If you want strong, healthy hair, many experts believe that consuming a proper diet can be your new building blocks. So, by simply changing the food you eat, you could promote faster, thicker hair growth.
The truth is, there are several factors outside your control like genetics, general health, and age important for your follicular stability. So, a diet weak in nutrients could have an adverse affect and lead to hair loss.
Top foods essential for hair growth:
- Sweet potatoes
- Almonds and other nuts
- Fatty fish (salmon)
- Sweet peppers
- Black beans, lentils, and other types of beans
- Sirloin steak and other red meat
- Greek Yogurt
- Certain fruits
This article reviews why each of these items helps your hair grow faster and thicker, as well as the vitamins and supplements that you can add to your diet if you need more nutrients.
What Should I Eat to Stop Hair Loss?
Before showing you the top 16 foods essential for hair growth, we want to explore the different vitamins essential for follicular health and strength.
Hair loss and thinning have several causes, and while stress may be a big reason, there are also vitamin deficiencies and dietary considerations that make it more difficult for your follicles to grow healthy hair.
Some people take supplements thinking that a concentrated formula works faster, but it actually takes 1 to 2 months to see results and doesn’t work as well as naturally digesting these vitamins. See our guide vitamins for hair growth.
How Long Should It Take to See Hair Growth?
Your hair grows around half an inch per month, which amounts to an average of 6 inches per year. If your hair is growing slower than this rate or not at all, then a diet lacking in nutrients may lead to hair thinning and baldness.
Beard hair may take longer to grow, but there are vitamins for beard hair growth as well. These are specially formulated to help with facial hair.
Which Foods Help Hair Grow Faster?
To stop hair loss, there are a few vitamins that you should start to feed your body and the food you can add to your meals to get these nutrients naturally. These include:
- Biotin: Eggs, almond, cauliflower, mushrooms, sweet potato, spinach, and some cheeses have more biotin in it than other foods.
- Vitamin A: From the highest percentage per serving to least, beef liver, lamb liver, liver sausage, cod liver oil, King Mackerel, salmon, Bluefin tuna, goose liver pâté, goat cheese, and butter all contain what you need to help your hair grow.
- Vitamin C: All of these foods are rich in vitamin C including broccoli, cantaloupe, cauliflower, kiwi, orange juice, papaya, peppers, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and strawberries.
- Vitamin D: Fatty fish are your best friends for vitamin D intake. These include tuna, mackerel, and salmon. Orange juice, soy milk, and certain cereals also have vitamin D. Beef liver, egg yolks, and cheeses also have vitamin D.
- Vitamin E: Sunflower seeds, almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, avocados, and green leafy vegetables offer higher amounts of vitamin E.
- Iron: You can find higher iron levels with liver, beef, chicken, seafood, oysters, lentils, tofu, lentils, black beans, dried fruits like prunes or figs, and breakfast cereals.
- Zinc: Red meat is the best source for zinc. Ground beef has 4.8 mg pf zinc, which is about 44% of your necessary Daily Value (DV).
While you may not need to change your diet drastically to grow your hair faster, just adding some of these vitamins to your diet can improve your hair’s thickness and strength immensely.
16 Best Food for Hair Growth
While there are many foods that provide the essential vitamins to promote hair growth, we believe there are 16 types of foods for a balanced diet if you want to see real results. Our list contains a great balance of meat, dairy and plant-based foods.
A great source of protein and biotin, egg yolks top our list for essential foods for hair growth.
Almost all hair loss articles tell you to take biotin, but naturally ingesting biotin may be more beneficial for your hair, nails, and skin.
2. Fatty Fish: Tuna, Mackerel, or Salmon
Sushi lovers rejoice! Diets high in tuna, salmon, mackerel, and other fatty fish offer tons of nutrients that help hair grow in thicker and stronger.
While fish oil supplements also help, eating fatty fish with your meal offers more protein, vitamin D3, B vitamins, and iron to promote healthier hair follicles.
3. Red Meat: Beef or Lamb Liver, Ground Beef, and Steak
Protein, vitamin A, vitamin D, and iron can all be found in beef liver. It’s probably the best type of meat to eat if you are suffering from hair loss and thinning.
However, you can also get nutrients from eating ground beef, sirloin, and lamb.
4. Lentils and Beans
Speaking of iron in liver, you can also find iron in lentils and black beans, which have been found essential for hair growth.
One reason why iron helps hair follicles is because it carries oxygen to your cells. If you have an iron deficiency, then you may also have hair loss. This is more common in women, but it could also occur with men who don’t get enough iron in their diets.
5. Nuts: Almonds, Peanuts, Pine Nuts, and Hazelnuts
You can’t go wrong eating nuts as a snack every day. Almonds, pine nuts, peanuts, hazelnuts, and cashews boost your zinc intake, but it also includes healthy fats, fiber, vitamin A, and vitamin D.
