The best food for hair growth
All about food & hair growth
Good hair indeed boosts self-confidence. Call it superficial, but our obsession with our hair is hardwired into how we consider ourselves in the presence of others. I feel it’s justified since feeling good on the inside has a lot to do with how you regard your external appearance.
Believe it or not, your hair health depends a lot on what you eat.
We believe maintaining healthy & strong hair is a challenge. But really, it’s not! Your hair care routine can be as simple as maintaining a healthy diet. Is it that hard? I am not saying that eating good food will magically cover a person’s bald spots overnight. But it definitely contributes to a person’s overall hair health. And if you are facing excessive hair fall lately, go softer on the pills, focus on natural remedies, and most importantly, make sure you are following the correct dietary practices.
How are hair and food-related?
Hair is one of the fastest-growing tissues in the human body, but the rate at which our hair grows relies on factors like genetics, age, health, hormones, diet, and more. While things like age and genetics are not in our hands, we do have control over what food we eat regularly. Our food intake determines a lot about our health as a whole, and hair is a major part of it.
Consuming a nutrient-lacking diet can actually lead to weakening hair and hair loss. Your hair needs several nutrients to grow and remain healthy. Eating a balanced meal can help nourish your hair from the inside out and is far better than investing cash on fancy treatment to better the status of your hair.
Which are essential nutrients for hair growth?
Protein (keratin) is what your hair is primarily made of & healthy fats hydrate the hair. For thick and strong hair growth, you need to ensure that your hair cells receive the required amount of protein, essential vitamins, and healthy fats. Incorporating all of these into your regular diet is thus imperative.
All you need to do is figure out the best combination of food items for yourself. You can always seek the help of a professional if you get confused about the amount for each.
Before we move on to the best foods, let’s first look at the nutrients that matter to hair and why.
Healthy hair demands a significant intake of protein or lean protein. Since hair is essentially made of protein, a deficiency can impact hair growth negatively and ultimately cause hair loss. However, thankfully in Western countries, protein deficiency is very rare.
A large variety of our daily food items contain biotin (or vitamin H), a B-vitamin excellent for hair growth. You may have heard of its use in hair loss treatment, but it works effectively strictly in cases of deficiency. Biotin produces energy by converting a few nutrients, thus assisting your body in producing keratin.
Other B vitamins help produce red blood cells, which play a vital role in carrying nutrients and oxygen to the scalp and follicles. Speaking of B12 specifically, you will only get it from meat. So, if you are vegan, you might want to consider going for a supplement.
- Vitamin C:
Free radical damage causes oxidative stress, which can hinder your hair growth & vitamin C is a potent antioxidant. Our body needs vitamin C to create collagen (i.e., crucial for hair structure), which helps your hair absorb the iron that is vital for hair growth.
- Vitamin A:
All cells, including that of hair, require this vitamin to grow. It helps skin glands to produce sebum (an oily substance), thus regulating the scalp’s moisture level. However, be warned- excess vitamin A can cause hair loss.
- Vitamin E:
Like vitamin C, Vitamin E is also a powerful antioxidant. It helps maintain the protective lipid layer and nourishes the scalp alongside.
Iron is a crucial mineral for hair growth in a way that it helps red blood cells to transport oxygen to your hair cells. Massive deficiency can lead to hair loss, especially in women.
A dose too high can contribute to hair loss. However, incorporating measured portions of zinc is said to help the oil glands around your follicles function properly.
Now let’s get to know what foods help hair growth.
The best foods for hair growth
It is best to go for lean meat options. Turkey and chicken can be great alternatives when it comes to meat protein for hair growth. This way, you can avoid less saturated fat that pork or beef contains. On the other hand, red meat is rich in iron, an essential mineral responsible for improving RBCs health. RBCs deliver oxygen to your hair follicles. To balance things out, you can consume lean meat versus red meat at a ratio of 4:1.
Meat not just strengthens but also repairs hair follicles.
