15 Best Foods For Hair Growth

Medically reviewed by Dr. Shruti Chavan, MBBS Dermatologist
Written by Arshiya Syeda

A balanced diet with all the essential nutrients helps nourish your locks and keeps them lustrous. Foods rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals promote your hair growth naturally. In this article, we take a look at the major foods that can help boost your hair growth. Keep reading!

What Are The Best Foods For Hair Growth?

1. Eggs

Eggs are packed with protein and are often used in hair masks and other hair care products. A study showed that egg yolk stimulated hair growth in human dermal papilla cells (1). Eggs are also rich in biotin that is essential for keratin (hair protein) production. Biotin may improve hair health (2). The selenium and zinc in eggs may also promote healthy hair. Anecdotal evidence suggests that eggs can make hair shinier and stronger and prevent brittleness and breakage.

2. Leafy Greens

Leafy greens contain nutrients like folic acid and biotin that help maintain healthy hair (3). Spinach is rich in vitamin C, iron, and folate that may promote hair growth. Spinach is also rich in vitamin A (4). Studies show that vitamin A and its derivatives help in the development and maintenance of sebaceous glands (5).

3. Avocado

Avocados are nutrient-rich and versatile fruits. They are rich in vitamin B12, riboflavin, vitamins C and A, folate, iron, niacin, and vitamin B6. They also contain trace amounts of zinc (6). All these nutrients aid hair growth (7). Avocado has antioxidant properties thanks to its polyphenols, carotenoids, and vitamins B and E that help strengthen the hair strands (8), (9), (10).

These antioxidant properties help reduce free radical production and can also prevent premature graying of hair. Also, avocado could have use as a hair conditioner (11). Its oleic acid may help strengthen each hair shaft from inside out and even prevent hair breakage. However, more research is warranted in this regard.

4. Berries

Berries have a high content of vitamin C (12). Vitamin C also helps with iron absorption. It helps combat hair loss in those with iron deficiency (7). Studies show that saw palmetto berries may help stimulate hair growth (13). Black raspberry extracts may also help reduce hair loss due to alopecia (14).

5. Fish

Fish contains omega-3 fatty acids that can help improve hair health. The omega-3 acids can help inhibit 5-alpha-reductase that produces the hormone that may cause hair loss (15). Fish oil supplements are often used to improve hair quality. Fish like tuna are also rich in protein and are often added to diets to promote hair health.

Salmon fish is packed with omega-3 fatty acids. It also is rich in vitamin D (16). Vitamin D supplementation may help treat male and female pattern hair loss (17). Consumption of food sources high in omega-3 fatty acids is essential as your body cannot produce these healthy fats.

6. Legumes

Legumes are rich in protein (18). They contain genistein, which can inhibit 5-alpha-reductase activity (19). Legumes also contain zinc. Zinc deficiency may make hair brittle (20). Beans are a good source of iron (21). Iron deficiency may hinder follicular matrix cell proliferation (22).

7. Nuts

Brazil nuts are rich in selenium that may help keep the scalp and hair healthy (23). Nuts (like peanuts) are also rich in protein, minerals, and other important phenolic compounds (24). These nutrients may also promote hair health. However, more research is warranted in this regard.

Almonds, walnuts, and cashew nuts are rich in zinc too (25). They may promote hair health as well.

Walnuts are rich in alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid), and deficiency of this nutrient may lead to scalp hair loss (26), (27).

8. Oysters

Oysters contain vitamins A, B, and C (28). They also are rich sources of zinc (29). Zinc deficiencies are often linked to hair falling. In one study, zinc supplementation was found to induce hair growth in patients with alopecia (30).

9. Seeds

Fenugreek seeds have been studied to stimulate hair growth (31). In a study, fenugreek hair tonic was found to aid hair growth in rabbits (32). Pumpkin seed oil was also found to stimulate hair growth in men with androgenic alopecia (33). Flaxseed oil showed significant hair growth stimulation in rabbits (34). Anecdotal evidence suggests that sunflower seeds can help improve hair quality.

10. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes contain iron, zinc, and calcium (35). They may help reduce hair loss caused due to nutrient deficiencies. They also have antioxidant properties thanks to their phenolic compounds (36). These may reduce hair fall associated with stress and free radical damage.

11. Tropical Fruits

Dragon fruit can help improve hair health (37). It is rich in vitamin C, which is known to offer protection from photoaging (38). The anti-photoaging properties of vitamin C on hair are yet to be studied. Mangoes and guava may also help improve hair health. They are rich in vitamins A and C. These vitamins help induce hair growth. They are also known to help with sebum production, which improves hair health (39), (40). Other tropical fruits like cherries and grapes can also help boost hair health.

