20 Foods for Hair Growth That Will Transform Your Hair
As we get older, we lose our hair, which sends us into a frenzy. Our hair is the first thing people see, and we do not want to walk around bald. Neither do we want people to notice our scalp peeking through our thin hair. But having healthy, thick, and luscious hair goes beyond vanity.
Our hair says a lot about our physical health as well. If our hair is unhealthy and we are losing it rapidly, it is a sign that our body lacks essential vitamins and minerals. This is why it is important to include a balanced diet in our lifestyle so that our body and hair are healthy. With that, here are 20 foods for hair growth that could transform not only your hair but your health as well.
1. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are one of the best foods for hair growth. They are a great source of protein and packed with biotin, zinc, and healthy fats, all of which promote healthy tissue development on the scalp. This prevents hair loss and helps our hair grow.
There are many nuts and seeds you can choose from, like sunflower seeds and Brazil nuts. Sunflower seeds are rich in vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that prevents oxidative stress, which could inhibit hair growth. Brazil nuts are high in selenium, a mineral needed for cell growth.
One of the major causes of hair loss is a lack of a water soluble vitamin B called biotin. Our body needs biotin to produce keratin, a protein that keeps our hair, skin, and nails healthy. There are tons of biotin supplements in the market you could try, but if you prefer a natural approach, eggs are your best bet.
Eggs contain lots of biotin and L-cysteine. L-cysteine is a non-essential amino acid needed in the production of disulfide bonds. When these bonds weaken, it weakens our hair and causes hair loss. It also affects the production of keratin.
3. Fatty Fishes
Another food to eat for hair growth is fatty fish. Fatty fishes or oily fishes store oil in their gut and therefore, are oilier than lean fishes. These fishes are the best source of omega-3s, like eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
Omega-3 makes our hair thicker. It contains proteins and other nutrients that improve blood circulation in the scalp, thus boosting hair growth. Salmon is a prime example of a fatty fish. It not only contains omega-3 but is high in vitamin D, and studies by the International Journal of Trichology have linked its deficiency to hair loss.
Have you noticed that most hair gummies and supplements are berry-flavored, and wondered why? This is because different types of berries contain vitamin C, which is needed for hair health. Vitamin C has strong antioxidant properties that protect our hair from free radicals.
Vitamin C also promotes the production of collagen. Our hair needs collagen, as it is made up of amino acids that aid in keratin production. What’s more, vitamin C enables our body to absorb iron from our diet. If our iron level is low, our hair may become dry and brittle.
5. Greek Yogurt
Unlike regular yogurt, Greek yogurt is much higher in protein, an essential component for luscious hair. Our hair follicle is made up of protein, and we need protein to improve circulation in the scalp, which promotes hair growth. Greek yogurts also contain pantothenic acid found in many hair care products.
Pantothenic acid is a type of vitamin B that helps against hair thinning and loss. But the best part about Greek yogurt is the probiotics. Probiotics are live microorganisms in our body that help our body absorb nutrients better.
6. Organ Meats
Organ meats, also known as offals, are the organs of animals that we can consume. Some examples include the liver, brain, kidney, and heart. Most of these consumable organs come from cows, pigs, lambs, goats, chickens, and ducks.
Offals are high in minerals like iron, zinc, and selenium, which are needed in hair growth cycle regulation. These minerals prevent hair loss and promote healthy hair growth. However, keep in mind that offals are high in vitamin A. Vitamin A, when taken in moderation, can be beneficial to the hair, but excessive doses could lead to hair loss.
The seventh food on our list of best foods for hair growth is pumpkin. Pumpkin needs no introduction. We have extolled the benefits of this vegetable for most of our lives. Pumpkins contain multiple nutrients that help maintain our hair health. It is loaded with iron and beta-carotene, a type of vitamin A needed for hair growth and strength.
It also contains magnesium, a mineral that plays a significant role in various functions of the human body, like keeping our skin, nails, and hair healthy. Magnesium helps in the production of protein molecules like keratin.
Avocados are not only delicious but they are loaded with health-promoting nutrients and a great source of healthy fats. Not all fats are evil and healthy fats, like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, benefit the body and hair. Examples include omega-3, which nourishes hair follicles and promotes hair growth.
If you want to incorporate avocado for healthy hair, you can consume it or use it as a hair mask. To make a hair mask, mash an avocado in a bowl using a fork. Then add two tablespoons of coconut oil and mix until combined. Apply the mask on dry hair from the tips to the roots of your hair and leave it on for an hour before washing it.
You are probably surprised to see oysters as one of the foods to eat for hair growth. Oysters are a great source of zinc, a mineral that repairs and grows tissue. We need 8 to 11 mg of zinc per day, and depending on the size and variety, oysters contain 16 to 128 mg of zinc.
Zinc helps the oil glands around the hair shaft work properly. These oil glands control the production of sebum, an oily substance that keeps our hair from drying out. Dry hair lacks moisture and can cause dandruff, slow growth, and even hair loss.
As mentioned previously, our hair is made up of proteins, and therefore needs protein. Lentils are a great source of protein, especially for vegans and vegetarians. When we do not have enough protein in the body, it can trigger telogen effluvium. Telogen Effluvium is a temporary hair loss caused by change and stress.
