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What to Eat, Drink & Avoid

Some of the best foods for hair growth are foods with high nutritional value, like eggs, leafy greens, and fatty fish. Deficiencies in nutrients can affect hair health.

Your hair health and how fast it grows depends on many factors, including:

  • age
  • overall health
  • genetics
  • environmental exposure
  • medications
  • diet

Although you can’t change some of these factors, you likely have more control over your diet.

Vitamins and minerals from food play an important role in the hair follicle growth cycle and cellular turnover (1).

A diet lacking in needed nutrients can lead to hair loss, including deficiencies in (1):

  • vitamins B12 and D
  • biotin
  • riboflavin
  • iron

Eating a balanced diet rich in these vitamins and minerals may help promote hair growth, especially if your hair loss is due to poor nutrition.

While more research is needed to understand the connection between micronutrients and hair loss, ensuring you’re getting enough of these 13 foods rich in nutrients that support hair growth is a good idea.

1. Eggs for protein and biotin

Eggs are a great source of protein and biotin, two essential nutrients for hair growth.

Eating enough protein supports hair growth because hair follicles are mostly made of protein. A lack of protein may cause hair loss (2).

Biotin is essential for the production of a hair protein called keratin, which is why biotin supplements are often marketed for hair growth. Biotin can help improve hair growth in people with a biotin deficiency (3).

However, biotin deficiencies are uncommon if you consume a balanced diet. There is little evidence suggesting that people with limited or no health issues benefit from consuming more biotin (1).

Consuming high amounts of biotin can interfere with laboratory results used to diagnose and manage various conditions (2).

While you are unlikely to consume excess biotin through food, many supplements for hair, skin, and nail growth contain biotin over the recommended daily intake (1).

Eggs are also a great source of zinc, selenium, and other hair-healthy nutrients. This makes them one of the best foods for optimal hair health (4).

2. Berries for antioxidants and collagen production

Berries are loaded with beneficial compounds and vitamins that may support 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 (5).

For example, 1 cup (144 grams) of strawberries provides 85 milligrams or up to 113% of your daily vitamin C needs (6).

The body also uses vitamin C to produce collagen, a protein that helps strengthen hair to prevent it from becoming brittle and breaking (1)

What’s more, vitamin C helps the body absorb iron from the diet. Low iron levels may cause iron deficiency anemia, which has been linked to hair loss (1).

3. Spinach for vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, and folate

Spinach is a healthy green vegetable loaded with beneficial nutrients like folate, iron, and vitamins A and C, which are important for hair growth (7).

Studies suggest vitamin A is important for hair growth. But, supplementing with too much vitamin A can lead to hair loss (1).

You should be able to get all the vitamin A you need by eating foods rich in this important nutrient.

A cup (30 grams) of spinach provides up to 20% of your daily vitamin A needs (7).

Spinach is also a great plant-based source of iron, which is essential for hair growth. Iron helps red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body to fuel your metabolism and aid growth and repair (8).

Iron deficiency may cause hair loss (9).

4. Fatty fish for omega-3 fatty acids and protein

Fatty fish like salmon, herring, and mackerel have nutrients that may promote hair growth.

They are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which may support hair growth.

An older study of 120 females found that a supplement containing omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and antioxidants reduced hair loss and increased hair density (10).

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, which may help promote strong and healthy hair (11).

Some studies have linked vitamin D3 deficiency to hair loss (1, 12).

While it is still unclear if low vitamin D leads to hair loss, it’s a good idea to include fatty fish and other sources of vitamin D regularly in your diet.

5. Sweet potatoes for beta-carotene

Sweet potatoes are a good source of beta-carotene. The body converts this compound into vitamin A, which is linked to hair health.

A medium sweet potato (about 114 grams) contains enough beta carotene to provide up to 160% of your daily vitamin A needs (13).

Research has shown that vitamin A can affect the production of sebum, which helps keep hair healthy (14).

Vitamin A deficiency can lead to hair loss (15).

However, too much vitamin A can also cause hair loss (1, 14).

Aim to meet your needs by eating vitamin-A–rich foods like sweet potatoes and avoiding too much supplementation.

6. Avocados for healthy fats and vitamin E

Avocados are delicious, nutritious, and a great source of healthy fats.

They also provide an excellent source of vitamin E, which may support hair growth. One medium avocado (about 200 grams) provides 28% of your daily vitamin E needs (16).

Like vitamin C, vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps prevent oxidative stress by neutralizing free radicals.

Some studies have found lower levels of vitamin E in people with hair loss, but the evidence is conflicting (1).

In one older study, people with hair loss experienced 34.5% more hair growth after taking a vitamin E supplement for 8 months (17).

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 (18).

7. Nuts for vitamin E, vitamin B, zinc, and healthy fats

Nuts are tasty, convenient, and contain a variety of nutrients that are important for hair growth.

For example, an ounce (28 grams) of almonds provides 48% of your daily vitamin E needs (19).

