Everyone wants hair that looks healthy and grows well. Normally, hair grows on an average of 0.5 inches per month and 6 inches per year. Some people tend to grow much longer than that while some fall short. Several factors contribute to hair growth and they include age, genetics, diet, and health. While you have no control over your genetics because you carry genes from both parents, you can control your diet. Most times, your diet is also a major component of healthy living. When you begin to eat healthily, you would notice a change in the quality of your hair, nails, and skin. Most of these changes will be observed better in people who have experienced hair loss due to poor nutrition.
Here, we would be looking at 20 foods that will improve the quality of your hair and boost its growth.
1. Sweet Potatoes
Many people enjoy having sweet potatoes for breakfast. They taste great, and you can eat them boiled, fried, or roasted. Sweet potatoes contain high amounts of beta-carotene which is converted to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is essential for good hair growth. About 114g of sweet potatoes (not so much), will provide your body with 4 times your vitamin A requirement daily.
Various studies have also shown that an increase in vitamin A intake results in more production of sebum, which promotes healthy hair. Vitamin A also prevents your follicles from regressing and allows for the growth of thicker hair on the scalp.
Nuts are very tasty foods that can serve as snacks for breakfast or lunch. One of the most important qualities of nuts is that it is highly nutritious. For instance, almonds are very high in vitamin E content and only 28g of almonds provide 37% of your daily vitamin E requirement. Nuts are also rich in B vitamins and other nutrients such as essential fatty acids and zinc. Apart from hair growth, nuts have various health benefits including reducing inflammation. Adding nuts to your diet shouldn’t be a problem because you can even eat them while walking on the road or working in the office.
If you’re keen on getting excellent hair growth and keeping healthy hair, you shouldn’t ignore the oysters. Oysters are very high in zinc. Zinc is a very important mineral for hair growth and repairs. When your body lacks the necessary amount of zinc, there’s an increased probability of Telogen effluvium occurring. This is a very common form of hair loss which is reversible by increasing zinc intake. While you may take zinc supplements to easily reverse this hair loss, taking an excess of these supplements results in further hair loss. This is why oysters and other zinc-containing foods are important. They provide this nutrient in the right proportion.
Eggs are one of the most important foods required for hair growth. They are very rich in protein and biotin. Protein is one of the essential nutrients required to keep healthy hair because hair follicles are made of protein. Various studies have also shown that a lack of protein in the diet results in hair loss.
Biotin also helps in the production of keratin, a hair protein. This is the reason biotin supplements are sold for hair growth. This only really works for people who lack biotin in their diet and don’t do much for people who already follow a balanced diet.
Eggs also contain a variety of other nutrients such as selenium and zinc, which makes them optimal for great hair health.
Berries contain a high level of nutrients such as vitamins that promote hair growth and healthy living. One of such vitamins is Vitamin C, which is a very strong antioxidant. Free radicals are harmful molecules found naturally in the body that may cause damage to the hair. The antioxidants produced by these berries protect the hair follicles from damage.
Apart from antioxidant properties, the vitamin C produced in the body increases the amount of iron the body absorbs from the diet, thus helping to prevent anemia which is a known cause of hair loss. It is also used by the body to make collagen which is a hair-strengthening protein that prevents your hair from breaking. Black people tend to lose their hair more frequently because of their fragility. Eating more berries prevents this from happening.
Beans are highly rich in protein. Since it is a plant-based protein source, even vegetarians can enjoy it for healthy hair growth. Beans are also a very good source of zinc and it helps in the growth and repairs of the hair. A 100g serving of beans will provide up to 7% of your required zinc intake daily, which is very impressive. It also contains other nutrients such as folate, iron, and biotin. You should consider increasing your beans intake and cutting down on high carbs and fatty foods.
Seeds are very low in calories and they provide a lot of nutrients to the body, many of which promote healthy hair growth. They include selenium, vitamin E, and zinc. An example of seeds with great qualities is sunflower seeds. Taking an ounce of sunflower seeds provides 50% of your daily vitamin E needs while also giving a wide variety of B vitamins to help with your hair growth. Flaxseeds and chia seeds are very rich in omega 3-fatty acids. To get the best of nutrients from seeds, it is advisable to consume a mixture of these seeds.
Avocados are very delicious and they provide the body with nutrients that include healthy fats and vitamins. One of the major vitamins found in Avocados is vitamin E. Vitamin E also serves as antioxidants, preventing hair follicles and protecting the scalp from oxidative damage from free radicals. About 200g of an avocado provides 21% of your daily vitamin E requirement.
Vitamin E also contains essential fatty acids which are not produced by the body but are important building blocks of the cells. Studies have shown that deficiency in essential fatty acids may lead to hair loss.
9. Fatty fish
Fatty fish are rich in nutrients that promote healthy hair growth. One of the most important nutrients they contain is omega-3 fatty acids. Some researchers have confirmed that omega-3 fatty acids are related to hair growth. This is the reason several people take fish oil supplements to help boost hair growth and reduce hair loss and thinning hair. Asides omega-3 fatty acids, fatty fish also contain other nutrients such as proteins, vitamin D, selenium, and B vitamins. Some examples of fatty fish are mackerel, herring, and salmon.
