10 best foods to eat for healthy hair growth according to dietitians
10 best foods to eat for healthy hair growth according to dietitians
Eating the right foods can help promote hair growth and keep your hair healthy, strong, and shiny. In this comprehensive guide, we'll discuss the top 10 best foods to eat for healthy hair according to dietitians. You'll learn why these nutritional powerhouses support hair growth and how to add them to your diet for lush, beautiful locks. Read on to nourish your hair from the inside out!
- Why Your Diet Matters for Healthy Hair
- Fatty Fish
- Sweet Potatoes
- Beans and Lentils
- Greek Yogurt
- Sunflower Seeds
- Diet Tips for Healthy Hair
- What are the best foods for hair growth?
- Is hair growth linked to diet?
- Can certain foods help improve hair density?
- Are there specific foods that can make hair grow faster?
- Can what you eat affect hair loss?
- What nutrients and vitamins are essential for hair growth?
- How can I add these foods to my diet?
- Can a hair mask help with hair growth?
- What is the hair growth cycle?
- How does biotin help hair growth?
Healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp and getting the right nutrients in your diet can help optimize hair growth and volume. Many factors influence hair health including genetics, stress, hormonal changes, and nutrient deficiencies. Eating a diet rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, iron, and vitamins A, C, and E can give your hair the nutrients it needs to grow strong.
While hair growth supplements can provide a boost, you can get many hair-healthy nutrients right from nutrient-dense whole foods. In this article, we'll highlight the top 10 best foods to eat for healthy hair and explain why they are so beneficial for hair health. Keep reading to learn how to eat for luscious locks!
Why Your Diet Matters for Healthy Hair
Your diet and nutrition have a big impact on your hair health. Getting enough protein and essential vitamins and minerals can nourish hair follicles for optimal growth. Deficiencies in iron, zinc, vitamin D, and essential fatty acids may result in hair loss or brittle, weak hair.
Eating a varied, nutrient-rich diet helps provide the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and proteins your hair needs to grow strong. Foods like fatty fish, eggs, avocados, nuts, seeds, and leafy greens are especially great for hair. A balanced diet with these hair-healthy foods promotes a healthy scalp and may help prevent hair thinning.
While nutrient deficiencies can lead to hair loss, getting enough of these nutrients can help:
- Protein - Hair is made mostly of a protein called keratin. Adequate protein intake is key for healthy hair growth.
- Zinc - This mineral helps regulate oil production in hair follicles. Zinc deficiency can lead to hair shedding.
- Iron - Iron carries oxygen to hair follicles. Low iron levels may cause anemia-related hair loss.
- Biotin - This B vitamin helps strengthen hair and prevent dryness and brittleness.
- Vitamin C - Vitamin C aids iron absorption. It also boosts collagen production for hair growth.
- Vitamin E - This antioxidant vitamin nourishes the scalp and helps grow strong hair.
- Omega-3s - These healthy fats promote hair thickening and shine.
Now let's look at the top 10 best foods for healthy hair and how to add them to your diet!
Eggs are one of the best foods to eat for healthy hair. They contain zinc, iron, vitamin A, selenium, and plenty of protein. Just two large eggs provide about 12 grams of high-quality protein as well as biotin, vitamin D, B vitamins, and folate.
These nutrients support hair health in many ways:
- Protein is vital for hair growth and repair. Keratin protein makes up about 90% of your hair.
- Zinc helps maintain optimal oil production in hair follicles to prevent dryness.
- Iron carries oxygen to nourish hair follicles for strong hair growth.
- Biotin, a B vitamin, may help prevent hair thinning and brittleness.
Aim for at least two eggs per day to nourish hair follicles and promote thickness. Enjoy scrambled, hard-boiled, or poached eggs for breakfast, or add eggs to salads and grain bowls.
2. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, and herring are excellent foods for healthy hair. They provide omega-3 fatty acids, high-quality protein, vitamin D, selenium, and B vitamins.
Omega-3s help build healthy hair:
- They keep hair hydrated and nourished to prevent dry, brittle hair.
- Omega-3s may also help thicken hair follicles for fuller hair.
- The anti-inflammatory effects help maintain a healthy scalp.
Aim for two or three four-ounce servings per week. Bake, grill, or pan-sear fatty fish, or enjoy canned varieties like sardines.
Avocados are packed with hair-healthy vitamins, minerals, and monounsaturated fatty acids. They provide vitamins E, C, K, and various B vitamins along with zinc, iron, magnesium, and potassium.