People with telogen effluvium lose up to 300 strands of hair per day compared to a healthy person who loses 100 strands per day. This condition does not affect the hairline or cause baldness. It affects the top of our heads, and in severe cases, people may even lose their eyebrows and body hair.
11. Whole Grains
Grains are a staple in everyone’s diet. They provide carbohydrates, which are required for energy. There are two main types of grains: whole grains and refined grains. Whole grains are healthier than refined grains, which are stripped of essential nutrients during the milling process.
Whole grains contain silica, a natural trace mineral that is essential for the health of our hair, nails, and skin. Our body needs silica to help produce collagen, a key component in hair follicle regeneration. Collagen and silica may help prevent hair thinning and strengthen hair. According to a study by a scientific publication, silica had a role in delivering nutrients to the hair follicles and scalp.
12. Citrus Fruits
Most of us are aware that citrus fruits like lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruit are rich in vitamin C. Our hair needs vitamin C because it helps produce collagen, which, in turn, produces keratin. Keratin is a protein that protects our hair and keeps it smooth, shiny, healthy, and frizz-free.
The vitamin C in citrus fruits also helps maintain the pH of our scalp. The pH of our scalp is important because it affects our hair health. An alkaline scalp dries out our scalp, causing our scalp to produce more oil to compensate for it. This excess oil can cause dandruff and hair loss.
Ginger is a superfood that is packed with vital nutrients. The benefits of ginger go beyond soothing coughs and sore throats. We can also consume it to treat premature hair loss. One reason for hair loss is oxidative stress. Ginger contains compounds like gingerol and shogaols, which reduce oxidative stress.
Evidence also supports the benefits of ginger on hair health. In a 2015 study by the Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, patients with type 2 diabetes experienced lower levels of malondialdehyde after consuming 2 grams of ginger powder per day for three months.
14. Collagen Powder
By now, we have understood the importance of collagen for our hair health. You can increase collagen production naturally in your body by eating foods high in collagen, or you can take supplements. It all depends on your preferences and lifestyle.
Collagen supplements are in powder, pill, or drink form and contain collagen derived from animal sources such as chicken, pigs, fish, and cattle. These supplements can increase the anagen phase and decrease the telogen phase of our hair. The anagen phase is when our hair is growing and lasts anywhere from 3 to 5 years. Meanwhile, the telogen phase is the resting phase, where our hair stops growing.
Although water is not a food, we have included it in this list because it is equally essential for our hair. We all know that hydration is critical for the body. It helps carry out various functions like regulating body temperature, preventing infection, keeping joints lubricated, delivering nutrients to cells, and keeping organs functioning properly.
If our body is incapable of effectively carrying out the last two functions, then all the foods on the list will be rendered useless. Our hair contains water, and 25% of the weight of our hair comes from water. Water keeps our hair hydrated, which helps prevent scalp and hair issues.
16. Bell Peppers
Sweet peppers or bell peppers contain vital nutrients that benefit the hair in different ways. Vitamin A and C promotes cell growth, ensuring our hair receives the nutrients needed for maintaining our hair health. The mineral and zinc improve blood circulation, which results in strong and healthy hair.
Bell peppers also have high water content, and we all know how important hydration is to the body and hair. If our hair does not have enough moisture, it becomes brittle, making it difficult for our hair to grow.
17. Dark Leafy Greens
Green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and arugula are abundant in valuable nutrients for robust hair growth. It contains vitamins B and C, and according to a 2020 review, these vitamins improve the hair growth and health of people suffering from androgenetic alopecia.
These vegetables also contain magnesium, a mineral that plays a role in regulating stress. When we are stressed, our body produces cortisol. These are hormones that are harmful to the body and hair. It weakens our hair follicles and causes hair fall, and it will not be replaced as it normally would.
Apart from its culinary purposes and health benefits, cinnamon is widely known for its hair growth properties. That is why there are tons of cinnamon hair oils and sprays in the market. There are studies to back this claim as well.
According to a review studying complementary and alternative treatments for alopecia, cinnamaldehyde, the main compound found in cinnamon, was linked to hair growth. This is because cinnamaldehyde increases blood flow and circulation in the scalp. Cinnamaldehyde also gives cinnamon its antimicrobial properties, which prevent scalp infections like folliculitis and impetigo.
19. Sweet Potatoes
Another food for healthy hair is sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes contain high levels of beta-carotene, a pigment found in plants that gives them their color. Our body uses this compound to absorb vitamin A more effectively. When our body has the right amount of Vitamin A, it can stimulate healthy hair growth.
It also contains Vitamin E and C, which create a healthy environment for the hair by reducing oxidative stress and free radical damage. This, in turn, prevents premature degeneration of hair cells.
20. Red Meat
For many people, red meat is a staple in their diet and their major source of iron. Red meats, like beef, lamb, and mutton, contain the highest level of iron than any other food, and we know iron is essential for maintaining hair health. Iron supplies blood and oxygen to every cell in the body, including our hair.
When our body lacks iron, it relies on ferritin, a protein that stores iron. Ferritin is found in many parts of our body, including the spleen, skeletal muscles, and hair follicles.
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