When it comes to promoting healthy hair growth, many people think that store-bought treatments are the answer. Whilst nourishing conditioners and repair masks can help, one of the best ways to keep your hair in optimal condition is to eat known hair growth foods.
Nutrition and diet can help you manage your hair loss. Supplements aren’t usually the best way to get the nutrients your hair needs. So it’s important to make sure you’re eating the right things to keep your hair thick and shiny for as long as you can.
The key nutrients you need for healthy hair growth
Certain foods promote hair growth because they’re densely packed full of the right nutrients. These are the most important nutrients you should eat if you want to give your tresses a growth spurt.
Your hair is made mostly of a protein called keratin. Eating foods with plenty of protein helps keep keratin strong and resilient, resulting in thicker, healthier strands. Low-protein diets and protein deficiencies often lead to brittle hair that snaps easily, giving the appearance of thin lacklustre hair.
If you’re a regular gym goer, you may have heard that taking whey protein can affect your hair. Learn more about the link between whey protein and hair loss.
Biotin is also vital for keratin production and repair. It’s one of a series of B vitamins, which are responsible for good mental health as well as hair growth. Stress and anxiety have been linked with hair loss, so this is an important micronutrient. Biotin is water-soluble, so you’ll also need to stay super hydrated to help the body absorb as much biotin as possible.
Iron is one of the most important minerals for circulation. Blood flow can have a big impact on hair growth, since nutrients, energy and oxygen are all delivered to your hair follicles via the bloodstream. Low iron levels can lead to anaemia, which can prevent your hair follicles from receiving the nutrients they need for hair growth as the body prioritises where it sends oxygen.
Vitamin D is created in the body following exposure to sunlight. Studies have shown a link between vitamin D deficiency and hair loss, so it’s important to generate enough of this key vitamin to stimulate hair growth .
Learn more about the link between vitamins and hair growth in our complete guide to hair supplements.
Which foods can help your hair grow?
Healthy, nutritious foods are good for your body — so it’s no surprise they’re also what’s best for your hair. Take a look at the top 10 hair growth foods recommended by trichology experts.
1. Oily fish
Salmon, sardines and mackerel are all packed with healthy omega-3 fatty acids. These are fats that your body can’t make, so you need to get them from the food you eat. Fish like salmon and mackerel provide a number of health benefits, such as protecting you from disease. But they also promote healthy hair growth, keeping it looking shiny and full.
Be wary of tinned tuna, as this often contains high mercury levels that have been linked with hair loss. Find out more about foods that can contribute to hair loss.
2. Greek yoghurt
Greek yoghurt is a great source of protein. Protein-rich foods supply amino acids to keratin, which is the main protein that makes up your hair strands. Greek yoghurt also contains Vitamin B5, which is great for improving blood flow to your scalp. This vitamin is commonly incorporated into shampoos, as it’s known to prevent hair thinning and loss.
Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach are packed full of vitamins and minerals like Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Beta Carotene and Iron. These vitamins are all great for nourishing your follicles and preventing hair from becoming brittle. The more moisturised your hair is, the less likely it is to break, so make sure you’re eating your greens!
Iron deficiency can lead to hair loss, so it’s important that you’re getting plenty in your diet. One of the best ways to ingest iron is to eat fortified cereal, grains and pastas. Fortified cereals are also packed with vitamin D for hair loss.
5. Chicken and turkey
If you’re not getting enough protein in your diet, then your hair will go into rest mode. If new hair isn’t growing but your old hair is falling out, you could end up with bald patches.
Plenty of foods are good sources of protein. However, we recommend sticking to the healthy options. Lean poultry like chicken and turkey are better for your general health as they provide the protein you need, without all the saturated fat found in other meat.
Eggs are another great source of protein, but they’re also rich in biotin. If you don’t get enough of this B vitamin, then you may experience hair loss and other symptoms such as brittle fingernails. Egg yolks are also full of vitamin D, another vital hair health nutrient.
7. Sweet potatoes
If your hair looks dull and feels dry, you may want to consider incorporating more sweet potatoes into your diet. Sweet potatoes contain a powerful antioxidant known as Beta Carotene.
The body uses this antioxidant to create Vitamin A, which in small doses can promote healthy and shiny hair. (However, vitamin A can make hair loss worse, so don’t overdo it.) Beta Carotene also encourages the glands in your scalp to create sebum, which nourishes the hair and prevents it from drying out.
Beta Carotene is the element that gives orange fruits and vegetables like carrots, pumpkins and mangos their vibrant colour, so you can also eat these to take advantage of this healthy hair pigment.
Sprinkle a little cinnamon into your recipes to promote healthy circulation. Cinnamon is known for improving blood flow, which will ensure that your hair follicles are getting the oxygen and nutrients they need to thrive. You can also use cinnamon oil as a topical hair growth solution to stimulate blood flow to the scalp.
Avocado is full of healthy fats that help the body absorb fat-soluble nutrients like vitamin D. They’re also a great source of vitamin E — an antioxidant that helps protect your scalp. Your scalp health is really important for strong hair growth, so take care of it by eating lots of avocado.
Lentils are a must-eat for vegans and vegetarians looking for healthier, thicker hair. These legumes are nutrient-rich, packed with biotin, zinc, iron and protein. Vegan and vegetarian diets are often lacking in some of these areas — particularly protein — so eating lentils is a great way to get more healthy hair nutrients into your diet.
11. Chili oil
Capsaicin, the active ingredient in chili, can promote hair loss in people with alopecia . While more evidence is needed to establish this link, applying a small amount of chili oil to your scalp can increase blood flow to the hair follicles.
Other ways to stimulate hair growth
Eating well-known hair growth foods isn’t the only way to help your hair grow thick and shiny. If you’re experiencing sustained hair loss, you may need a more powerful hair growth solution.
At our UK hair transplant clinic, our hair loss specialists can create a personalised hair growth plan for you. They’ll assess your diet, lifestyle and other factors like family history of hair loss to determine the best course of action for restoring your hair.
Book a free consultation with a hair loss specialist at the Wimpole Clinic to find out more.
Talk to a specialist ☎ 020 7935 1861.
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