Biotin boosters have become an all too familiar cure-all for any and all hair-related issues. While it would be great to take a pill and walk away with a mega-glossy and super-strong mane, real life rarely works like that. Though tempting to try, as long as you’re eating a balanced diet, chances are you don’t need them. Instead, try ditching the unnecessary supplements and eat your way to healthy hair. We tapped Brooke Alpert,registered dietitian and author of The Diet Detox, to find what foods we should be eating to maximize our biotin intake, naturally.
“There are many foods that you can incorporate into your diet that are good sources of biotin,” Brooke assures us. Her grocery list includes whole eggs, legumes, almonds, liver and other organ meats, salmon, yeast, milk, cheese, yogurt, mushrooms, carrots, leafy green vegetables, tomatoes, and raspberries. If this feels overboard, fear not—don’t think of anything with biotin in it as calories wasted. “Foods that are rich in biotin are also beneficial for your diet in other ways,” says Brooke, who points out that these foods add healthy fats, vitamins, and fiber. “If you want to eat these foods daily you can,” she adds.
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Maximize Your Biotin
There are easy ways to incorporate biotin into your diet in ways you might not have considered, such as replacing a key feature of a routine meal. “Choosing to use some of the above listed foods as healthier substitutes for less healthy choices can be a great way to add biotin to your diet,” Brooke explains. “For example, if you used cauliflower rice instead of white rice, you are getting the benefit of biotin as well as a great source of vitamin C and fiber.”
To get the most biotin possible, choose foods that contain a denser concentration of the stuff. “Legumes, nuts, and seeds have the highest concentrations of biotin and are a great choice as a snack or as part of a healthy meal,” says Brooke. “The recommended daily dosage of biotin is 2.5 mg,” she notes. However, everyone is different when it comes to health and nutrition. “It is always important to consult with your doctor first to make sure it is an appropriate choice for your unique lifestyle and health profile since you can consume too great a quantity of biotin, leading to negative health effects,” she continues.
Though biotin is typically associated with animal-based protein, if you’re vegetarian or vegan, you can still reap the benefits of this B vitamin, naturally. “There are many vegetable-based sources of biotin,” says Brooke. Among her favorites are nuts and seeds, avocados, sweet potatoes, and cauliflower.
Food > Supplements
While you might think you need additional biotin in vitamin-form, as long as you have a healthy diet, it’s pretty unlikely that you aren’t getting enough through your food. “It is rare that people will have a biotin deficiency and should be able to get the appropriate amount directly from their diet,” she notes.
“Many people who choose to add biotin supplements or biotin-rich foods to their diets are looking for more positive outcomes in the appearance of their hair, skin, and nails,” observes Brooke. However, if you are experiencing any issues, it’s a good idea to talk to a medical professional, pretty much 100% of the time. “If you notice unusual changes or problems in these areas, it is always advisable to talk to your doctor to make sure you are not experiencing any other possible health problem with similar symptoms,” she says.