12. Whole Grains

Biotin is found in cereal grains and may help reduce hair loss due to biotin deficiency (41). Whole grains also contain zinc, iron, and vitamin B (42). These nutrients also may promote hair health.

13. Chicken

The protein in chicken helps strengthen hair follicles and aids hair growth. Chicken is rich in iron, which helps the red blood cells deliver oxygen to all parts of your body (43), (44). Chicken contains ferritin, which stores iron (45). The presence of ferritin in red meat may also make it an ideal food for hair health. However, more research is warranted in this regard.

14. Yogurt

Unsweetened yogurt is not only full of protein but also rich in probiotics. Probiotics are good bacteria that help absorb nutrients in your body (46). Greek yogurt is rich in vitamin B5 (47). Vitamin B5 may help with hair growth, though more studies are warranted.

15. Beans

Beans are a rich source of protein that is essential for hair growth. They contain zinc, iron, and biotin too (48). Soybeans contain spermidine, an important compound that prolongs the active phase of hair growth (49), (50).

Fats, vitamins, and minerals are essential for maintaining healthy hair. In the next section, you will find the importance of these nutrients along with their dietary sources.

Nutrients For Hair Growth

  • Vitamin D

Vitamin D plays a major role in hair production and may also help create new hair follicles (51). Your body produces vitamin D when exposed to sun rays. It is also available in salmon, cod liver oil, mushrooms, and certain fortified foods.

  • Vitamin E

Vitamin E has antioxidant properties that protect against oxidative stress. In one study, patients with alopecia (patchy hair loss) experienced a 34.5% increase in hair growth after vitamin E supplementation (52). Avocado, sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach, broccoli, wheat germ, and hazelnuts are rich in vitamin E.

  • Iron

Foods with iron are essential for supporting healthy hair growth. Iron helps red blood cells to carry oxygen to body cells. Iron-deficiency anemia is a particularly common cause of hair loss in many women (53). Dietary sources of iron include clams, oysters, eggs, lentils, red meat, and spinach.

  • Vitamin C

Vitamin C supports collagen production in the body, which is involved in the structural makeup of your hair (7). Oranges, guava, blackcurrants, broccoli, papaya, strawberries, blueberries, sweet pepper, kiwi, tangerines, and sweet potato are rich vitamin C sources.

  • Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids play a major role in hair growth. They also keep your scalp and hair hydrated (15). Fatty fish like salmon, trout, herring, sardines, and mackerel, as well as flaxseeds, avocado, chia seeds, oats, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds, are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

  • Biotin

Biotin is a water-soluble B vitamin that supports hair growth (2). Dietary sources of biotin include liver, egg yolk, yeast, and whole grains.

  • Zinc

Zinc is a trace mineral that helps in hair growth and repair (20). Zinc deficiency can lead to a dry, flaky scalp. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that excess zinc intake (>40 mg per day) may cause hair loss. Whole grains, oysters, spinach, fortified cereals, lentils, eggs, and pumpkin seeds are rich sources of zinc.

  • Niacin

This B-vitamin may also play a role in hair growth. Anecdotal evidence suggests that it supports moisture balance for a healthy scalp. Dietary sources of this vitamin include eggs, nuts, mushrooms, tuna, and beef.

We saw foods that can boost your hair growth. There also are certain foods that may negatively affect your hair growth. Check them out in the following section.

Foods You Should Avoid For Healthy Hair Growth

  • Alcohol

Consumption of alcohol decreases the levels of zinc in the body, leading to zinc deficiency (54). This may lead to hair loss.

  • Sugar

Moderate consumption of sugar does not necessarily cause hair loss. However, excess intake through cakes, white bread and pasta, pastries, and other refined starches may lead to hair loss. Further studies are warranted in this regard.

Other Factors That Affect Hair Growth

A few other factors that may affect hair growth include aging, stress, thyroid issues, childbirth, menopause, genes, chronic illness, and malnutrition.

Conclusion

Hair health is more of an inside job. With the right diet and nutrients, your hair is more likely to stay healthy and strong for a longer time. Ensure you make the right dietary changes today. We are sure you will thank yourself.

Sources

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Check out our editorial policy for further details.

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Arshiya Syeda is an editor and certified counselor. Ever the lover of the written word, she served on the editorial boards of her school and college newsletters. Writing articles on hairstyles, hair care, and nutrition helped her combine her love for reading, writing, and research. As an editor, she helps her team members deliver polished and meticulously researched content. Arshiya is fluent in English, Urdu, and Hindi and aims to become a multilinguist by learning German and teaching herself American Sign Language (ASL).