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The Secret to Healthy Hair You Probably Didn't Know

Maintaining healthy hair goes beyond using the right styling products. Here are five essential nutrients needed to achieve the beautiful hair you crave.


Getting plenty of lock-boosting nutrients from your diet is the key to vibrant-looking hair, and these five are ones you should work into daily meals, starting now. Make sure to take a multivitamin supplement if you're deficient in any nutrients needed for healthy hair.

Dietary Protein
Your hair is made up of proteins, and protein-rich foods are a must when it comes to maintaining healthy hair. The American Academy of Dermatology reports that getting too little protein in your diet can make hair cease to grow and even lead to hair loss. Women need a minimum of 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight—the equivalent to 0.4 grams of protein per pound of body weight daily—according to a 2012 review published in the British Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Protein-rich foods include fish, seafood, eggs, lean meats, poultry, cottage cheese, low-fat milk, Greek yogurt, nuts, seeds, soy protein, and legumes.

Heart-healthy fats like oils are crucial for healthy hair. Dietary fat also helps your body absorb certain hair-enhancing vitamins, like vitamin E. Women need five to six servings from the oils food group daily, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Foods in the oils group include plant-based oils like vegetable oil, nuts, seeds, peanut butter, olives, and avocados.

Getting too little iron in your diet can lead to hair loss, notes the American Academy of Dermatology. Many iron-rich foods, like red meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, nuts, and legumes, are also high in protein. Other sources of dietary iron include iron-fortified breads and cereals, spinach, and raisins. Many multivitamin supplements can provide you with iron, too.

If your diet is lacking in the vitamin biotin, you may experience thinning hair and loss of hair color, notes MedlinePlus. So, getting plenty of dietary biotin is a must for healthy hair. Good sources of biotin include eggs, yeast, pork, salmon, and avocados.

Vitamin E
Vitamin E is also needed for healthy-looking locks. Furthermore, taking a tocotrienol supplement, which is a form of vitamin E, increases the amount of hair in people suffering from hair loss, according to a 2010 study published in Tropical Life Sciences Research. Hair-enhancing vitamin E–rich foods include plant-based oils—especially wheat germ, sunflower, and safflower oils; nuts; seeds; and leafy greens.

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