There are some major factors that influence your hair—genetics, age, hormones, nutrient deficiencies, and more—but what you eat is one of the few things you can do to control your hair’s behavior. After all, if you are predisposed to thin, so-so hair, you wouldn’t want to make it worse by consuming the wrong foods, would you? And even if you belong in a hair commercial, you’d like to protect that look, right? That’s where picking the right healthy foods for hair growth comes in.
By eating nutrient-rich foods that are scientifically proven to help your hair—and avoiding those that only do harm—you can influence your hair’s thickness, its growth or shedding, how shiny it is, and even its likelihood of greying.
Here are the 11 best foods you can eat to promote hair growth.
Eggs contain protein and biotin – two nutrients that promote hair growth and can also help repair the damage. Eating a diet high in protein can promote hair growth and biotin helps produce a hair protein called keratin, which helps with hair growth. Eggs also high in zinc and some other healthy nutrients that can help get healthy hair.
You can use it as a hair mask or in your diet. The benefits can be obtained in any manner used but it is important to use them in good quantity.
2. Spinach and Other Dark Leafy Greens Provide Iron
Iron is an essential mineral that your hair cells require. In fact, a deficiency of iron in the body may cause hair loss. When your body is running low on iron, oxygen and nutrients are not getting transported to the hair roots and follicles adequately which can inhibit growth and make your strands weak.
Berries are loaded with beneficial compounds and vitamins that may promote hair growth. This includes vitamin C, which has strong antioxidant properties.
Antioxidants can help protect hair follicles against damage from harmful molecules called free radicals. These molecules exist naturally in the body and the environment.
For example, 1 cup (144 grams) of strawberries provides an impressive 141% of your daily vitamin C needs.
Also, the body uses vitamin C to produce collagen, a protein that helps strengthen hair to prevent it from becoming brittle and breaking. What’s more, vitamin C helps the body absorb iron from the diet. Low iron levels may cause anemia, which has been linked to hair loss.
4. Nuts and Seeds
Some nuts and seeds such as almonds, walnuts and flaxseeds contain Omega-3 fatty acids, which helps nourish the hair and support thickening of the hair. Also, our body can’t make this fatty acid which is why it is essential to get it from an outside source. Another good source of Omega-3 fatty acids is fish.
5. Citrus Fruits to Get Your Dose of Vitamin C
Your body requires Vitamin C for iron absorption therefore; you need to add citrus fruits to your diet. Nutritionists recommend that one lime per day is enough to get your daily dose of Vitamin C. Just make yourself a chilled glass of nimbu paani (with honey or a healthy alternative to refined sugar) and you’re sorted. You could also opt for oranges. Vitamin C is also required for the production of collagen that make capillaries that connect to the hair shafts strong thus, ensuring regular supply of nutrients and quick hair growth.
Carrots are an excellent source to boost hair growth and improving the overall health of the hair. Carrots are high in vitamin A which can help stimulate sebum production in the scalp and help fight problems such as hair loss. It also builds overall strength of the hair. It also contains vitamins B, C, E and fiber, potassium and phosphorus – all of which improve blood circulation in the scalp and promote hair growth. You can eat it raw, cooked or drink it as a juice.
Avocado oil is rich in proteins, amino acids and vitamins, which helps promote long, strong and healthy hair growth. It also helps rejuvenate and moisturize the scalp. Vitamin E for avocado improves blood circulation and helps the follicles work more efficiently to promote hair growth. You can add it to a salad or drink it as a smoothie.
8. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish like salmon, herring and mackerel have nutrients that may promote hair growth. They are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to hair growth.
A study in 120 women found that taking a supplement containing omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids as well as antioxidants reduced hair loss and increased hair density.
Another study found that taking a fish oil supplement significantly reduced hair loss and increased hair growth in women with thinning hair.
However, there are only a handful of studies on omega-3 fatty acids and hair growth. More studies are needed before health experts can make any recommendations.
Fatty fish is also a great source of protein, selenium, vitamin D3 and B vitamins, nutrients that may help promote strong and healthy hair.
9. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a great source of beta-carotene. The body converts this compound into vitamin A, which is linked to good hair health.
A medium sweet potato (about 114 grams) contains enough beta-carotene to provide more than four times your daily vitamin A needs. Research has shown that vitamin A promotes the production of sebum, which helps keep hair healthy.
What’s more, vitamin A could also speed up the rate of hair growth and encourage the growth of thicker hair, all while preventing other hair follicles from regressing.
Oysters are one of the best food sources of zinc. Zinc is a mineral that helps support the hair growth and repair cycle.
A lack of zinc in the diet may promote telogen effluvium, a common but reversible form of hair loss caused by a lack of nutrients in the diet.
Studies have shown that taking a zinc supplement can reverse the effects of hair loss caused by a zinc deficiency.
However, taking too much zinc could also promote hair loss. That’s why getting zinc from foods like oysters may be better than taking supplements, since foods provide zinc in small but healthy doses.
Shrimp are popular shellfish rich in many nutrients that have the potential to promote hair growth. For example, shrimp are a great source of protein, B vitamins, zinc, iron and vitamin D. A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of shrimp provides 38% of your daily vitamin D needs.
Interestingly, studies have linked vitamin D3 deficiency to hair loss.
Despite being very low in fat, shrimp also provide a small amount of omega-3 fatty acids. Diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to improved hair growth.
However, working on your diet and eating sufficient nutrients can help treat hair loss and promote hair growth. Try adding some of these ingredients in your diet and see the improvement yourself. Remember to consult a doctor to check for allergies before you start with any of these.