Before adding dozens of products into your haircare routine, make sure your hair receives the necessary nutrients from your diet to grow healthy, as you know the saying: healthy hair comes from the inside out. Since a deficiency of nutrients like vitamins A, B, D, E, selenium, fatty acids, zinc, iron, folic acid, and proteins are often linked to hair loss, replacing processed foods that are nutrient-poor with a balanced nutrient-rich diet will improve your hair health from the roots to the ends.
The best foods for hair growth
That being said, these are the best foods to introduce into your regular diet to nourish your hair with nutrients for healthy hair growth.
Eggs are rich in protein and essential nutrients that contribute to hair health, such as choline, selenium, zinc, and vitamins A, B12, and D. Two specific carotenoids found in eggs — lutein and zeaxanthin — also play a role in maintaining cellular health, especially in hair, skin, and eyes. Also, eggs are a rich source of proteins and biotin, two critical nutrients needed for healthy hair growth. One fermented egg contains about 13g of protein, which means 6% of the dietary reference intake (DRI). Also, biotin is required for keratin protein production, which protects the hair shaft.
Loaded with beta-carotene antioxidant that turns into vitamin A, sweet potatoes help protect against dull hair. Vitamin A encourages sebum production, which aids keep hair healthy and protects it from free radicals. Moreover, it’s believed that vitamin A could speed up the rate of hair growth while preventing other hair follicles from regressing.
Beans are another excellent plant-based sources of protein, indispensable for hair growth. They provide many other hair-healthy nutrients, including iron, biotin, and folate. Besides, beans are a great source of protein and zinc and are rich in folic acid, one of the B-complex vitamins that help keep hair healthy and promote new hair growth.
Avocados contain biotin and vitamin E, a known powerful antioxidant that promotes hair growth. Moreover, it aids in protecting the scalp from external factors and oxidative stress — a damaged or dry scalp can lead to weakening the hair, making it prone to fall. Apart from being so delicious, avocados are a potent source of healthy fatty acids that cannot be produced by the body but are required for building blocks of the cells.
Spinach is packed with iron, magnesium, and folate. Plus, the vitamin C in these leafy veggies helps to protect the cell membranes of hair follicles while vitamin A helps the skin glands to produce sebum. You need both to maintain moisture in the scalp, preventing it from becoming dry and itchy, which may lead to hair breakage. Spinach is also rich in iron, and we already know that an iron deficiency can cause hair loss.
Although carrots are known for improving your eyesight, these veggies may also boost hair health. Carrots contain vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, C, and K, and nutrients such as potassium, fiber, and phosphorus that are able to strengthen the hair and maintain a healthy scalp.
Grapes contain polyphenolic compounds with high antioxidant activities, ideal to neutralize free radicals and keep hair healthy. Besides, OPC found in grapes reduces dihydrotestosterone (DHT) production, which is a hormone that often attacks hair follicles and causes cellular damage.
Berries contain a lot of beneficial compounds and vitamins that might promote hair growth. Among them, we count vitamin C, which has powerful antioxidant properties with the role of protecting hair follicles.
Nuts and peanuts
Nuts and peanuts are among the best foods for hair growth since 30g of almonds provide about 37% vitamin E of your DRI. Furthermore, nuts provide zinc, B vitamins, and essential fatty acids needed for hair growth. Because peanuts are super filling, they are an ideal swap for meat if you are vegetarian or vegan. Even more, peanuts are a significant source of biotin..
Seeds are an excellent source of nutrients that may promote hair growth, such as vitamin E, selenium, and zinc. One ounce of sunflower seeds contains about 50% of the daily vitamin E needed, including also various B vitamins. Chia seeds are full of omega-3s, fiber, and antioxidants and are considered a complete protein that can help promote healthy hair. On the other hand, flax seeds are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids that can promote scalp nourishment, preventing dryness and itching. You can add flax seeds to your yogurt, add some to your smoothie, or simply add them to any baked food recipes. However, to get the most extensive variety of nutrients, it’s best to consume a mixture of seeds.
As a super-rich source of omega-3 fatty acids and protein, salmon can help keep your hair healthy. For reference, this research shows that a 6-month supplementation with omegas 3 & 6 and antioxidants had drastically improved hair density in women and reduced hair shedding.
Oysters are among the richest zinc sources, the mineral that supports the hair growth and regeneration cycle. Extreme zinc deficiencies can cause hair loss, so it’s vital to keep up the zinc level in your body. As overtaking zinc might have the opposite effect, it may be more convenient to take your zinc dose from oysters than supplements.
Sardines and shrimp
Since sardines contain omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, they’re great to promote hair growth and healthy-looking hair. Keep in mind that sardines in water are a better option than in oil, as they contain lower amounts of cholesterol and fat. Shrimps are also rich in many nutrients that have the potential to promote hair growth. For instance, shrimp are a great source of protein, B vitamins, zinc, iron, and vitamin D, and provide a small amount of omega-3 fatty acids. As vitamin D deficiency has been linked to hair loss, it’s important to assure your body’s necessary dose.
Indeed, consuming the right amount of meat will positively impact the appearance of your hair. Women need about 0.36g of protein per pound of their bodyweight — this amounts to 46 grams per day for the average woman. If 100g of turkey meat contains 29g of protein, it provides about 65% of the DRI. Red meat is rich in iron, the mineral that helps oxygen to be delivered to the body, including the hair follicles.