your scalp and future hair growth.

  • Omega 3 fatty acids
    Omega 3 fatty acids are needed to provide hair with a shiny and moisturized outlook. Having  sufficient omega 3 fatty acids will ensure a healthy scalp and will help prevent dry and brittle hairs that are prone to breakage. Foods that contain omega 3 are salmon, flax seeds, chia seeds and fish oil.
  • Vitamins A and C
    This helps your body produce sebum secreted by hair follicles and acts like a natural conditioner for your hair. Foods that have vitamins A and C are kale, carrots, broccoli and brussels sprouts.
  • Iron
    Iron improves blood circulation and in turn promotes healthy cell growth. This works for a better quality hair growth as well. Foods that contain iron include dark, leafy greens, beans, artichoke, liver, and egg yolks.
  • B vitamins
    Foods that are high in all the B vitamins promote better and healthier skin. Having all the right nutrients your body needs to improve the condition of your skin and scalp will result in healthier and better hair quality.
  • Zinc
    Zinc is a powerful anti-oxidant that will improve the general being of your skin and stimulate hair growth for your scalp. Foods contain zinc include seafood, nuts and beans, and poultry.

Hair care from inside out
The health and condition of our hair is very much dependent on the scalp which is also part of our skin. I think the best way one can ensure healthy hair is through diet, as that is the only method foolproof enough compared to applying external products. Apart from heredity, prevention of hair loss and unhealthy hair is not as impossible as it seems. If your body is healthy from the inside, it should reflect on the outside and vice versa. So the next time when you decide on your meals, think of your hair!


  1. Destiny7 says:

    Weather also effects hair. My hair grows faster in summer and also does better in a humid climate like Hawaii. Three years ago I saw neocell super collagen on Oprah and started taking it..this also really helped hair quantity and quality.

  2. Carrie says:

    My hair always shines but it is due to I have an oily scalp, YIKES! >”< Though I do agree what Destiny 7 said: the climate does play a role in how our hair looks and grows!! When the weather is dry my scalp tends to become itchy and secreting more oil too, which can be rather uncomfortable at times…

  3. stella says:

    i started taking a tcm product last year (main ingredient is fallopia multiflora, better known as he shou wu) and seriously, my hair condition has improve a lot from its previous dry and coarse condition–years of hair dye+oily scalp+thick hair do take its toll, which frequent treatments could not improve very much. now, even though i have no problems with hair loss (that’s what the tcm product is indicated for), i continue to take the supplements; it’s my best beauty find in the last year. any neighbourhood tcm store should sell similar products, but i recommend thorough research into its manufacturer before buying; i always buy tcm products from Singapore brands, preferably made in Singapore

  4. Lanie says:

    @ sesame, if you are reading this, just want to thank you for the hand sanitizer.. I received it yesterday and immediately tried it… smells and feels heavenly… you are right about ” its almost good enough for the face”… will write a review on my blog later next week…

    @ stella, I love tcm herbs.. did you consult a tcm practitioner first? or you both the tcm herbs off the shelf? I have the same problem (years of straightening, harye+ oily scalp + very very thich coarse hair)…

    recently I have been using baking soda and ACV to wash may hair.. and it improved my scalp condition and also my hair a bit.. I intended to purchase Terresentials mud wash too to go au naturel (meaning remove all the years of build up in my hair)… meanwhile I also want to take some tcm herbs..

    @ Cassie..
    great post!
    Lanie last post is: Beauty Tip: Make Peace with your Father

  5. Sesame says:

    Lanie: Glad you like it! It’s a great product…more than a hand sanitizer.

  6. stella says:

    i bought it off the shelves but tcm store assistants, at least those at reputable chains, should be able to advise you well as they also sell raw herbs and need to know their products. that said, i’m pretty much in good health, with no known allergies and my body generally reacts according to the indications on most products, be they supplements or beauty items. so, best to get some advice if you have specific conditions or concerns

  7. Swati says:

    great post, Cassie ? I am trying to take care of my hair these days!!!
    Swati last post is: My Mini-giveaway!!

  8. Cassie says:

    Yes, you’re right, the weather does affect the hair very much. Mine does better in a warmer climate too.

  9. Cassie says:

    Ahh.. I get oily scalp when the weather is terribly humid too. For me i just have to wash my hair more frequently.

  10. Cassie says:

    That’s interesting. I’ve never tried the tcm method before. I will give that a look. ?

  11. Cassie says:

    Thank you, Lanie. I’m glad you enjoyed it. ?

  12. Cassie says:

    Thank you, I’m glad you liked it. ?

  13. paleo recipes says:

    Appreciate tthe recommendation. Will tryy iit out.
    paleo recipes last post is: paleo recipes

  14. Anna says:

    My hair is amazingly thin, shading treated, and has a tendency to get slick. What cleanser/conditioner would you suggest?
    Thank you for this well written post.

  15. Sesame says:

    Check out brands like Giovanni, John Masters Organics and Oway.

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