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Diet and Healthy Hair

A healthy diet can help your hair stay strong and lustrous. Your diet can also prevent hair loss. In fact, very specific nutritional deficiencies can affect your hair.

Essential fatty acids -- especially omega-3 fatty acids -- play a key role in skin, hair, and nails. You should eat some of these foods, which are rich in omega-3, every day:

  • Salmon, tuna, mackerel, and other fatty fish
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Walnuts and almonds

Vitamins B-6, B-12, and folic acid are also important to your hair. Vegetarians and vegans often don't get enough of these vitamins.

Good sources of vitamin B-6 include bananas, potatoes (both white and sweet), and spinach.

Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables -- especially citrus fruits and tomatoes -- will help you get folic acid. Whole grain and fortified grain products, beans, and lentils also contain folic acid. Major sources of B-12 include meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products.

Protein is also critical for keeping hair healthy, but many people don't get enough. Lean meat like fish, chicken, eggs, and soy products are good sources of protein; eat one serving every day.

Because trace minerals like magnesiumzinc and biotin also affect hair, it's a good idea to take a daily multivitamin.

Sometimes there are genetic factors such as male pattern baldness and female pattern baldness that can play a role. Occasionally thyroid disease and hormonal issues may also cause changes or loss of hair.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Kimball Johnson, MD on June 01, 2012

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