They also provide a variety of B vitamins, zinc, and essential fatty acids. Deficiency in any of these nutrients may contribute to hair loss (1).

Nuts have also been linked to other health benefits besides hair growth, including reduced inflammation and a lower risk of heart disease (20).

8. Seeds for vitamin E, zinc, and selenium

Seeds are rich in nutrients with relatively few calories. Many of these nutrients also support hair growth. These include vitamin E, zinc, and selenium.

An ounce (28 grams) of sunflower seeds provides nearly 50% of your daily vitamin E needs, with a wide variety of hair-healthy B vitamins (21).

Certain seeds like flaxseeds and chia seeds also provide omega-3 fatty acids.

Two tablespoons of ground flaxseed provide 4.7 grams of omega-3 fatty acids. (22).

Flaxseeds provide a type of omega-3 fatty acid that is not used by the body as efficiently as the omega-3s found in fatty fish. Nonetheless, they are a great addition to the diet.

To get the widest variety of nutrients, it’s best to consume various types of seeds.

9. Sweet peppers for vitamins C and A

Sweet peppers provide antioxidant-rich vitamin C, which may support hair growth.

One yellow pepper provides up to 456% of the daily vitamin C needs of females and 380% for males (23, 24).

Vitamin C helps promote collagen production, which can help strengthen your hair strands. It’s also a powerful antioxidant, which may protect hair strands against oxidative stress.

Oxidative stress occurs when free radicals overwhelm the body’s antioxidant defense system. It has been linked to hair loss and the graying of hair (25).

Sweet peppers also provide an excellent source of vitamin A (26).

This vitamin is important for hair growth and affects the production of sebum, which helps keep hair healthy.

Oysters are one of the best food sources of zinc. One medium oyster provides up to 96% of daily zinc needs for females and 75% for males (27).

Zinc is a mineral that helps support the hair growth and repair cycle (28).

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. Taking a zinc supplement may reverse the effects of hair loss caused by zinc deficiency (28).

However, too much zinc can cause toxicity. That’s why getting zinc from foods like oysters may be better than supplements since foods provide zinc in small but healthy doses (29).

11. Beans for protein, zinc, and more

Beans are a great plant-based source of protein, which is essential to hair growth.

Like oysters, beans are a good source of zinc, which aids the hair growth and repair cycle. A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of black beans provides up to 14% of a female’s daily zinc needs and 10% for males (30).

They also provide many other hair-healthy nutrients, including iron, biotin, and folate (30).

On top of all these benefits, beans are highly versatile and inexpensive, which makes them an easy addition to the diet.

12. Soybeans for spermidine

Studies have shown that compounds in soybeans may promote hair growth. One of these compounds is spermidine, which is abundant in soybeans (31).

A study of 100 people found that a spermidine-based nutritional supplement prolonged a phase of active hair growth called the anagen phase. The longer a hair follicle stays in the anagen phase, the longer it will grow (32).

Other studies suggest spermidine may promote human hair growth (33).

But, the research on spermidine and hair growth is fairly new, so more studies are needed before health experts can make recommendations on spermidine intake.

13. Meat for protein and iron

Meat contains nutrients that may aid hair growth, including protein and iron.

The protein in meat aids growth and helps repair and strengthen hair follicles. A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of cooked sirloin steak provides as much as 29 grams of protein (34).

Red meat, in particular, is rich in a type of iron that’s easy to absorb. This mineral helps the red blood cells deliver oxygen to all cells in the body, including hair follicles (8).

However, overconsumption of red meat, especially processed red meat, has been linked with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, colorectal cancer, and type 2 diabetes (35).

Deficiencies in protein and iron may contribute to hair loss (1).

What food is best for hair growth?

There is not one food that best supports hair growth. Rather, eating a balanced, nutritious diet that provides the necessary macro and micronutrients can help hair growth. This includes protein sources like fatty fish and red meat and plant foods high in vitamins and other nutrients like spinach, seeds, and nuts.

What foods cause hair to grow faster?

Some foods that support hair growth include eggs, spinach, fatty fish, and sweet potatoes, among others.

What grows hair faster?

A nutritious diet with the recommended essential nutrients, including protein, antioxidants, iron, and fatty acids, can help support healthy hair growth. Avoiding deficiencies can help prevent hair loss due to a lack of nutrients.

Which fruit is best for hair?

Berries provide key antioxidants such as vitamin C. Antioxidants can help prevent damage to follicles from free radicals. Vitamin C also helps your body absorb iron, which is necessary for hair growth.

What you eat can affect the health of your hair.

A lack of proper nutrients, including vitamins A, C, D, and E, zinc, B vitamins, iron, biotin, protein, and essential fatty acids, may slow hair growth or cause hair loss.

Correcting a deficiency in any of these nutrients may help treat hair loss and promote the rate of hair growth.

If you lack any of these nutrients, try adding some of the above foods to your diet.

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