Avocados promote hair growth:
- Vitamin E is an antioxidant that may help grow thicker hair.
- Vitamin C aids collagen production necessary for hair growth.
- The fats help keep hair moisturized and prevent brittle hair.
- B vitamins like biotin strengthen hair strands.
Enjoy half an avocado daily in smoothies or on toast, or use avocado oil for cooking. The healthy fats help your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins for healthier hair.
Nuts and seeds are excellent plant-based sources of protein, omega-3s, zinc, selenium, and vitamin E. Walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, pistachios, and peanuts are especially great for hair health.
A handful of mixed nuts daily provides key nutrients that prevent hair shedding and promote growth:
- Zinc helps maintain optimal oil production in hair follicles.
- Vitamin E nourishes the scalp and boosts shine.
- Plant protein provides the amino acids hair needs to grow strong.
- Omega-3s keep hair hydrated and volumized.
Aim for an ounce or two of nuts per day. Enjoy nuts as snacks, in trail mixes, or blended into smoothies.
5. Sweet Potatoes
Orange vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, and pumpkin are packed with vitamin A, a nutrient vital for scalp health and normal hair growth.
Just one medium baked sweet potato with skin provides over 700% of your daily vitamin A, along with vitamin C, B vitamins, potassium, and fiber.
Vitamin A benefits hair:
- It helps make sebum, which moisturizes the scalp to prevent dandruff.
- Vitamin A may also help thicken hair by stimulating growth.
- Beta-carotene antioxidants protect hair follicles against damage.
Enjoy baked, roasted, or mashed sweet potatoes 2-3 times per week for vitamin A and fiber.
Leafy greens like spinach are loaded with folate, iron, and vitamins A and C to nourish hair follicles and prevent shedding. Spinach is one of the best plant-based sources of iron, which carries oxygen to hair follicles for growth.
Just one cup of cooked spinach provides:
- 20% of your daily vitamin A
- Over 5x your daily vitamin K needs
- 1/3 of your daily folate
- 6 grams of fiber
Aim for 1-2 cups of cooked spinach or other leafy greens like kale 4-5 times per week. Add spinach to omelets, pastas, and soups.
7. Beans and Lentils
Beans and lentils are excellent vegan sources of protein, iron, zinc, and biotin for plant-based hair health. Options like chickpeas, kidney beans, and lentils provide fiber, folate, and vitamins C and B6 too.
Beans support hair growth:
- Plant protein provides amino acids to build strong keratin hair protein.
- Iron carries oxygen to hair follicles to boost growth.
- Zinc regulates oil production for a healthy scalp and shiny hair.
- Biotin may prevent hair thinning and dryness.
Aim for 1/2 cup cooked beans or lentils daily in soups, salads, and Mexican dishes like burrito bowls. This provides about 15 grams of plant protein.
Oysters stand out as one of the best sources of zinc, providing over 500% of your daily needs in just six medium oysters. Zinc deficiency can lead to hair loss, so eating zinc-rich foods like oysters promotes healthy hair.
Oysters also provide:
- Protein for keratin formation
- Iron to carry oxygen to hair follicles
- B vitamins for hair strength
- Selenium and omega-3 fatty acids
Enjoy two to three ounces of oysters two to three times per week. Oysters are delicious raw, baked, or fried.
9. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt stands out as a great food for hair health thanks to its combo of protein, vitamin B5, zinc, potassium, and calcium. It provides hair-strengthening protein along with probiotics for a healthy scalp.
Just one six-ounce serving of Greek yogurt provides:
- 15-20 grams of protein
- 30% of your daily calcium
- 15-20% of your daily B12 and zinc
- Live probiotic cultures
Choose plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt and enjoy a few times per week with fruit, oats, or in smoothies. The protein helps preserve hair strength and shine.
10. Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are an easy way to add more vitamin E, zinc, selenium, and protein to your diet for healthy hair. Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant to protect hair strands while zinc supports oil production.
A quarter-cup of sunflower seeds offers about:
- 5 grams of protein
- Half your daily vitamin E
- 15% of your daily selenium
- Zinc, magnesium, and B vitamins
Sprinkle sunflower seeds onto oats, yogurts, salads or enjoy as a snack. Combine with almonds, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds for a hair-healthy trail mix.
Diet Tips for Healthy Hair
Now that you know the top foods for healthy hair, focus on including them in a balanced diet. Here are some tips for eating for strong, shiny hair:
- Eat plenty of protein-rich foods like eggs, Greek yogurt, fish, beans, nuts, and seeds.
