13 Best Foods for Hair Growth

by Ella

Hair is not merely an aesthetic feature; it represents an individual’s health and vitality. While factors like genetics and age play a crucial role in hair growth, one cannot underestimate the impact of proper nutrition. A well-balanced diet, rich in specific nutrients, can significantly contribute to stronger, shinier, and faster-growing hair. In this article, we delve into the science behind hair growth and explore the top foods that promote healthy tresses.


Understanding the Science of Hair Growth:

Before delving into the foods that encourage hair growth, it is essential to understand the science behind it. Hair grows from hair follicles located in the scalp, and these follicles require an adequate supply of nutrients to sustain healthy hair growth. The growth cycle consists of three phases: anagen (active growth), catagen (transition), and telogen (resting). Proper nutrition plays a crucial role in supporting each stage and maintaining a balanced hair growth cycle.


Key Nutrients for Hair Growth:

Protein: Proteins form the building blocks of hair, specifically a protein called keratin. Including protein-rich foods such as lean meats, eggs, beans, and legumes in your diet can bolster hair growth and prevent hair breakage.


Biotin: Biotin, also known as vitamin B7, is vital for healthy hair growth. Foods like eggs, nuts, seeds, and sweet potatoes are excellent sources of biotin.


Iron: Iron deficiency can lead to hair loss. Incorporating iron-rich foods like spinach, lentils, and red meat can ensure proper oxygen and nutrient supply to hair follicles.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties that can promote a healthy scalp. Fatty fish, flaxseeds, and chia seeds are excellent sources of these essential fatty acids.

Vitamin C: Vitamin C aids in collagen production, which strengthens hair. Citrus fruits, bell peppers, and strawberries are abundant in vitamin C.

Vitamin E: Vitamin E enhances blood circulation, ensuring that hair follicles receive ample nutrients. Almonds, sunflower seeds, and spinach are rich in vitamin E.

Zinc: Zinc plays a role in tissue repair, including the scalp tissues. Incorporate zinc-rich foods like oysters, pumpkin seeds, and whole grains for healthy hair growth.

Vitamin A: Vitamin A supports sebum production, which moisturizes the scalp and prevents hair from becoming dry and brittle. Carrots, sweet potatoes, and leafy greens are excellent sources of vitamin A.

What is the effect of nutritional deficiency on hair?

Many people want strong and healthy hair, especially as they grow older.

However, how fast it grows and how healthy it is depend on many factors including age, overall health, genetics, environmental exposure, medications, and diet.

Although you can’t change some factors like age and genetics, one factor you likely have more control over is your diet.

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

Consuming a diet lacking the right nutrients can lead to hair loss.

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

13 Best Foods for Hair Growth

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

1. Eggs

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

Eating adequate protein is important for hair growth because hair follicles are mostly made of protein. A lack of protein in the diet has been shown to promote hair loss.

Biotin is essential for the production of a hair protein called keratin, which is why biotin supplements are often marketed for hair growth. Research has also shown that consuming more biotin can help improve hair growth in people with a biotin deficiency.

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

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

2. Berries

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.

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

Also, the body uses vitamin C to produce collagen, a protein that helps strengthen hair to prevent it from becoming brittle and breaking.

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

3. Spinach

Spinach is a healthy green vegetable that’s loaded with beneficial nutrients like folate, iron, and vitamins A and C, all of which are important for hair growth.

Studies suggest vitamin A is important for hair growth. But supplementing with too much vitamin A can actually lead to hair loss.

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.

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 (16Trusted Source, 17Trusted Source).

What’s more, iron deficiencies have been linked to hair loss.

4. Fatty fish

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

They are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to hair growth in several studies.

An older study in 120 women found that taking a supplement containing omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids as well as antioxidants reduced hair loss and increased hair density.

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, nutrients that may help promote strong and healthy hair.

Interestingly, studies have linked vitamin D3 deficiency to hair loss.

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.

Fatty fish like salmon, herring, and mackerel are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which may support improved hair growth and density. However, there are only a few studies in this area, so more are needed. Fatty fish is also one of few food sources of vitamin D, which may be important for hair growth.

5. Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a great 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.

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

Vitamin A deficiency can lead to hair loss.

However, too much vitamin A can cause hair loss as well.

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

6. Avocados

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

They are also 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.

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.

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

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.

7. Nuts

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 an impressive 48% of your daily vitamin E needs.

What’s more, they also provide a wide variety of B vitamins, zinc, and essential fatty acids. A deficiency in any of these nutrients has been linked to hair loss.

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

This makes nuts an excellent and easy addition to your diet.

