15 Of The Best Foods For Hair Growth & How They Reduce Hair Fall
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest (hair) of them all? But of course, the one who eats the right kind of foods! 🙂 You must have heard how the hair quality mirrors our nutritional status, right? And it’s a true fact since our hair texture and scalp condition is directly connected to the nutrients we take from food. Lack of vitamins, minerals and proteins can lead to dull and brittle hair and other distressing conditions like dandruff, thinning hair or even hair loss. So, which are the best foods for hair growth?
The nutrients you get from food contribute to better health of the hair follicles, which not only produce strongest new hairs, but also strengthen existing ones.
Let’s check out 15 of the best foods for hair growth
& how they reduce hair fall!
(foods providing 20% or more of the daily value (DV) are considered to be high sources of a nutrient)
Salmon is one of the best foods for hair growth. It has many vitamins such as B12, B3, B6, B1, B5, D. This is one of the few foods that provide vitamin D.
85gr (3oz) of salmon can give:
- 40% DV of vitamin B12
- 34% DV of vitamin B3
- 75% DV of vitamin D (cholecalciferol)
- 38% DV of proteins
Besides being rich in protein and vitamin D (both are important for strong hair), salmon contains a good amount of fatty acids, which help in strengthening the hair follicles. Omega-3 fatty acids, are found in the natural oil (sebum) that keeps your hair hydrated and protected.
I love this fruit! Bananas are rich in hair vitamins and minerals, such as B6, C, potassium and manganese.
1 medium banana (120gr) can give:
- 22% DV of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
- 17% DV of vitamin C
- 16% DV of manganese
- 12% DV of potassium
Vitamin B6 helps the cells in your hair follicles to access the amino acids they need to make hair proteins such as keratin. It also regulates the function of estrogen and testosterone. When these two hormones are imbalanced they can affect your hair’s health by causing hair thinning and hair loss.
Moreover, a potassium deficiency could cause your hair to fall out. Have in mind; if you follow a high-salt diet excess sodium is accumulated around the hair follicles preventing the absorption of essential vitamins. Potassium balances excess sodium!
Let me take a wild guess; it’s not one of your favorite foods! However, liver is one of the best foods for hair growth. Thankfully, you don’t have to eat a lot of it and you must not eat it too often. Liver is rich in vitamin A, which can be toxic if consumed in large amounts because it accumulates in the body. Unfortunately, it’s high in cholesterol too.
28gr (1oz) of cooked lamp liver can give:
- 357% DV of vitamin B12 (cobalamin)
- 140% DV of vitamin A
- 66% DV of vitamin B2
- 17% DV of vitamin B3
- 11% DV of vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
The human body stores several years’ worth of vitamin B12 in the liver, so low levels in the body are rare. Decreases in vitamin B12 levels are common in the elderly, HIV-infected persons, and vegetarians. (source: www.mayoclinic.org)
If you choose beef liver instead of lamp liver you’ll get 20% DV of vitamin B5. It’s a little difficult to find foods rich in vitamin B5.
Liver also has plenty of protein, copper, selenium, iron and zinc, which our hair craves so much for!
It’s best to opt for boiled eggs instead of fried. They have about the same food value, but you avoid unwanted fats…
1 large hard-boiled egg (50gr) can give:
- 27% DV of vitamin B7 (biotin)
- 15% DV of vitamin B2
- 9% DV of vitamin B12
- 10% DV of vitamin D
- 13% DV of proteins
Biotin contributes to the production of keratin, the main protein of the hair structure. Bacteria in the intestine can make biotin, but it can also be found in small amounts in foods. Egg yolks are among the best sources, so give your body biotin for hair growth!
Although biotin deficiency is rare, it can happen in case of:
- eating disorders
- taking drugs
- diseases that could disrupt the balance of intestinal flora
- consumption of alcohol, sugar and smoking
- eating raw egg whites which interfere with the body’s absorption of biotin.
Eggs are also used in several hair masks, because they’re very beneficial for the hair. However, it’s difficult to use it because of the strong smell!
(Related article: How to make your egg & olive oil hair mask stinky free!)
This is a fruit rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and oils.
Vitamin B-complex, C and E found in avocados ensure healthy skin and hair, providing nourishment and hydration. In addition, it has fats and fatty acids which help the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) and minerals.
A small piece of avocado (28gr/1oz) can give:
- 7% DV of vitamin K
- 6% DV of vitamin B9
- 5% DV of vitamin C
- 3% DV of vitamin E
Although avocado is a fruit, we don’t eat it like a fruit. We usually use it in salads (it makes a good match with tomatoes or spinach) or as a spread on our toasted bread.
(Related article: How to make a hair mask for dry hair with avocado or banana)
I love all legumes and beans are definitely among the foods that promote hair growth! Some people don’t like eating them at all! And it’s a pity because they’re missing plenty of vitamins, proteins and minerals that the hair truly loves!
