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Prioritize *This* Food Group Every Day For Healthier Hair

Hannah Frye
Author:
December 25, 2022
Hannah Frye
mbg Assistant Beauty Editor
By Hannah Frye
mbg Assistant Beauty Editor
Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including health, wellness, sustainability, personal development, and more.
woman brushing long hair
Image by stocksy // Sergey Filimonov
December 25, 2022

While hair oils and leave-in conditioners are great for maintaining the health of your strands and protecting against heat damage, they don't necessarily contribute to overall growth when applied to the shaft. Hair growth starts inside the follicles, after all. Yes, serums can help stimulate the scalp and promote circulation, but to encourage healthy hair from the root, you shouldn't ignore your overall nutrient intake. 

There's not one single diet that's ideal for healthy hair, but there are certain food groups you may want to prioritize. Ahead, discover a few tips to keep in mind to round out your hair care in 2023. 

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Why you should prioritize protein for healthy hair. 

See, your hair is made up of keratin, a protein consisting of about 18 amino acids1—including cysteine, proline, and glycine. In order to support the protein found in hair, you should be getting your daily fill from food. 

The current Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. However, many nutrition experts see that as a minimum, and recommend going beyond the RDA2, increasing protein intake to closer to 1.2 to 1.6 grams per kilogram of body weight (roughly 110 to 120 grams a day). 

Let's be honest—getting this much protein isn't always easy. You'll want to prioritize animal products like poultry, lean meat, and fish, as well as plant-based ingredients like chickpeas, lentils, and beans. 

Do your best to prioritize protein intake in the morning with a satiating breakfast. But if you're not one to reach for protein-dense foods in the morning, you may consider adding a supplement (like collagen or protein powder) to your routine. 

Collagen is a worthy contender—it supports overall protein intake while providing skin and gut support. You can easily add a scoop of collagen powder to your coffee to boost your morning protein intake, whip it up in a smoothie, or incorporate it into whatever else fits your fancy. 

While hair does not contain collagen (like the skin does), collagen peptides can provide your diet with more amino acids. Those amino acids can then be turned into keratin to form healthy hair at the follicle. Additionally, it can support scalp health and buffer against follicle irritation.

In short: Yes, collagen powder can help you reach your hair goals this year. Here's a list of the nine best options on the market, all backed by a nutrition Ph.D., if you're looking for a new blend. 

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The takeaway. 

In order to tend to your hair from the inside out, you should prioritize protein in your diet. Do your best to consume protein in the morning if you can—adding a collagen supplement to your daily routine is just one way to do so. Protein is essential to your diet and has benefits way beyond hair care; it's worth prioritizing the macronutrient

Hannah Frye
Hannah Frye
mbg Assistant Beauty Editor

Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including health, wellness, sustainability, personal development, and more. She previously interned for Almost 30, a top-rated health and wellness podcast. In her current role, Hannah reports on the latest beauty trends, holistic skincare approaches, must-have makeup products, and inclusivity in the beauty industry. She currently lives in New York City.