- Get omega-3s from fatty fish, walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseed.
- Load up on vitamin C with citrus fruits, bell peppers, and broccoli.
- Eat iron-rich foods like spinach, lentils, oysters, and pumpkin seeds.
- Snack on zinc-rich foods like pumpkin seeds, cashews, and chickpeas.
- Choose biotin-rich foods like eggs, salmon, sweet potatoes, and avocados.
While diet is key, other lifestyle factors affect hair health too. Be sure to:
- Manage stress levels with yoga, meditation, or journaling
- Get enough sleep and physical activity
- Avoid very tight hairstyles that can damage hair
- Use gentle, nourishing hair products
- Address nutritional deficiencies with a doctor if needed
Your diet and nutrition have a big impact on your hair health and growth. Eating nutrient-rich foods that provide protein, omega-3s, iron, zinc, and vitamins A, C, and E provides the building blocks for shiny, healthy hair.
Focus on getting plenty of foods like fatty fish, eggs, avocados, nuts, seeds, yogurt, leafy greens, and sweet potatoes. Aim for a balanced diet with antioxidants, essential fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins to nourish your scalp and hair follicles.
While supplements can provide an extra boost, getting these hair-healthy nutrients right from a varied diet is ideal. Eat the best foods for healthy hair for luscious, strong locks from the inside out!
What are the best foods for hair growth?
The 10 best foods to eat for healthy hair growth, according to dietitians, are: 1. Salmon: Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which promote hair growth. 2. Spinach: Packed with iron, vitamins and minerals that promote a healthy scalp. 3. Eggs: A great source of protein and biotin, which are essential for hair growth. 4. Sweet potatoes: Rich in beta-carotene, which your body converts to vitamin A that promotes hair growth. 5. Avocado: Contains vitamin E, which improves the health of your hair and scalp. 6. Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, and cashews are good sources of zinc, which helps hair grow. 7. Oysters: A rich source of zinc and other minerals that aid in hair growth. 8. Bell peppers: High in vitamin C, which boosts collagen production for strong and healthy hair. 9. Lentils: Provide protein, iron, zinc, and biotin, all necessary for healthy hair. 10. Greek yogurt: Contains vitamin B5 and vitamin D that enhance hair health and growth.
Is hair growth linked to diet?
Yes, there is a strong link between diet and hair growth. Consuming a balanced diet rich in nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and protein can improve the health of your hair and promote its growth.
Can certain foods help improve hair density?
Yes, certain foods can help improve hair density. Foods rich in nutrients like iron, biotin, zinc, and vitamins A, C, and E can enhance hair health and promote the growth of new hair strands.
Are there specific foods that can make hair grow faster?
While specific foods cannot magically make hair grow faster, a healthy diet that includes the right nutrients can support the natural hair growth cycle and help maintain strong and healthy hair.
Can what you eat affect hair loss?
Yes, what you eat can affect hair loss. A nutrient-deficient diet may result in poor hair quality and may lead to hair loss. It is important to ensure your diet includes the necessary nutrients for healthy hair.
What nutrients and vitamins are essential for hair growth?
Several nutrients and vitamins are essential for hair growth, including: - Biotin: Also known as vitamin B7, biotin helps hair grow and strengthens hair strands. - Zinc: Promotes hair growth and prevents hair loss. - Vitamin E: Improves the health of hair and scalp. - Vitamin C: Boosts collagen production for strong and healthy hair. - Iron: Necessary for carrying oxygen to hair follicles.
How can I add these foods to my diet?
You can add these foods to your diet by including them in your meals and snacks. For example, you can have salmon for dinner, spinach in your salads, eggs for breakfast, and nuts as a mid-day snack. Experiment with recipes and find ways to incorporate these hair-healthy foods into your daily meals.
Can a hair mask help with hair growth?
While a hair mask may not directly promote hair growth, it can help protect and nourish your hair, making it less prone to breakage and damage. Regularly using a hair mask can improve the overall health of your hair, creating a favorable environment for hair growth.
What is the hair growth cycle?
The hair growth cycle consists of three phases: anagen, catagen, and telogen. During the anagen phase, the hair actively grows. In the catagen phase, the hair follicle transitions and prepares for the resting phase. Finally, in the telogen phase, the hair rests and eventually sheds, leading to the emergence of new hair.
How does biotin help hair growth?
Biotin, also known as vitamin B7, is a nutrient that helps hair grow. It plays a crucial role in the production of keratin, a protein that makes up the structure of hair. Biotin deficiency may lead to hair loss or weak, brittle hair.