Many factors having to do with the quality of our hair are based on genetics and age. We don’t get to pick whether our locks are curly or straight, or what color our hair naturally grows. The texture, thickness, and speed of growth are likewise controlled by Mother Nature.
But there are things that you can do to promote the growth of strong tresses as well as prevent excess hair loss. It starts in the kitchen (for everything else, there is bound to be a product).
Eggs top our list of hair-healthy foods because they contain a lot of protein and biotin, as well as other nutrients like zinc and selenium. Hair follicles are mostly made of protein, and not enough protein in the diet is known to cause hair loss.
Biotin is an essential nutrient for the production of a particular kind of protein called keratin. If you have a biotin deficiency, consuming more may help improve hair growth. Many supplements that purport to improve hair quality contain biotin for this reason.
Berries are a fantastic addition to your diet because they contain certain compounds and vitamins that promote hair growth. One of the biggest is vitamin C, which has strong antioxidant properties.
Antioxidants help to protect hair follicles from being damaged by free radicals, which exist naturally in the body and are linked to aging. Our bodies also use vitamin C to produce collagen, a protein necessary to prevent hair from becoming brittle and breaking. And finally, vitamin C helps the body absorb iron and prevent anemia, which has also been linked to hair loss.
Spinach is a great all-around source for nutrients like folate, iron, and vitamins A and C. Each of these has a role to play in healthy hair growth. Vitamin A especially helps the skin glands produce sebum, an oily substance that moisturizes the scalp and in turn, keeps hair healthy.
Iron is great for helping red blood cells to carry oxygen through the body to aid growth and repair. One cup of spinach nets you 54% of your recommended daily vitamin A, plus 4% of RDA for iron for women and 10% of RDA for men.
4. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish like salmon, herring, and mackerel promote hair growth due to their concentration of omega-3 fatty acids. A study including 120 women who took a fish oil supplement plus antioxidants found that their hair, on average, was denser and that they lost less of it.
Another study concluded that fish oil supplements can significantly reduce hair loss in women with thinning hair. If you are not a fan of fish, a fish oil supplement is an excellent alternative. However, fish also contains other hair-healthy nutrients, including protein, selenium, vitamin D3, and B vitamins.
5. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes make the list because of their beta-carotene. This compound is converted by the body into vitamin A, which we know helps in the production of sebum. Sebum is critical to scalp health and by extension, helps keep hair moisturized.
Vitamin A may also increase the rate of hair growth and encourage thicker strands, as well as prevent other hair follicles from regressing. You can get more than 4x your RDA of beta carotene in one medium sweet potato.
Avocados contain healthy fats along with a nice amount of vitamin E, plus they are just yummy. Like vitamin C, vitamin E is an antioxidant that is great at neutralizing harmful free radicals and promoting hair growth.
One study of people with hair loss found that participants experienced 34.5% more hair growth after eight months of taking a vitamin E supplement. E also plays a strong role in protecting the scalp from oxidative stress and damage, and dry or damaged scalp often results in fewer active hair follicles.