Many people want strong and healthy hair, especially as they grow older. Interestingly, your hair grows around 0.5 inches (1.25 cm) per month, and 6 inches (15 cm) per year. How fast it grows depends on factors like age, health, genetics and diet.
Although you can’t change factors like age and genetics, diet is one thing you have control over. In fact, consuming a diet lacking the right nutrients can lead to hair loss. On the other hand, eating a balanced diet with the right nutrients can help promote hair growth, especially if you’re experiencing hair loss due to poor nutrition.
Here are the 18 best foods you can eat to promote hair growth.
Salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have a number of health benefits.
“Omega-3’s are anti-inflammatory. They can help if you have inflammation that’s causing hair shedding,” dermatologist Dr. Carolyn Jacob told EatThis.com when speaking about the best foods to prevent hair loss. Some other great sources of omega-3s include walnuts, chia seeds, and flax seeds.
In addition to helping you stay fit and disease-free, omega-3’s enable you to grow hair and keep it shiny and full. According to nutritionist Dr. Joseph Debé, CD, CDN, both male-pattern balding and female hair loss is often associated with insulin resistance. Salmon is one food that helps the body process insulin more efficiently.
Plus, salmon and other fatty fish are teeming with follicle-stimulating vitamin D. Per a study printed in The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, vitamin D may also help stimulate hair follicles that have become dormant. In other words, there’s evidence to suggest the nutrient may help prevent thinning hair and even bald spots.
A deficiency of minerals can cause hair loss. Including spinach in the diet can balance the level of minerals and folate, iron, vitamin A and vitamin C that promote hair growth. Spinach is also a natural hair conditioner as it contains sebum. Omega 3 acids in Spinach can help keep hair healthy and shiny.
Eggs are chock full of protein and essential nutrients that contribute to hair health, such as choline and vitamins A, D, and B12 . Make sure you keep the yolk in your scramble to get the most vitamin D, though. Two specific carotenoids found in eggs, lutein and zeaxanthin, also play a role in maintaining cellular health, especially of eyes, skin, and hair.
Unsweetened plain Greek yogurt and its friend skyr contains tons of protein and they’re ultra versatile, lending themselves to both sweet-but-tart breakfasts (think smoothies and parfaits) and savory fare (like dips and condiments). The greatest attribute of yogurt: the probiotics, the good bacteria that helps your body absorb nutrients. Choose brands that have five strains or more of bacterial cultures per 6-ounce serving.
Cinnamon boosts healthy blood circulation to brain and hair follicles. Cinnamon can be consumed by adding it to beverages such as coffee.
Berries are a great source of Vitamin C, Antioxidants, Fiber, and Manganese therefore including them in your diet can help fight off harmful chemicals exposed to air pollution.
Soybean is a great source of iron and spermidine. Many women who suffer from iron deficiency can consume soybeans on regular basis to wipe out such deficiency issues. Apart from that soybeans also helps in improving metabolism, protect heart health and in gaining healthy weight.
If you find your hair thinning or falling out completely, it could be because you’re not getting enough zinc in your diet. Thankfully, research has shown that hair loss related to zinc deficiency can be reversed simply by eating more of the all-important nutrient. According to a review in the journal Dermatology Research and Practice, 5 milligrams per kilogram of body weight was sufficient to induce hair growth in patients with alopecia. One way to boost your zinc intake is to load up on oysters. Just six of the shelled seafood will give you 30 milligrams of zinc, which is double the DV of the nutrient! Some other foods high in zinc include meat and beans.
Nuts are again a great source of Vitamin E. Having one ounce of nuts can satiate 37% of daily requirement. They are also a great source of essential fatty acids which are good for health.
Guavas, like tangerines, are high in vitamin C. In a study published in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, a vitamin C supplement was found to promote “significant hair growth in women with temporary hair thinning.” Although we often think of oranges as the best source of vitamin C, one guava packs four to five times as much.
Avocados are delicious, nutritious and a great source of healthy fats. They are also an excellent source of vitamin E, which may promote hair growth. One medium avocado (about 200 grams) provides 21% of your daily vitamin E needs.
Like vitamin C, vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps combat oxidative stress by neutralizing free radicals.
In one study, people with hair loss experienced 34.5% more hair growth after taking a vitamin E supplement for eight months.
Vitamin E also protects areas of the skin, like the scalp, from oxidative stress and damage. Damaged skin on the scalp can result in poor hair quality and fewer hair follicles.
What’s more, avocados are a great source of essential fatty acids. These fats cannot be produced by the body, but are essential building blocks of your cells. A deficiency in essential fatty acids has been linked to hair loss.
While we’re used to hearing about the heart-healthy benefits of salmon, omega-3 and vitamin D-packed sardines come readily and cheaply available in canned form. (Just buy them in water, not oil!) Try adding sardines to salads and spreads as a lower-mercury alternative to other fatty fish.
Looking for a vegetarian or vegan source of omega-3s? Chia seeds are full of them, not to mention fiber, protein, and antioxidants. These tiny, shelf-stable seeds can go in anything from soups to cereal, smoothies to puddings, and even as a heart-healthy boost in baked goods.
As we mentioned, iron deficiency can lead to hair loss, most notably in women. Iron is plentiful in our ol’ friend spinach (and other dark leafy greens), soybeans, lentils, fortified grains, and pasta. Liver may sound much less appetizing, but if you like pâté, your hair will benefit. Organ meats like liver have iron in abundance.
When converted to vitamin A, beta-carotene protects against dry, dull hair and stimulates the glands in your scalp to make an oily fluid called sebum. So where do you find this elixir of the locks? Orange-colored fruits and vegetables are your best bet: Sweet potatoes, pumpkin, cantaloupe, and mangoes.
Copper is essential for keratin fiber strength, according to a Dermatologic Clinics report. The trace mineral may also help hair maintain its natural color and prevent graying, according to a 2012 Biological Trace Element Research study. A cup of cooked shiitake mushrooms contains 1,299 micrograms of the mineral, which is 145 percent of your RDA. Seaweed and sesame seeds are also great sources.
The B vitamin folate is found in abundance in asparagus, as well as avocados, oranges, and broccoli. This nutrient is responsible for gene synthesis and red blood cell formation. It also plays a big part in breaking down protein, therefore providing the building blocks of hair follicles.
Tomatoes come packed with vitamin C, which assists several enzymes in doing their jobs. One of those jobs is the formation and maintenance of the collagen — the structural protein found in your skin.