Foods for hair growth
What you eat has a huge impact on the quality and quantity of your hair growth. There are on average around 120,000 hair strands on a person’s scalp and each one requires the right level of nutrition to maintain the hair follicle’s strength and length. If you’re experiencing hair loss related to a poor nutritional intake or you’re just interested in finding out how to grow your hair faster, we’ve listed out all the foods you need to incorporate in your daily diet from morning to night.
There are a number of root causes for hair loss or stunted hair growth. One of the most common reasons is a lack of vitamins and minerals, particularly in menstruating women who can suffer from low levels of iron and vitamin D. If you are lacking in nutrition, the body will naturally divert its current reserves to maintain vital organs such as the heart and liver. This is because hair is a non-vital organ. In order to see growth, you will need to have sufficient levels of vitamins and minerals.
If you suspect hair loss, you should always speak to a medical expert first, particularly before taking vitamin supplements with your diet. Taking vitamin supplements before undergoing a blood test can mask any underlying issues and can change the outcome of the results. There are also other factors which can cause hair loss to consider, from stress and sickness, to genetic hair loss and hormonal changes. Take a look at our causes of hair loss page to help guide you through the different factors that can lead to hair loss.
Experts claim that a Mediterranean diet is the best way to naturally boost the health of your hair. This is described as having a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, nuts, beans, and fatty fish. These are high in protein (amino acids), iron, vitamin B, C, D, and E, and zinc, which are the most important complex needed for hair growth.
Having a balanced diet between proteins, carbohydrates, and fats is the key to supporting healthy hair in the long run. You need all three in a varied diet, as without carbohydrates for example, it’s harder for the body to absorb proteins. Foods should be freshly prepared, with lots of colour from fruit and vegetable.
Remember, the average recommended daily food allowance for men is 2,500 calories and 2,000 for women – depending on your height and lifestyle your calories intake will either be more or less. Being overweight or significantly underweight can be a contributing factor to hair loss too.
Finally, as well as eating clean, you must keep regularly hydrated with two litres of water a day. Water is important for flushing out toxins, keeping the scalp moist with a good production of sebum, and support the overall health and cell production in your body.
We’ve put together a list of the best hair growth foods to incorporate into your breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. You will need to give it three to four months before you see hair growth as this is the average length of the hair’s life cycle to kick start new growth.
Hair boosting meal plan
These seeds are one of the highest sources of protein from nature. For every 100g of chai seeds, 17g is protein. This is very beneficial for those who are vegan or vegetarian trying to increase their protein intake. Protein is the critical building blocks for hair. Why not try this for breakfast with coconut milk, mangos, and a teaspoon of peanut butter.
Another great source of protein and fats is eggs. For every egg, you get 6g of protein. The yolk of the egg is also packed with iron, vitamin B12, and vitamin D (as well as others). You can have it boiled, poached, or as an omelette to start the day.
Easy to have with fruits or grains, natural Greek yogurt is another great protein-based food which also contains vitamin B5. This vitamin is also known to have pantothenic acid, which helps with blood circulation in the scalp.
Rich in iron, beetroot juice can increase hair volume by improving the blood’s ability to carry oxygen and nutrients to the scalp. It also has properties to reduce dryness and fungal issues, which can be a blocker for hair growth. Juicing enables the body to better absorb this.
Many fatty-oil fishes will give you essential vitamins and minerals for your hair. Salmon is a fish which is naturally packed with iron and is high in vitamin D, which is essential for a strong immune system. It also contains omega-3 fatty acids which is used to lubricate the scalp and protect the oil follicles from breakage.
High in vitamin A and C, broccoli supports the production of sebum, which is the natural oil on the scalp. Without it, hair is brittle and dry. Sebum is also a natural barrier from pollutants and helps to lock in moisture into the hair, which is important for longer, stronger hair. You can have these steamed or cooked under a grill for a crunchier taste.
Green is the identifiable characteristic of vegetables which benefit the hair. Spinach is an all-rounder leafy vegetable which is rich in vitamin A, C, B2, B6, B1, E and K. It is also a great source of iron, zinc, and magnesium, though it’s worth noting that if you aren’t vegetarian or vegan, salmon and red meats provide a higher source of iron as they are more digestible to humans. Vitamin Bs help to support the increased growth rate of hair being by supporting keratin and collagen production.
Great on toast, avocados are high in fats – which a good thing. Half of an avocado counts towards one of your five-a-day and is an excellent source of vitamin E and folate. Vitamin E is a natural antioxidant, protecting hair from stress and free radicals.
Having a healthy scalp is an important foundation for healthier hair. Almonds have natural properties which soften and protect the hair and skin from damage. It is great for those who suffer from dandruff or fungal infections, which can prevent healthy hair growth. Just a handful of these as a snack can transform your diet.
Nuts and seeds are packed with hair growth properties, and pumpkin seeds are no exception. They are high in vitamin C, which helps the absorption of iron needed for hair. It is also linked with lowering DHT, a hormone in both men and women which is associated with hair loss. You can use pumpkin seeds in flapjacks or over yogurt and grains for the perfect afternoon snack.
Chocolate comes from the coco bean and contains minerals such as iron, copper, and zinc. These are important minerals which support cell growth. Dark chocolate contains more coco and has fewer levels of dairy.
Lentils are versatile bases for curries and soups. They are naturally high in protein, iron, folic acid, and biotin. Folic acid helps to restore the health of red blood cells, which is a contributing factor to healthy hair.
Red meat, such as lamb and beef, carry important nutrients for our bodies. More importantly they are rich in iron and protein. Iron from red meat is much more easily absorbed by the body in comparison to vegetables. However, red meat should always be eaten in moderation with a balanced diet.
A great source of iron, magnesium, and potassium, the minerals from sweet potatoes can help improve the body’s blood circulation. It also contains beta-carotene which promote cell regrowth and prevents hair from going limp and dull.
Supplementing your diet with vitamins
Growing your hair from within can also be aided by multivitamins or focusing on boosting some hair-related vitamins such as biotin, iron, folic acid etc. If you are interested in learning more about the best ways to supplement your diet, take a read of our vitamin and hair loss page which gives advice on common deficiencies. You can also check out our best vitamin hair products popular for regrowth. Remember to consult a medical professional before choosing to take vitamin supplements for your hair.
Please click below if you want to read the science behind this article.