A short while ago, we posted about the best hair vitamins to take to grow natural hair. This was mostly because there is A LOT of misinformation in the natural hair world regarding what works and what doesn’t.
Add in the fact that there’s a new hair gummy/super growth vitamin/hair tea being funnelled into your IG news feed, and well... now you understand why we wanted to address it.
Do you know the expression ‘you are what you eat’? Well, that rings true for natural hair.
Naturals love their hair (rightfully so!) and are willing to try anything to grow it. There’s the rice water challenge, the inversion method, the bentonite clay craze, the list goes on!
And yes, while those things have resulted in some worthwhile results, it’s time to bring it back to the basics.
While this isn’t everyone’s favourite topic, there really is nothing quite like a healthy diet and supplement routine to grow out your long, natural hair.
Imagine what could happen if our natural hair regimen AND our vitamin game was on point? Hot girl summer all year round!
Women from many different communities and cultures grew out their hair long and healthy without relying on deep conditioners, stylers or gels.
How? The tea is: many of their secrets lie within the food they ate. They used holistic, natural methods to grow out their hair.
And today we’re going to learn how to do the same. Let’s get started.
Quick reminder, though – we’re not doctors, and you should consult with your general practitioner if you have any allergies or other food concerns. This blog does not constitute as a nutritional column nor is attempting to give out advice in place of a doctor. All the foods and vitamins we suggest here make up a generally healthy platter based on the most up-to-date science.
A Word on Hair Growth Gummies
Anyone who uses Instagram or social media is probably aware of their emergence of these hair growth gummies/pills.
And while this may not apply to all of them, the general consensus from doctors and health professionals is this:
Most of these pills are not FDA-approved. What does this mean? It means that the government hasn't done any studies to see if these are good for you.
Anything you ingest can and will affect your body if you don't know what's in it. Talk to a medical professional before taking these pills, and make sure to read the ingredients carefully. If they don't have this information on their website, don't take it!
Can Foods and Vitamins Really Grow Our Hair?
Our body, from the bottom of our toes to the crown of our heads, is one single, uniform organism.
All the other parts, like the heart and digestion system, are all components of it. But our body works in tandem with all its components to function.
To function optimally though, our body needs a collage of different vitamins and minerals. And this is no exception for healthy hair growth.
In fact, if we’re not feeding our bodies the right way, our body will prioritize core functions over our natural hair.
What does this mean? The nutrients that our body is receiving will be funneled to our heart, liver, lungs, and digestion system. Everything else, including our hair, skin and nails, comes last.
If you strategically incorporate these key nutrients into your diet (all while deep conditioning and following the natural girl method), your body will thank you with clear skin, long nails, and yes, long natural hair too.
It’s time to grow our natural hair from the inside out.
The Foods You Need to Eat
Iron - Red Meats, Beans, Spinach
Iron is a key, essential nutrient that is vital to ensure all organs in your body are working at peak condition.
Not to mention that if you are deficient in iron, one of the most obvious places you’ll notice it is in your hair.
Iron is responsible for carrying oxygen through your body, providing your body with energy and is also involved in many of the key hair growth cycles.
When you are iron deficient, your body will have a difficult time with healthy cell turnover, which is what our body does to generate hair growth.
The result: your follicles won’t be able to retain hair as easily.
You will also notice that your hair is dull, dry, and may change color (usually to a dull brown).
Common places we get iron from is red meats, which are great but is high in cholesterol. A great alternative is spinach, which is jam packed with enough iron to supply your body.
I know, I know – spinach is gross, right? Wrong!
A super efficient way to get more spinach into your diet is by putting it in smoothies. The taste of spinach, unlike other leafy greens like kale and celery, is very easy to mask.
All you need is some bananas and a bit of peanut butter, and a little bit of Vitamin C (oranges or lemons) as it helps your body absorb the iron and aids in renewing scalp tissues. This is a great smoothie for your skin as well!
Vitamin B (complex) - Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Legumes
Vitamin B is an essential micronutrient to include in our natural hair regimen, but to truly see its effects, we should take vitamin B as a complex. This means that it would include B6 and B12, as well as biotin.
Vitamin B complex will help delay grays, reduce hair loss and boost up the hair growth cycle. In particular:
The B-vitamin that we are most familiar with is B7, or biotin. The natural hair community has buzzed about the thickening and lengthening ability of biotin for years.
Unfortunately, our body doesn’t absorb it well alone. Basically if you take a high-dose biotin capsule, you’ll end up peeing most of it out, anyway (which is a high-key waste of money).
To get the most bang for your buck, take Biotin with other B vitamins to ensure your body is getting the full benefits of B vitamins. Multivitamins are also effective at providing the necessary amount of Vitamin B, and contains an array of other important ones too!
In food, carrots and sweet potatoes are great sources of Vitamin B complex as well as beta carotene.
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Vitamin E - Nuts
Vitamin E is known for its ability to soften both the hair and skin. But did you know that it also helps with blood circulation? This has enormous benefits to our hair by promoting blood flow to our scalp and encouraging our follicles to work! Vitamin E is also needed to fight off free-radical damage.
Most naturals use it topically. Many oils such as olive oil and sweet almond oil contain Vitamin E, as well as shea butter. You’ll also find that you’ll have fewer split ends and softer curls.
If you want to incorporate it in your diet, you’ll find it in nuts, spinach, and tomatoes.
Protein - Meats, Legumes
It’s no secret that our hair is composed of keratin, the protein that keeps our curls-a-curlin’.
If your hair is lacking protein, you may experience both breakage and hair loss. Your hair will feel brittle when dry, and gummy when wet (like seaweed). This is a tell-tale sign that you need a protein treatment, stat!
But this is a temporary fix to a very serious problem. While it’s still important to maintain our protein levels topically, we should also be looking to adjust our diets.
Most of us associate protein with meat, poultry, eggs and seafood. While these are good sources of protein, consuming too much animal protein can lead to cardiovascular issues in the future.
There are other sources of protein that are just as efficient (and not as expensive). These include legumes, beans, soy and oats. Not only are they great for the hair, but they’re also great for your heart.
Omega-3 fatty acids - Eggs, Nuts, Fish, Flaxseeds
Omega-3 fatty acids are the GOAT when it comes to growing natural hair. Omegas are incredible at facilitating healthy hair growth. In fact, these fatty acids are essential for other body functions, like making up the walls of our cell membranes.
The problem here is that our bodies don’t produce it naturally. So, we must get it through our diet and supplements.
Omegas promotes shine and hair growth and is an integral part of the beginning of the hair growth cycle. It also has the same beautifying effects on our skin by reducing inflammation and calming blemishes on the skin.
Most people take omega-3 supplements (commonly referred to as fish oil), and work just as effectively as food source. However you can get it from nuts, fish and flaxseeds.
The Bottom Line
Healthy hair starts from within. Remember: hair is essentially dead follicles that are being pushed out of our scalp daily. Our bodies though, are very much alive and need an array of fuel to function.
So, while we continue to deep condition and protective style, let’s start incorporating some healthy lifestyle choices.
What do you think are the best foods to grow natural hair? Comment down below!