If you’ve recently noticed significant hair loss, your first step is to check with your physician as it may indicate an underlying medical condition. Before starting any supplement regimen, you should always speak to your doctor first. While the additional B vitamins can help in specific cases (like if you have an underlying condition causing a deficiency), they can also cause negative effects, like dangerously altering lab test results. Supplements also often provide unnecessary biotin that far exceeds what your body can actually use. Considering that most people can get all the B vitamins they need in food, buying these supplements is likely just a waste of money.
When it comes to specific foods, you’ll want to load up on these healthy hair all-stars and add them to your grocery cart ASAP.
The B vitamin folate is found in abundance in asparagus, as well as avocados, oranges, and broccoli. This nutrient is responsible for gene synthesis and red blood cell formation. It also plays a big part in breaking down protein, therefore providing the building blocks of hair follicles.
2. Chickpeas, Lentils, Beans, and Peas
These four are all considered pulses, a.k.a. the dry, edible seeds of veggies. They’re packed with plant-based protein and fiber, making them super filling and often more cost effective than buying meat. These items are also full of folic acid, which is one of the B-complex vitamins that helps to keep hair healthy and renew cells vital for hair growth. Try pulse-based products like Banza pasta and RightRice instead of the traditional refined-grain versions for a nutrition boost.
3. Sweet Potato
Loaded with beta-carotene which gives sweet potatoes their orange hue, this antioxidant turns into vitamin A which can protect against dry and dull hair. Sweet potatoes are significantly higher in vitamin A and slightly higher in fiber than white potatoes. Sweet potatoes also play a role in supporting immunity and healthy vision.
Like other plant-based foods, grapes contain polyphenolic compounds with antioxidant properties, which may help reduce cellular damage. Oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPC) found in grapes help to prvent dihydrotestosterone production which is a main factor in hair loss. OPC also stimulates the growth of hair follicles. Eating about a cup of grapes per day can help to protect your tissues from inflammation.
Avocado toast will never go out of style, and for good reason! Packed with healthy fats, avocados contain Vitamin E which is a powerful antioxidant that promotes hair growth. Avocados also contain biotin and are a popular ingredient in many DIY hair masks.
A half cup of your favorite squash contains just a mere 83 calories and less than a gram of fat. Plus, it’s loaded with iron and beta-carotene, the precursor to vitamin A — an important vitamin for hair growth and strength. Pumpkin also is full of vitamins C and E that help repair your body’s cells from damage. Load up on the canned puree and use it in sauces, protein dishes, and even in snacks to help keep hair at its healthiest.
7. Chia Seeds
Looking for a vegetarian or vegan source of omega-3s? Chia seeds are full of them, not to mention fiber and antioxidants. This nutritional powerhouse is considered a complete protein, containing 20% more protein than soy beans, and can help promote beautiful and luscious locks. These tiny, shelf-stable seeds can be added to cereal, smoothies, puddings, and even as a heart-healthy boost in baked goods.
Spinach is packed with magnesium, iron, and folate, one of those all-important B vitamins. Other leafy greens like kale also offer nutrient-dense benefits for skin and hair. Plus, the vitamin C in these dark green leafy veggies helps to protect and maintain the cell membranes of hair follicles.
As a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids and protein, salmon can help keep those strands strong. But salmon has many health benefits beyond supporting hair, including reducing inflammation and benefiting your central nervous system (a.k.a. your brain).
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