A well-balanced diet that includes enough protein is essential to healthy hair and hair growth, Ladies’ Home Journal online reports.

“Hair is a fast-growing tissue, and it’s likely to make demands on your body,” said Brian Thompson, principal trichologist (a specialist in hair and scalp problems) and director of product development at Philip Kingsley Trichological Centre in New York and London. “You need a mixture of protein, complex carbohydrates and vitamins and minerals. But if you consume too much of any one thing, particularly certain vitamins and minerals, you can create problems with hair growth.”

In addition to protein, healthy hair growth requires complex carbohydrates and a variety of vitamins such as folic acid and B-12 along with minerals such as iron and zinc, Thompson added.

Thompson and Phillip Kingsley, a well-known stylist and author of The Hair Bible: A Complete Guide to Health and Care, suggested people start their day with a healthy, protein-packed breakfast. In addition, they recommended the following dietary regimen to optimize hair health:

•    Eat roasted, lean beef twice a week. (Note: This doesn’t apply for people with high cholesterol.)
•    Try eggs or egg whites as great alternative sources of protein. (Great for vegetarians or those who can’t consume red meat for health reasons.)
•    Include brown rice, a complex carb, in the diet. It provides energy and is a good source of B vitamins and some fiber.
•    Choose cottage cheese for breakfast or lunch. (It’s a good source of calcium.) Add fresh berries for an added fruit serving.
•    Have salmon for breakfast, lunch or dinner to get needed protein, along with vitamins and minerals.

Click here to learn how hair issues can result from a lack of proper nutrition.