Most girls have been through the frustrating process of trying to figure out how to make your hair grow faster at some point or another. There's nothing worse than counting down the days to longer locks, only to find that your hair has grown a measly inch. You can load up on hair-strengthening shampoos and magic serums, but it turns out nothing works quite as well as making your hair grow faster... from the inside. Just like with your skin, your hair is affected by your diet and the nutrients you consume.
"Vitamins and nutrients, like biotin, B vitamins, iron and zinc, promote healthy hair follicles and healthy hair growth," says Dr. John Diaz, MD over email.
When it comes to encouraging hair growth, one particular nutrient to pay attention to is protein. "Protein is a building block for every cell and tissue in our body, and hair is no different," Rima Kleiner, MS, RD says to Bustle over email. "While our bodies make protein, it is important to consume protein-rich foods for optimal health, including hair health."
Whether you fried your hair from too many heat products, you're over this season's choppy hair cut, or you just want to improve your hair health, try incorporating the following seven hair-healthy foods into your diet for longer, more luscious locks.
Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, and pecans are a great source of biotin, which is believed to promote hair growth.
"Biotin or Vitamin B7 is a coenzyme that provides energy to the body," says Certified Nutritional Consultant Lori Kenyon Farley in an email. "In particular, it helps create healthy hair cells, leading to thicker, healthier hair."
A 2015 study found that women with thinning hair experienced hair growth after taking a protein supplement with biotin for 90 days, so the science backs this up to some degree.
Though they may not be the first food on your list, oysters are a great source of nutrients, including zinc, that can help give you those luscious locks you want.
"Oysters contain protein, iron, omega fatty acids, calcium, zinc and vitamin C," says Dr. Diaz. "All of these vitamins and minerals are essential for healthy beautiful skin and hair."
Not only are eggs a delicious way to start your day, but they contain the protein, zinc, and iron that your hair and body needs.
"Zinc benefits for hair includes promotion of cell reproduction, tissue growth and repair of broken tissues," Carla Rivas, hairstylist and co-founder of hair growth vitamin Hair La Vie, tells Bustle in an email. "It also maintains the oil-secreting glands that are attached to your hair follicles, thus decreasing their chances of falling out.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients for healthy hair and skin, and since your body can't produce them on its own, it's important you get these fatty acids from your diet. Eating two servings of fatty fish like salmon or tuna per week can help keep your hair full and long.
5. Chia and Flax Seeds
Fish isn't the only way to get in your dose of omega-3s.
"If you are staying away from animal products, try adding flax seeds or chia seeds to your smoothie," says Farley. "These little babies will keep your locks looking shiny and healthy."
6. Sweet Potatoes
Say yes to those sweet potato fries. "Sweet potatoes are another wonderful food for hair growth due to their high dosage of beta-carotene, the precursor of Vitamin A, which helps to keep hair from becoming dry and brittle," says beauty expert Julie Ricevuto in an email.
Sweet potatoes are extremely high in beta-carotene, according to the USDA Food Composition Database, but a study published to peer-reviewed journal Dermatology and Therapy argues that consuming excessive Vitamin A can actually result in hair loss, so make sure you're keeping your body in homeostasis and focus on eating a well-balanced diet.
The fat content in avocados may be able to help you absorb nutrients in other food — like the ones listed above, which is important to get the shiny, lustrous hair of your dreams.