The most common question I hear from clients is “how do I grow out my hair?”. From hair treatments to hair pills, many are willing to try anything to make their hair grow. But what about taking a look at what we eat…? Diet plays a huge role in hair growth, and if you are not consuming the right nutrients, maybe this could be the reason why your locks just aren’t as luscious as others.
On average, our hair grows about 0.5 inches every month, which is 6 inches every year. There are many factors that play a role in hair growth such as age, genetics, and health. Although, you can’t do anything about your age or genetics, your diet is one thing you do have control over.
Eating a balanced diet with all the right nutrients can help promote hair growth. Let’s take a look at the best foods you can eat to help grow out that mane!
Eggs contain protein and biotin, two key nutrients for hair growth. It is important that you are consuming enough protein because your hair follicles are made mostly of it! Research has shown that people who do not consume enough daily protein experience hair loss.
Biotin on the other hand, is essential for the production of a hair protein called keratin. This is why you always see biotin supplements in hair commercials…
Lastly, eggs are also a great source of zinc, selenium and many other nutrients for healthy hair.
Berries are filled with many vitamins, such as vitamin C, which contains strong antioxidant properties. Antioxidants help protect your hair follicles against damage from harmful molecules that exist naturally in the environment and in your body. Vitamin C also aids in the production of collagen, a protein that helps strengthen hair to prevent it from becoming brittle. Additionally, vitamin C helps your body absorb iron, which reduces your risk for anemia (also linked to hair loss.
Basically, if you eat one cup of strawberries a day you will receive 141% of your daily vitamin C needs!
Spinach, one of the best green veggies out there, is full of nutrients like vitamins A and C, folate and iron. Vitamin A aids the glands in your skin to produce sebum, the oily substance that helps moisturize your scalp. Spinach also contains iron, which helps red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body and aid in growth and repair. One cup of spinach provides 54% of your daily vitamin A needs!
Fatty fish like salmon, herring, and mackerel have excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to hair growth. Studies have shown that women who take fish oil supplements daily significantly reduces hair loss and increased their hair density. Fatty fish also contains protein, selenium, vitamin D3 and B vitamins, nutrients that promote strong hair. This is another reason to convince your man to take you out for sushi!
Sweet potatoes are a great source of beta-carotene, a compound that is used to make vitamin A. Vitamin A promotes the production of sebum, which could speed up the rate of growth and encourage the growth of thicker hair follicles. A medium sized sweet potato can provide you with more than 4x your daily vitamin A needs.
Those green balls of deliciousness are an excellent source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps combat oxidative stress and damage to areas of the skin, like the scalp, which can leave you with weak and fewer hair follicles. Avocados are also a great source of fatty acids, essential building blocks of your cells. Eat a medium sized avocado in your next salad and you’ll receive 21% of your daily vitamin E needs.
Nuts are great snacks that provide a wide variety of vitamin B, E, zinc, and fatty acids. Nuts have also shown to reduce inflammation and lower the risk of heart disease. Put 28 grams of almonds in your purse for the next time you get hungry and knock out 37% of your daily vitamin E needs!
Like nuts, many seeds contain rich nutrients like vitamin E, B, omega-3s, zinc, and selenium. 28 grams of sunflower seeds covers 50% of your daily vitamin E needs, and 28 grams of flaxseeds provides 6,388 mg of omega-3 fatty acids! It’s best to consume a mixture of seeds, so throw a handful in your next salad.
Sweet peppers are filled with vitamin C, and as we learned above, helps protect against oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs when free radicals (uncharged molecules) swamp the body which leads to hair loss and graying of the hair. Additionally, sweet peppers are an excellent source of vitamin A, which stimulates the production of sebum. One yellow pepper contains 5x as much vitamin C as an orange, so think about that next time you go to the grocery store.
Oysters are one of the best food sources for zinc, a mineral that helps support the hair growth and repair cycle. But be careful because taking too much zinc and reverse this effect. As of today, the recommended dietary allowance for zinc is 8 mg a day for women and 11 mg for men.
Shrimp is a great source of protein, vitamin B, zinc, iron, and vitamin D. Additionally, shrimp has a small amount of omega-3 fatty acids despite being low in fat. 3.5 ounces of shrimp provides 38% of your daily vitamin D needs, so start the grill and throw on the shrimp!
Beans, beans, the magical fruit the more you eat the more you toot! Eating more beans also means you’re consuming a great plant-based source of protein. They also provide other healthy hair nutrients such as iron, biotin, folate, and zinc. Not to mention, you can use beans with just about anything and they are cheap!
Soybean are one of the best sources of spermidine, a compound that may extend the growth phase during your hair cycle.
As we all know, meat contains a ton of protein, which has shown to strengthen and repair hair follicles. Red meat specifically, is rich in iron and is easily absorbed into your body. A 3.5 ounce sirloin steak provides about 30 grams of protein! Now you don’t have to feel so guilty the next time you pay for that steak dinner…
All in all, your diet is a huge part of your hair health. Making sure you are getting all the right nutrients can make or break your hair, literally. So make sure you put these 14 items on your grocery list next time you go to the store!