11 Foods That Help With Hair Growth
A commonly overlooked cause of hair loss, however, is nutrient deficiency. To help combat this, you can make some simple changes to an otherwise balanced diet to work to promote healthier hair and boost growth, including the 11 options outlined below:
Avocados are a stone fruit that grows in warm climates and are packed with a wide variety of beneficial nutrients, including vitamins C, E, K, and B6. These nutrients act as antioxidants that help reduce oxidative stress and neutralize free radicals that can damage hair follicles. Avocados are also packed with healthy fats, all of which can help promote healthy hair growth.
Other beneficial hair ingredients found in avocados include:
- Pantothenic acid;
- Omega-3 fatty acids.
Berries (like strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries, as a few popular examples) contain high levels of vitamin C and other antioxidants that can help minimize hair damage, maximize hair health, and promote growth.
Berries also have useful vitamins for hair health. Furthermore, your body uses the vitamin C found in berries as a base for creating collagen, an essential protein for strong, healthy hair. Vitamin C is also a vital component for absorbing iron from the foods you eat, which can prevent anemia-related hair loss.
Hair follicles are made from protein, so a deficiency in this area can lead to hair loss. Fortunately, eggs contain high levels of proteins that can help promote hair health and growth.
Eggs also contain biotin, a precursor to the protein keratin, another critical component in hair strength and health. Keep in mind, however, that most people with balanced diets aren’t deficient in biotin. Therefore, consuming more of it likely won’t deliver a noticeable difference in your hair health or growth unless you’re deficient.
The good news is that in addition to consuming eggs for their hair-health benefits, you can also crack one open and apply it directly to your hair, which can help moisturize, prevent over-drying, and infuse it with vitamins.
4. Fatty Fish
Fatty, oily fish like salmon (farmed and wild), albacore tuna, herring, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, and trout contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which have limited clinical evidence linking it to hair growth and density.
In addition to omega-3, fatty fish also feature essential components like vitamin D3, B vitamins, protein, and selenium.
If you don’t like fish and are deficient in omega-3, you can also take a standalone supplement to achieve many of the same potential benefits. Alternately, foods like eggs,
margarine, milk (including soy), juice, and yogurt also contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids.
Nuts (pistachios, almonds, cashews, etc.) contain several nutrients that can help deliver a healthy scalp and hair and reduce inflammation that can lead to hair loss, including vitamin E, zinc, fatty acids, and a wide variety of B vitamins.
Similarly, many seeds (sunflower, chia, etc.) contain high vitamin E and zinc levels, along with selenium and fatty acids. In fact, certain seeds like flax seeds and chia seeds deliver almost as much omega-3 as some fatty fish.
Oats are naturally rich in a variety of components that can maximize hair health and thickness, including iron, fiber, zinc, and omega-3 and polyunsaturated fatty acids. You can also add chia seeds to boost the nutrient content even further.
Like eggs, you can also apply oatmeal directly to your scalp, which can help moisturize and relieve dryness that can negatively affect your hair’s health and appearance. Plus, massaging oatmeal into your scalp doesn’t just feel great, but it can also boost blood flow to the area and exfoliate dead skin cells.
If you want to maximize the zinc in your diet, look no further than oysters, which deliver more than most other foods. This is especially important if you’re deficient in zinc, which has been shown to cause hair loss due to a lack of nutrients.
Fortunately, eating oysters or taking a zinc supplement can help reverse any deficiencies while supporting hair growth and boosting the repair cycle. Zinc is also a powerful antioxidant, which can help prevent and repair damaged hair cells.
Soybeans contain a complete profile of plant-based proteins and a compound called spermidine, which has been shown to reduce some types of hair loss (male and female pattern baldness, specifically). Soybeans are also rich in protein, making them a great alternative to eggs and/or meat.
Spinach contains folate, iron, and vitamins A and C, which can help moisturize hair and promote growth. In fact, just one cup of spinach provides up to half of your daily vitamin A needs.
Another component in spinach — iron — is critical for carrying oxygen throughout your body, which aids metabolism and hair growth and repair.
10. Sweet Peppers
Sweet peppers, whether red, green, yellow, orange, or purple, contain high vitamin C levels.
This antioxidant helps reduce the presence of free radicals, which can damage hair and reduce its overall quality. In fact, some sweet peppers contain more than five times the vitamin C content found in an orange.
Sweet peppers are also a significant source of vitamin A, which may accelerate hair growth, boost sebum production, and maximize your hair’s health.
11. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A.
In fact, 114 grams of sweet potato delivers enough beta-carotene to provide more than four times the amount of vitamin A you need daily. It can also help speed up hair growth, promote thicker hair, and prevent hair follicle regression.
Sweet potatoes can also help your scalp produce sebum, which is a key component of healthy hair.
Additional Hair Growth Considerations
While each of these foods contains components that can help boost hair health and growth, it’s important to emphasize that, all things equal, not everyone will benefit. Furthermore, keep in mind that changing your diet does not automatically equate to hair growth, as different types of hair need different kinds of nutrients.