100gr of cooked boiled white beans (3.5oz) can give:
- 20% DV of vitamin B9 (folate)
- 19% DV of proteins
- 32% DV of manganese
- 21% DV of iron
Folate is essential for the production of new cells. It participates in the synthesis of amino acids that form the hair follicle and hair shaft. Folate, iron and vitamin B12 work together to transfer blood and oxygen to the hair follicles. Reduced intake of these ingredients can result in dull, brittle hair or even hair loss.
Iron helps red blood cells carry oxygen to the hair follicles. Oxygen activates cell metabolism, which leads to cell division and regeneration of hair. Iron found in meat proteins is much easily absorbed by the body than iron found in plant-based foods. But you could help it by eating foods high in vitamin C at the same time, to enhance the absorption of iron. Choosing a nice side salad with bell peppers is definitely a good idea.
Carrots are loaded with beta-carotenes, an organic colored red-orange pigment found in plants and fruits which your body changes it into vitamin A. A good tip is to add some fat, like olive oil to maximize your body’s absorption of the beta-carotenes.
Did you know that carrots can be purple, red, yellow and white too? I wasn’t aware of this until recently when a food documentary on TV grabbed my attention.
Also 100gr of carrots contain 88gr of water. Cool, right?
(Related Article: Why is water important for hair growth?)
Besides beta-carotenes, there is also the preformed vitamin A (retinol) found in foods of animal origin, which is much more efficiently absorbed by our body, but it can be toxic if consumed in large amounts. The good thing is that beta-carotenes can’t harm you. But don’t go overboard because you might end up with a yellow-orange discoloration of the skin. Totally reversible, don’t worry! 😉
1 raw carrot (50gr) can give:
- 167% DV of vitamin A
Vitamin A helps to produce sebum, an oily substance secreted by the scalp, which keeps your scalp hydrated and protects hair’s elasticity.
8) Brazil nuts
All nuts are nutritious, but what makes Brazil nuts so special is their selenium content. Τhey’re also rich in other minerals, proteins, and fatty acids. But don’t eat a lot of them if you don’t want to gain weight. Just 1 kernel has 33 calories! Don’t say I didn’t warn you…
Also, Brazil nuts can be highly toxic due to their high amount of selenium. One kernel is enough to give you all the selenium you need per day.
Selenium acts as a powerful antioxidant, especially while working along with vitamin E, preventing free radicals in the body.
1 kernel (5gr) can give:
- 137% DV of selenium
- 4% DV of copper
- 2% DV of vitamin B1
Selenium is important for thyroid function. If your thyroid isn’t working properly, this means your hormones are imbalanced and your hair growth will eventually suffer. Some symptoms are thinning, breaking, dull hair or even bald spots.
Copper is necessary for the production of melanin, which is the natural source of hair color. Therefore, copper deficiency may cause hair discoloration.
Ok, it’s true! 1 orange has more vitamin C than 100gr of cranberries. So, why choose them?
Because you won’t eat them just for the vitamin C, but mostly for the combination of nutrients that work together perfectly to benefit your overall health, including hair health.
100gr raw cranberries (3.5oz) can give:
- 22% DV of vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
- 6% DV of vitamin E
- 18% DV of manganese
Vitamin C is a structural substance the body uses to produce collagen which is an important protein for hair growth.
Vitamin E fights against hair loss too. It works in synergy with vitamins A and C and selenium to provide protection against harmful free radicals.
Manganese is important because it supports the utilization of vitamins C and E in the body.
Note that all berries are considered among the best foods for hair growth!
Well, we eat yogurt mostly for its proteins and minerals, but it’s a fine source of B2 and B12 too.
100gr plain, low-fat yogurt (3.5oz) can give:
- 13% DV of vitamin B2
- 9% DV of vitamin B12
- 10% DV of proteins
- 7% DV of potassium
- 6% DV of zinc
- 5% DV of selenium
11) Olive oil
You have plenty of reasons to use virgin olive oil daily in your diet. It’s the healthiest dressing for your salads!
Olive oil is definitely one of my best foods for hair growth. I use it very often as a pre-shampoo treatment for my dry hair.
I’m a huge advocate of pre-poo treatments since I’ve seen a lot of improvement on my own hair. Receive the guide of 15 tips & tricks straight in your inbox! Download your copy for free!
1 tbsp of olive oil can give:
- 10% DV of vitamin E
- 10% DV of vitamin K
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that prevents the formation of free radicals which are aging the hair prematurely. It also helps the blood circulation by increasing oxygen uptake, which in turn aids the body in producing new hair.
Olive oil is also rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which protect the hair’s cell membrane from water loss and influx of toxins. Good quality fats lubricate the skin and reduce scalp’s inflammations.
12) Red bell peppers
Do you eat red bell peppers? I love using them raw in pasta salads.
Do you wonder why red bell peppers are on the list of the best foods for hair growth? Because this vegetable is the best source of vitamin C!
28gr (1oz) of raw red bell peppers can give:
- 60% DV of vitamin C
- 18% DV of vitamin A
Vitamin C helps the body to produce collagen, a protein which forms the base of the hair follicle tissue which reproduces and regenerates healthy hair. Additionally, vitamin C has antioxidant action which protects hair cells from free radicals, thereby delaying premature aging of the hair.