8. Seeds

Seeds are rich in nutrients with relatively few calories. Many of these nutrients are also important for 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.

What’s more, 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. That’s more omega-3 fatty acids than half a fillet (178 grams) of salmon.

However, 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 a mixture of seeds.

9. Sweet peppers

Sweet peppers are an excellent source of antioxidant-rich vitamin C, which may support hair growth.

In fact, one yellow pepper provides up to 456% of the daily vitamin C needs of women and 380% for men.

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.

What’s more, sweet peppers are also an excellent source of vitamin A.

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

10. Oysters

Oysters are one of the best food sources of zinc. One medium oyster provides up to 96% of daily zinc needs for women and 75% of daily zinc needs for men.

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

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 in the diet.

Studies have shown that taking a zinc supplement may reverse the effects of hair loss caused by a zinc deficiency.

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

11. Beans

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 woman’s daily zinc needs and 10% for men.

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

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

12. Soybeans

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

For example, 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.

Other studies suggest spermidine may promote human hair growth.

However, 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

Meat is a staple in many people’s diets and is rich in nutrients that may aid hair growth.

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.

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.

However, it’s important to note that the overconsumption of red meat, especially processed red meat, has been linked with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, colorectal cancer, and type 2 diabetes in men and women.

Foods to Avoid:

While it’s essential to incorporate hair growth-promoting foods, certain items may have adverse effects on hair health. Excessive consumption of sugary and processed foods can lead to inflammation, which may negatively impact hair growth. Additionally, excessive alcohol and caffeine intake can dehydrate the body and scalp, leading to dry and brittle hair.

The medications commonly used to promote hair growth

Medications to help hair grow are available for individuals experiencing hair loss or thinning hair due to various factors. It is essential to note that before considering any medications, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional or a dermatologist to determine the underlying cause of the hair loss and to receive appropriate guidance on the most suitable treatment options. Here are some of the medications commonly used to promote hair growth:

1. Minoxidil:

Minoxidil is an over-the-counter topical medication available in various strengths. It is commonly used to treat androgenetic alopecia, also known as male or female pattern baldness. Minoxidil works by increasing blood flow to the hair follicles, promoting hair growth and preventing further hair loss. It is typically applied directly to the scalp once or twice a day.

2. Finasteride:

Finasteride is an oral prescription medication primarily used to treat male pattern baldness. It works by inhibiting the production of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone that contributes to hair loss in individuals with a genetic predisposition. Finasteride is typically taken daily and has been shown to be effective in slowing down hair loss and promoting regrowth in some individuals.

3. Dutasteride:

Similar to finasteride, dutasteride is an oral prescription medication used to treat hair loss in men. It works by inhibiting both types of the enzyme that convert testosterone to DHT. Some studies suggest that dutasteride may be more effective than finasteride, but it is associated with a higher risk of side effects and is not as commonly prescribed.

4. Ketoconazole:

Ketoconazole is an antifungal medication available in shampoo form and can also be found in certain hair care products. While its primary purpose is to treat fungal scalp infections, some studies have shown that it may have mild anti-androgenic properties, which could help with hair loss.

5. Corticosteroids:

Topical corticosteroids can be prescribed to individuals with certain types of hair loss conditions, such as alopecia areata, to reduce inflammation and suppress the immune response that attacks hair follicles. Injections of corticosteroids into the scalp may also be used for localized hair loss.

6. Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy:

PRP therapy involves drawing a patient’s blood, processing it to concentrate the platelets, and then injecting the platelet-rich plasma into the scalp. Platelets contain growth factors that can potentially stimulate hair follicles, promoting hair growth and improving hair density.

7. Hair Growth Stimulants:

Certain hair growth stimulants, such as low-level laser therapy (LLLT) devices and other topical treatments, claim to promote hair growth. These treatments vary in effectiveness, and more research is needed to fully understand their mechanisms and benefits.

It’s essential to remember that individual responses to hair growth medications may vary, and not everyone will experience significant results. Additionally, some medications may have side effects, so it is crucial to discuss potential risks and benefits with a healthcare professional before starting any treatment.


Achieving luscious locks goes beyond using hair care products; it starts from within. A diet rich in essential nutrients can significantly contribute to healthy hair growth and overall hair health. By incorporating protein, biotin, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, and various vitamins and minerals into your meals, you can nourish your tresses from the inside out. Additionally, superfoods like acai berries, chia seeds, spirulina, avocado, and bone broth can provide an extra boost. Remember to maintain proper hydration and avoid unhealthy dietary choices to ensure your hair remains strong, vibrant, and a testament to your well-being.


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