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The Best Foods For Hair Growth

Guy_With_Blond_HairWant to maximize hair growth? Ditch empty calories and load up on salmon.
Feel free to put more protein-rich goodness on your plate too, like flaxseed and walnuts. Hair is 97% protein, after all, so it makes sense your follicles like lots of it.
See, the best kept secret behind shiny locks might not be a product. Rather, it’s the foods that show up on your plate. Hair likes – needs – nutrients from a healthy, well-balanced diet. Good-bye empty calories like soft drinks and Big Macs. Hello protein, iron, zinc and a few others.

The Link Between Hair Growth and Diet

It’s pretty telling that a good hair stylist can see when a client has altered their diet just by looking at hair growth patterns. But it’s true – consider that 90% of your hair is in its ‘growth’ phase at any given time. Each hair in this phase grows for about two years, after which it goes in to a resting phase of about three months before it sheds and is replaced by new hair.
Lack of protein from your diet can can lead to disproportionate levels of hair going into this resting phase. This type of hair loss is common in clients who do crash diets, which rob the body of the nutrients required for hair growth.
Your body prioritizes where it sends nutrients when they’re limited, like they are in many crash diets and/or in people who take in empty calories, and sends them to the life-giving cells first. Hair cells are the first to go – it’s not uncommon for men and women to see major hair loss when they’ve shed 15 pounds or more.

A Muscle-Friendly Diet Should Help Hair Growth

The good news is that hair-friendly foods are the same ones you eat (or should be eating) for better health in general. Men’s Health notes you’re probably getting enough nutrients for hair growth if you’re eating to build or maintain muscle. That means plenty of protein and lean meats like poultry.
Hair likes iron too, and iron deficiency is a major cause of non-genetic hair loss, though you’ll want to have that diagnosed by your doctor.

As a general rule, if it’s processed snack food and you can find it in a convenience store, it’s probably not going to help hair growth – or your health.

Some of the worst foods for hair growth include:

  • Sugar
  • Sodium (Salt)
  • High animal protein
  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Artificial color
  • Enriched bleach white flour
  • Soft drinks

As a general rule, if it’s processed snack food and you can find it in a convenience store, it’s probably not going to help hair growth – or your health.

Hair Growth Vitamins and Minerals

The real reason you’re reading this article. The best foods for hair growth are rich in nutrients. At the top of that list is protein, which you’ll find in chicken, turkey, beef, eggs and low fat dairy like cottage cheese, skim milk and yogurt.
Quality of protein matters as well. Low quality protein can lead to brittle hair and loss of hair color. Stick to the foods mentioned in this article though and you should be fine.
Iron is another hair-friendly nutrient you’ll want to add to your diet. Most experts say you’re better off getting iron through diet rather than supplements, and indeed, many iron-rich foods make their way on the list of foods that make hair grow. Among them are lean red meat, egg yolks, dried beans, dried fruit and whole grains.
Zinc, vitamin C, omega-3 fatty acids, lignans, biotin and plain old fashioned water round out the list of nutrients that encourage healthy hair growth, and you’ll find many of them on the following list of superstar foods that hair just loves.

The Best Foods For Hair Growth

Wild Salmon – The studies just keep piling up about wild salmon and what it does for your heart, brain, sperm and the rest of you. Oh yeah – and salmon is exceptionally good for your hair. Chock that up to crazy-good levels of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, with a little vitamin D thrown in for good measure.
Note that your body can’t make omega-3 fatty acids, but you need them to grow hair. Roughly 3% of the hair shaft is made of these fatty acids, say researchers, along with cell membranes within the scalp.
Salmon_For_Hair_GrowthEven in the unlikely event you don’t like salmon (or the more likely scenario that it’s not available in your area – check Whole Foods), you can still get your hair-friendly dose of omega-3s without touching this health superstar. Opt for other oily cold water fish, like herring, sardines and trout. Or try avocado or pumpkin seeds.
Walnuts – They’re good for your sperm and they’re good for your hair. Walnuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids too (what a coincidence!), along with biotin and vitamin E, both of which promote better cellular health with less DNA damage. You’ll also find copper in walnuts, a mineral that might help you keep your natural hair color, and keep it shiny and manageable.
You can also use walnut oil to get the same benefits – add it to a salad or stir fry in place of canola oil.
Oysters – Funny how some of the best foods for healthy swimmers have the additional benefit of being good for hair growth. But here they are – three ounces of oysters pack a hair-encouraging 493% of your daily zinc requirements, with more than enough protein to help the body replace hairs shed naturally throughout the day.
Other sources of zinc include nuts, beef and eggs.
Sweet PotatoesBeta-carotene can make you more attractive. A 2011 British study found that people who ate carrots took on an orange hue that members of the opposite sex found to be rather alluring. Your hair likes beta-carotene too – the body converts this antioxidant to vitamin A, used in pretty much every cell function, including production of scalp oils.
Find beta-carotene in carrots, cantaloupe, mangos and great pumpkin. Yet one of the best sources of beta-carotene and its hair growth benefits it, you guess it, sweet potatoes.
Eggs – One of the best sources of protein you’ll find, like, anywhere, eggs pack a hair-growing dose of zinc, selenium, sulfur and iron, the latter of which transports nutrients to hair follicles.

Some of the best foods for healthy swimmers have the additional benefit of being good for hair growth.

Spinach – Popeye isn’t known for flowing locks, but that’s no fault of his diet. Spinach is simply awesome for growing hair because it’s rich in iron, beta-carotene, folate and vitamin C, which all feed nutrients to follicles and keep scalp oils circulating.
Lentils – Little powerhouses of follicular goodness, lentils burst with protein and other hair-growing nutrients like iron and zinc, making them a good option for both vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.
Greek Yogurt – You’ll find a few friends to your follicles in the dairy aisle too. Try Greek yogurt, with its huge protein and vitamin B5 – which is common in many hair products. Also try cottage cheese, low-fat cheese and/or skim milk for the same benefits.
Blueberries – Right up there with salmon, blueberries are a nutritional masterpiece to your body and poetry to your hair, in part because they’re high in vitamin C, which feeds nutrients to the scalp and supports the tiny blood vessels that feed your follicles. Vitamin C deficiency can lead to breakage and brittle hair.
Chicken_Breast_For_Hair_GrowthOther vitamin C rich foods include kiwis, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and strawberries.
Poultry – A favorite of body-builders, poultry like chicken and turkey breast are some of the best sources of protein, zinc, iron and B vitamins for the money. Hair is mostly protein, remember, and you’ll see a difference with these on your plate.
Remember, healthy hair is hair that grows out of each follicle. This doesn’t mean you can’t have a good scalp if you’ve dealing with male pattern baldness – you’ve got fewer follicles, after all. What you can do is maximize the hair you’ve got and keep it shiny and easier to manage. You’ll likely to that with these foods, and who knows? You might be a healthier person for it.

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