Many people want strong and healthy hair, especially as they grow older.
Interestingly, your hair grows around 0.5 inches (1.25 cm) per month, and 6 inches (15 cm) per year. How fast it grows depends on factors like age, health, genetics and diet.
Although you can’t change factors like age and genetics, diet is one thing you have control over. In fact, consuming a diet lacking the right nutrients can lead to hair loss.
On the other hand, eating a balanced diet with the right nutrients can help promote hair growth, especially if you’re experiencing hair loss due to poor nutrition.
Here are the 10 best foods you can eat to promote hair growth
Berries are loaded with beneficial compounds and vitamins that may promote hair growth.
This includes vitamin C, which has strong antioxidant properties.
Antioxidants can help protect hair follicles against damage from harmful molecules called free radicals. These molecules exist naturally in the body and the environment.
For example, 1 cup (144 grams) of strawberries provides an impressive 141% of your daily vitamin C needs.
Also, the body uses vitamin C to produce collagen, a protein that helps strengthen hair to prevent it from becoming brittle and breaking.
What’s more, vitamin C helps the body absorb iron from the diet. Low iron levels may cause anemia, which has been linked to hair loss.
Spinach is a healthy green vegetable that’s loaded with beneficial nutrients like folate, iron, and vitamins A and C, all of which may promote hair growth.
Vitamin A helps the skin glands produce sebum. This oily substance helps moisturize the scalp to keep hair healthy.
A cup (30 grams) of spinach provides up to 54% of your daily vitamin A needs.
Spinach is also a great plant-based source of iron, which is essential for hair growth. Iron helps red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body to fuel your metabolism and aid growth and repair.
What’s more, iron deficiencies have been linked to hair loss.
Fatty fish like salmon, herring, and mackerel have nutrients that may promote hair growth.
They are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to hair growth.
A study in 120 women found that taking a supplement containing omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids as well as antioxidants reduced hair loss and increased hair density.
Another study found that taking a fish oil supplement significantly reduced hair loss and increased hair growth in women with thinning hair.
Fatty fish is also a great source of protein, selenium, vitamin D3, and B vitamins, nutrients that may help promote strong and healthy hair.
Sweet potatoes are a great source of beta-carotene. The body converts this compound into vitamin A, which is linked to good hair health.
A medium sweet potato contains enough beta-carotene to provide more than four times your daily vitamin A needs.
Research has shown that vitamin A promotes the production of sebum, which helps keep hair healthy.
What’s more, vitamin A could also speed up the rate of hair growth and encourage the growth of thicker hair, all while preventing other hair follicles from regressing.
Avocados are delicious, nutritious and a great source of healthy fats.
They are also an excellent source of vitamin E, which may promote hair growth. One medium avocado provides 21% of your daily vitamin E needs.
Like vitamin C, vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps combat oxidative stress by neutralizing free radicals.
In one study, people with hair loss experienced 34.5% more hair growth after taking a vitamin E supplement for eight months.
Vitamin E also protects areas of the skin, like the scalp, from oxidative stress and damage. Damaged skin on the scalp can result in poor hair quality and fewer hair follicles.
What’s more, avocados are a great source of essential fatty acids. These fats cannot be produced by the body, but are essential building blocks of your cells. A deficiency in essential fatty acids has been linked to hair loss.
Nuts are tasty, convenient, and contain a variety of nutrients that may promote hair growth.
For example, an ounce of almonds provides an impressive 37% of your daily vitamin E needs.
What’s more, they also provide a wide variety of B vitamins, zinc, and essential fatty acids. A deficiency in any of these nutrients has been linked to hair loss.
Nuts have also been linked to a wide variety of other health benefits besides hair growth, including reduced inflammation and a lower risk of heart disease.
This makes nuts an excellent and easy addition to your diet.
Seeds deliver a massive amount of nutrients with relatively few calories. Many of these nutrients may also promote hair growth. These include vitamin E, zinc and selenium.
An ounce of sunflower seeds provides nearly 50% of your daily vitamin E needs, with a wide variety of hair-healthy B vitamins.
What’s more, certain seeds like flaxseeds and chia seeds also provide omega-3 fatty acids.
A 1-ounce serving of flaxseeds provides 6,388 mg of omega-3 fatty acids. That’s more omega-3 fatty acids than half a fillet of salmon.
Sweet peppers are an excellent source of vitamin C, which may aid hair growth.
In fact, one yellow pepper provides nearly 5.5 times as much vitamin C as an orange.
Vitamin C helps promote collagen production, which can help strengthen your hair strands. It’s also a strong antioxidant, which can protect hair strands against oxidative stress.
What’s more, sweet peppers are also an excellent source of vitamin A.
This vitamin may help speed up hair growth while stimulating the production of sebum, which helps keep hair healthy.
Oysters are one of the best food sources of zinc.
Zinc is a mineral that helps support the hair growth and repair cycle.
A lack of zinc in the diet may promote telogen effluvium, a common but reversible form of hair loss caused by a lack of nutrients in the diet.
Studies have even shown that taking a zinc supplement can help reverse the effects of hair loss caused by a zinc deficiency.
Studies have shown that compounds in soybeans may promote hair growth. One of these compounds is spermidine, which is abundant in soybeans.
For example, a study of 100 healthy people found that a spermidine-based nutritional supplement prolonged a phase of active hair growth called the anagen phase. The longer a hair follicle stays in the anagen phase, the longer it will grow.
Studies have also shown that spermidine promotes human hair growth.
What you eat can have a huge effect on the health of your hair.
A lack of the right nutrients including vitamins A, C, D, and E, zinc, B vitamins, iron, biotin, protein, and essential fatty acids may slow down hair growth or even cause hair loss.
Fortunately, correcting a deficiency in any of these nutrients may help treat hair loss and promote the rate of hair growth.
If you think you’re lacking any of these nutrients, try adding some of the above foods to your diet.
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