When I was younger I hated eating spinach, not even watching Popeye on TV could convince me to like it! But as I grew older that changed. Don’t ask me why and how, I have no idea! 🙂
Except for the fact that spinach is one of the best foods for hair growth, did you know that it can also minimize hunger and cravings? (yay!!). This conclusion was drawn from a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.
If you don’t like spinach as a side salad, use it in your smoothies!
30gr (1 cup) of raw spinach can give:
- 181% DV of vitamin K
- 56% DV of vitamin A
- 15% DV of vitamin B9
- 14% DV of vitamin C
Vitamin K has the ability to reduce calcification of soft tissue. For instance, calcification happens when calcium gets deposited in hair follicle cells, and this can lead to hair loss.
Beta-carotenes and vitamins C and B9 (folate), which spinach contains will keep your hair follicles healthy and produce more natural oil (sebum) that keeps your scalp in good condition.
Cereals are rich in B-complex vitamins and minerals, such as iron, manganese and zinc which are essential for healthy hair growth. Of course, not all cereals have the same nutritional value so read carefully the label on the box.
28gr (1oz) of cereals can give (depending on the type):
- 68% DV of vitamin B9
- 36% DV of vitamin B1
- 29% DV of vitamin B12
- 27% DV of vitamin B3
- 26% DV of vitamin B2
- 49% DV of iron
- 47% DV of manganese
- 30% DV of zinc
We haven’t talked about zinc! This mineral helps in the production of collagen and elastin in your body and it’s involved in the synthesis of keratin. Furthermore, zinc is making sure that the oil glands around your hair follicles are working properly. It’s also essential for the transfer of vitamin A in the body.
Although cereals are nutritious don’t rely solely on them for your zinc intake. Unfortunately, animal foods are better sources of zinc than plant-based foods.
Most of the ready-to-eat cereals have a good amount of calories, but cereals are an excellent way to start your day with a full energy boost. Say with me “I promise never skip breakfast again!” 🙂
You should drink milk mostly for the proteins and calcium, but it’s also a good source of B12. Some types of milk are fortified with vitamin D and other B vitamins too.
247gr (1 cup) of milk, nonfat, calcium fortified (fat free or skim) can give:
- 16% DV of vitamin B12
- 17% DV of proteins
If your body has adequate amounts of vitamin B12, then your hair follicles will be able to receive the nutrients they need to support your hair’s regrowth. Also, vitamin B12 encourages the pigmentation of the hair preventing premature graying.
(Source of %DV: http://nutritiondata.self.com/)
Did you know that these 15 foods are an excellent source of nutrients that promote hair growth? Well, these are not the ONLY best foods for hair growth. However, my research has shown me they’re AT THE TOP of the ladder of importance! Also, meat and oysters are among the top foods for thick hair, but I must admit I don’t enjoy eating them often! How about you?
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Those pictures made me hungry! 🙂 Basically eating healthy and trying to eat different food every day makes you and your hair feel and look good. This post was a good reminder of that.
Nora / http://dreamerachiever.com
You’re absolutely right; eating healthy is the key! And making the right food combinations. Thanks Nora
The only stranger on this list are brazil nuts, everything else plays a major role in my diet on almost a daily basis. I haven’t noticed that my hair fall has ceased but certainly it looks to be growing pretty fast!I’ll be more mindful of this now and report back with my findings 🙂
Eating healthy is super important for having strong hair, but there are also other factors that could cause hair fall, for instance health issues, medication or even stress, to name a few. But following a healthy diet helps a great deal. I’ve been losing less hair since I started paying attention to what foods I eat. Thanks for sharing your experience!
Thuymi @ AdventureFaktory.com
This is a super helpful article. Luckily for us we have most of these in our food intake currently, but always good to recheck your food status!
Thanks for the feedback! I’m so glad you found it helpful!
Great article Trinity. So many foods to help us. My mother looses her hair lately so i am going to suggest her some of these foods. And we are lucky enough living in Greece where olive oil and yogurt are the best. xo xo Eleni
I know what you mean! My mother looses hair due to old age and medication. Although we do follow a healthy diet, unfortunately she has to take some vitamin supplements as well (under doctor’s subscription).
Oh, yes! We never run out of olive oil and yogurt! 🙂 🙂
Sabra of Great Green Heron
Love this post! I didn’t know a lot of this, except biotin because my husband was eating a lot of raw egg whites and his hair was falling out! Apparently, raw egg whites will cause hair loss. Who knew?
Yes, that was a strange fact for me too! I’ve heard men eating raw egg whites after exercising to built muscle, but unfortunately it’s not so good for the hair…
Thanks of the very entertaining article – I have found it really interesting and useful. I have noted down what should and should be eaten. Sadly it might be too late for my hair but happy to direct this to friends!
Thank you Scott, I appreciate it! Unfortunately, losing hair is an issue that many men have to deal with. However, it’s even more difficult for women, at least from the social perspective. If it’s something that bothers you, there are restoration methods available that perhaps could help.