Did you know that people who eat more nuts tend to live longer than those who rarely do? Therefore it’s essential to include these in your diet. Also, cashews are a great source of zinc when it comes to nuts. It contains 15% of the recommended daily values.
6. Seeds: Sunflower, Pumpkin & Chia Seeds
Seeds are the best source of vitamin E, which is one of the essential vitamins for hair growth. Since it is an antioxidant, it can prevent oxidative stress for your hair follicles.
Sunflower seeds are probably the best source for vitamins, but pumpkin seeds also contain B vitamins, calcium, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Chia seeds make honorable mention on our list of seeds. They contain high amounts of phosphorous and l-lysine, both key ingredients for promoting hair growth. As a bonus, these seeds are loaded with antioxidants and amino acids, plus they’re rich in zinc, copper and iron.
For tons of vitamins, iron, and other nutrients, spinach should be a side for one meal every day. There’s a reason an entire cartoon was based on the power of this green leafy vegetable.
It contains vitamin E, B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin K, folic acid, iron, and calcium. It’s one of the foods you should eat every day, but just a ½ cup is good enough. Kale and other leafy greens are also good to eat for B vitamins.
Free radicals have been the blame for hair loss for a long time. Hair may age, and follicles may become blocked if these free radicals take over. That’s why you should get vitamin C every day as well. It’s a powerful defender against oxidative stress.
Vitamin C also helps with collagen production, which strengthens your hair, skin, and nails. So what does this have to do with berries?
Berries have tons of vitamin C, but the absolute best one for hair growth is the strawberry. In fact, just one cup of strawberries comprises over 140% of your daily vitamin C intake.
9. Sweet Potato
Beta-carotene is the precursor compound for vitamin A, which is an absolute must for amazing hair health.
An average sweet potato weighing about 114 grams contains so much beta-carotene that it’s four times the necessary daily intake. That should get your follicles going!
From avocado toast to guacamole, there are a number of ways to eat avocado and enjoy the amazing nutrients buried within. They are an excellent source of vitamins C, E, K, and B-6. They also contain niacin, potassium, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Basically, there’s a reason why so many people swear by avocado. It’s a superfood that not only helps you overcome hair loss, but it also promotes your body’s overall health, especially if you need to lower your cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
11. Sweet Peppers
Yellow, red, and green peppers or sweet peppers have a ton of nutrients, but they are mainly rich in vitamin C. However, yellow peppers are known for having the most concentration of vitamin C, which produces collagen and prevents oxidative stress on your hair follicles.
In addition, eating sweet peppers will up your vitamin A intake as well. Did someone say fajitas for dinner?
Looking to increase your zinc intake? Oysters offer a high concentration of zinc. Did you know that a deficiency in this mineral leads to telogen effluvium? This is a common cause of hair loss caused by a lack of nutrients in your diet.
While you can take a zinc supplement to help with this deficiency, it’s better to ingest zinc naturally through foods like oysters.
One study found that a compound known as spermidine–found in soybeans–helped patients grow hair faster.
This is because spermidine lengthened the time that hair actively grows in the anagen phase. While this research is fairly recent, it promises natural treatments for hair loss and thinning.
14. Shellfish: Shrimp
Most shellfish have higher levels of omega-3 (essential fatty acids), zinc, and vitamin D. When it comes to superfoods, shrimp are one of the best for all these and more: zinc, iron, vitamin D, and protein.
In fact, just a 3.5-oz serving of shrimp comprises your 38% required daily vitamin D intake.
Porcini, golden oyster, pioppino, and oyster mushrooms offer tons of B-vitamins including riboflavin, folate, niacin, pantothenic acid, and thiamine.
With these powerful antioxidants, you combine a powerful superfood with your meals that can boost your hair growth, support your immune system, and prevents damage to your cells.
16. Greek Yogurt
Loaded with protein, it’s the foundation of great hair. Greek yogurt contains vitamin B5 which promotes hair growth by stimulating blood flow to your scalp. Healthline mentions that the cosmetic use of Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) can also help thinning hair.
Additional benefits include:
- Relaxes hair
- Reduces frizz in warm/humid climates
- Helps repair chemically damaged hair
Which Fruit is Good for Hair Growth
Oranges, Strawberries, Papaya, and Prunes
Need something sweet for a snack or dessert? Fruit offers a number of vitamins essential for hair loss prevention.
Oranges offer the highest concentration of vitamin C, but papaya, prunes, figs, cantaloupe, and strawberries also should find their way into your diet.
How Can I Increase Hair Growth and Thickness
All of the food in this article can help you change your diet and hopefully improve your hair health. While nothing is certain, studies have shown that many of the vitamins found in these foods lead to healthier hair with increased thickness and luster.
In addition to changing your diet to include these vitamin-rich foods, you should also look into shampoos for hair loss or change other behaviors, such as the type of hats you wear or how you wash your hair.
Have you experienced the benefits of changing your diet for hair growth? What food helped you the most?