Spinach is a green vegetable you can easily purchase in markets. It contains various nutrients that are important to the body for healthy hair growth. Some of these nutrients include iron, vitamin A, folate, and vitamin C. All these nutrients promote hair growth and improve hair quality. Vitamin A is important in the production of sebum, an oily substance that prevents the scalp from dryness and ultimately promotes healthy hair growth. Vitamin C protects hair follicles from oxidative damage by free radicals, and the iron the body absorbs from spinach aids in oxygen transfer by red blood cells throughout the body which helps in the growth and repair of muscles, cells, and organs in the body.
Not everyone likes shrimps, but they are shellfish that contain a variety of nutrients. You would find well-prepared shellfish in restaurants that sell seafood if you don’t know how to go about preparing it. Some of the nutrients they contain include B vitamins, zinc, protein, vitamin D, and iron. Quite surprisingly, several studies have shown that deficiency in vitamin D. Shrimp isn’t fatty food, but it provides the body with some omega 3-fatty acids which help boost hair growth. Zinc, protein, and iron are well-known nutrients for healthy hair.
Soybeans contain various compounds, one of which has been shown to promote hair growth. The compound, spermidine is very abundant in soybeans and promotes healthy hair. A study was carried out on 100 healthy people, and it was observed that taking a spermidine-based natural supplement helped increase the anagen (active hair growth) phase. This helped increase growth due to less falling out of hair. Laboratory studies have also shown that spermidine boosts hair growth. While this looks very promising, research is still in the beginning stages, and more studies have to be carried out to determine how this works and how well it would help in promoting hair growth.
13. Sweet Peppers
Sweet peppers are excellent sources of vitamins, especially vitamin C which promotes hair growth. Taking only 1 yellow pepper will give your body almost 6 times more vitamin C than you would get from oranges. This vitamin C is very important because it increases the production of collagen which makes your hair strands stronger and stays longer. Vitamin C also has antioxidative properties, protecting hair follicles from damage by free radicals. Vitamin A which increases sebum production on the scalp can also be found in sweet peppers.
Meat is very rich in hair growth and is usually part of most people’s diets. It is high in hair growth-promoting nutrients. It is rich in proteins that strengthen hair follicles and also iron which helps the body transport oxygen on the red blood cells to several parts of the body including hair follicles. The iron found in meat is very easy to absorb. Taking meat helps reduce your risk of iron and protein deficiency which have been found to cause hair loss.
Sardine is an alternative to fatty fish. It is also easily accessible and is sold in cans in markets. Like fatty fish, sardine contains nutrients that promote hair growth such as omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D. Deficiency in both vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids causes hair loss. Sardines are also cheap and readily available. You can also eat them with other foods such as salad, bread, eggs, etc. It is better to purchase the sardines in water, not oil to avoid adding extra unhealthy calories to your diet.
Grape is a citrus fruit that has contains polyphenolic compounds with antioxidant properties. The vitamin C found in grape promotes hair growth by boosting collagen production, and also preventing the scalp from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. It also contains other nutrients such as proteins, carbohydrates, sodium, calcium, iron, vitamin D, and vitamin B6, most of which are involved in the promotion of hair growth. Taking a full cup of grape a day also helps protect your body tissues from inflammation.
Pumpkin promotes hair growth. It is very rich in nutrients such as potassium and zinc. Zinc is important in maintaining collagen production, thus promoting hair growth. Potassium also keeps the hair healthy. Squash contains a very low amount of calories and it is loaded with iron and beta-carotene which serves as an antioxidant to protect the scalp. It also contains vitamins C and E which are also important for hair growth. Apart from eating it, you can also use it to make hair shampoo by mixing 2 cups of chopped pumpkin with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, honey, and yogurt.
18. Unsweetened Greek Yogurt
Unsweetened Greek yogurt is very delicious and rich in protein. They are usually taken as breakfast, and provides the body with nutrients. In addition to this, they contain probiotics which are live bacteria that help the body to absorb nutrients that promote hair growth and keeps the body healthy. When selecting unsweetened Greek yogurt to purchase, get the ones that have 5 or more bacterial strains or cultures by 6-ounce serving.
19. 100% Whole Grain Pasta
100% Whole grain pasta is rich in fiber. If you intend to increase your fiber intake, this whole-grain pasta should be on top of your food list. They are also very rich in proteins which are important for healthy hair growth because the hair follicles are made of protein. A 100% whole grain wheat flour has 8- grams of protein and 7-grams of fiber per 2-ounce serving.
Buckwheat is not a grain, but a gluten-free seed. Buckwheat contains many nutrients and provides several health benefits to the body. It contains fiber and antioxidants which promote hair growth by protecting the hair follicles. Fiber helps you get filled up faster and also promotes digestion. You can use buckwheat to replace oatmeal in your diet.