Note: Even though organ meat like liver may be less appetizing for some, it sure does benefit the hair.
This dairy product can do wonders to increase your hair volume. It provides tons of protein, but make sure you consume the unsweetened variety. Another colossal quality of yogurt is that the probiotics in it help the body absorb nutrients.
Eggs are often considered to be a superfood for hair health, both when applied externally and even when consumed. They are primarily an excellent protein and biotin source, both of which promote hair growth. Lutein & zeaxanthin (carotenoids) in eggs help maintain cellular health of hair, eyes, and skin.
Apart from that, it also contains adequate amounts of zinc, a vitamin A&D that prevents your hair from getting damaged.
Asparagus and broccoli contain B-vitamin folate in abundance- the very nutrient that helps form RBCs and creates gene synthesis. They are the building blocks for your hair follicles as they play a major role in breaking down proteins. Potassium and magnesium in avocado give your hair a shinier look.
Beta-carotene converts to Vitamin A, which is integral for hair growth and helps stimulate the production of the elixir for your locks, i.e., sebum. In this case, keep an eye out for orange-colored vegetables like carrots, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes.
Pumpkin also has vitamin E & C that may help repair cell damage to a certain extent. Vitamin C-packed veggies like red bell pepper can also make your mane strong and long.
Leafy vegetables like spinach and lettuce are high in iron content which again is necessary for hair growth. Another good plant-based protein source is beans, which also come packed with other hair growth essentials like zinc and biotin.
Besides being packed with healthy fats, avocado also provides Vitamin E, which works great as an antioxidant to encourage hair growth. It also contains small proportions of biotin. Plus, you can use it in the form of DIY hair masks.
You can reduce cellular damage by incorporating grapes into your diet as it also has antioxidant properties. Did you know that grapes also have OCP (oligomeric proanthocyanidins) that restricts the production of dihydrotestosterone which majorly leads to hair loss? It’s the same with berries like blueberries.
6. Fatty Fish:
Salmon is an excellent example of this which offers high doses of omega-3 fatty acids. Among many health benefits, salmon’s anti-inflammatory properties prove to be preventive for hair loss.
Fatty fishes often contain Vitamin D as well, which can work for follicular stimulation.
7. Nuts & Seeds:
There are a few nuts and seeds that provide a large variety of nutrients with fewer calories. Here are some:
- Walnuts contain zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, and alpha-linoleic, which betters your hair development and keeps your mane naturally conditioned.
- Almonds also provide a range of B vitamins and Vitamin E, among other essential nutrients.
- Chia seeds and flaxseeds have omega-3 fatty acids.
- You can also get a daily dose of Vitamin E and Vitamin B for hair growth from sunflower seeds.
- Peanuts are a biotin source that can help prevent hair loss and stimulate hair growth.
Folic acid in lentils helps your system make RBCs that carry oxygen to your skin and scalp, revitalizing cells for hair growth. Manganese and protein are good for hair growth. Chickpeas, for example, are full of protein. They are also rich in iron, zinc, and folate.
Legumes are a perfect alternative resource for abundant protein and fiber, in case you are vegetarian.
Maintaining a healthy diet for hair growth- Does it work every time?
Incorporating a few essential nutrients works for hair growth, but not all the time. For instance, if someone loses hair due to androgenic alopecia, the person cannot solely rely on a diet change to regain the lost hair.
There are specific treatments for such cases. LLLT is one such treatment that has become popular over the last decade. It can contribute to its popularity among users for three main reasons:
- Convenience of use
- Positive results
If you are looking for a safe way to reverse your hair loss, you can try out laser caps, combs, and bands. We say it is safe because there are no recorded side effects of this treatment option. Moreover, almost all the low-level therapy products come with a minimum 6-month money-back guarantee, so you can easily return it if it doesn’t work for you.
Changes in the dietary section can help maintain long-term healthy hair and might also encourage hair growth in case of deficiencies. However, if you have been suffering from an illness causing hair loss, you must first get diagnosed by a physician and proceed accordingly.