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The Best Foods You Can Eat for Healthy Hair, According to a Dietitian

When it comes to thick, healthy hair, we are bombarded with tons of hair care products promising to improve the look and feel of our hair. Many of us forget that proper nutrition is one of the most important things to help nourish those gorgeous locks. A balanced diet that is predominately plant-based can help you get the key nutrients necessarily for keeping your hair, skin and nails in great shape. The best vitamins and nutrients for hair growth include lean proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, fat-soluble vitamins, B-complex vitamins, and iron. A Mediterranean-style plan packed with fiber-filled produce, 100% whole grains, and healthy fats is one of the easiest ways to get these essential nutrients.

On the other hand, what you eat can also have a dramatic effect on hair loss. Consider replacing processed and packaged foods that are very nutrient-poor for more whole, real and natural foods. Many of these processed items are loaded with additives and artificial ingredients that you just don't need. Plus, these processed foods can wreak havoc on the gut. Having a healthy gut flora is essential for helping with nutrient absorption to bolster the hair, skin, and nails.

If you’ve recently noticed significant hair loss, your first step is to check with your physician as it may indicate an underlying medical condition. Before starting any supplement regimen, you should always speak to your doctor first. While the additional B vitamins can help in specific cases (like if you have an underlying condition causing a deficiency), they can also cause negative effects, like dangerously altering lab test results. Supplements also often provide unnecessary biotin that far exceeds what your body can actually use. Considering that most people can get all the B vitamins they need in food, buying these supplements is likely just a waste of money.

When it comes to specific foods, you'll want to load up on these healthy hair all-stars and add them to your grocery cart ASAP.

*Additional reporting by Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN