Many of us want strong and healthy hair, especially as we age.
Healthy hair naturally grows about 0.5 inches (1.25 cm) per month, and 6 inches (15 cm) per year. How fast hair 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. Consuming a diet lacking the proper 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 some of the best foods you can eat to promote hair growth:
Eggs are a great source of protein and biotin, two nutrients that may promote hair growth.
Eating adequate protein is important for hair growth because hair follicles are made of mostly protein. A lack of protein in the diet has been shown to promote hair loss.
Biotin is essential for the production of a hair protein called keratin, which is why biotin supplements are often marketed for hair growth. Research has also shown that consuming more biotin can help improve hair growth in people with a biotin deficiency.
However, biotin deficiencies are uncommon if you consume a balanced diet. There is little evidence to show healthy people benefit from consuming more biotin.
Eggs are also a great source of zinc, selenium and other hair-healthy nutrients. This makes them one of the best foods to consume for optimal hair th 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, essential for hair growth. Iron helps red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body to fuel your metabolism and aid growth and repair.
Plus iron deficiencies have been linked to hair loss.
5. FATTY FISH
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.
However, there are only a handful of studies on omega-3 fatty acids and hair growth. More studies are needed before health experts can make any recommendations.
Fatty fish is also a great source of protein, selenium, vitamin D3 and B vitamins, nutrients that may help promote strong and healthy hair.
Shrimp are popular shellfish rich in many nutrients that have the potential to promote hair growth.
For example, shrimp are a great source of protein, B vitamins, zinc, iron and vitamin D. A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of shrimp provides 38% of your daily vitamin D needs.
Interestingly, studies have linked vitamin D3 deficiency to hair loss
Despite being very low in fat, shrimp also provide a small amount of omega-3 fatty acids. Diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to improved hair growth.
Supplements are always an option, although the best resource of vitamins is food itself. When buying vitamins a few things to look for and consider include:
- Avoid formulas that contain both calcium and iron.
- Look for activated forms of nutrients.
- Avoid synthetic folic acid.
- Choose multis with a vitamin E complex.
- Beware of additives and fillers.