Women and men who see a thinning head of hair often quickly turn to vitamin supplements that promise to regrow their hair and stop balding. But don’t overlook important essential minerals that can also help you to keep a full head of hair.
Low iron levels, especially if you’re a woman who has a heavy period, can contribute to your hair falling out. Adult women need 18 mg of iron a day while men need 8 mg a day. There are two kinds of iron: heme iron (which is absorbed easiest) and non-heme iron. The best foods for heme iron are fish, poultry and red meat. Sources for non-heme iron include raisins, prunes, quinoa, spinach and lentils.
Zinc is critical for the hair growth process itself, and a deficiency can cause your hair to grow slowly or stop growing altogether. Adult men need 11 mg a day of zinc, while women need 8 mg a day. Some of the best sources of zinc include oysters, beef, crab, beans, and cashews.
Copper helps with collagen production, which is a big part of your hair’s health. In general, adult men and women need 900 μg of copper a day. Some of the foods that are richest in this hair health-boosting mineral include liver, shellfish, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, almonds and white raw mushrooms.
Known as “nature’s chill pill,” magnesium can help you to reduce stress, which in turn can help preserve your hair follicles and defend against stress-related balding. Magnesium also helps your body absorb other essential hair minerals for overall health and increased wellness. Adult men need 400 mg a day until age 30, after which your requirements jump up to 420 mg. Adult women 30 years old or younger need 310 mg a day, which goes up to 320 mg a day once they enter their third decade. Most of the best sources of magnesium are plant based and include oat bran, brown rice, spinach, almonds, Swiss chard and peanuts.