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‌What are the best foods for hair loss?

Published on November 19, 2020
Updated on November 23, 2020

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a plate with hard boiled eggs and avocado on a slice of toast against a bed of fresh spinach
Eggs, avocados, and a variety of other foods contain micronutrients that are essential for healthy hair growth

Foods that can help hair grow

There’s more you can do to prevent hair loss than treat your scalp, undergo surgery or take medications. Healthy eating is an excellent way to encourage hair growth and prevent further hair loss.

Your diet plays an important role in just about everything to do with your physical and mental well-being. Nuts, fish, fatty plants, and fiber-filled vegetables and fruits are foods rich in protein and healthy fats. The macro and micronutrients in these foods can help keep your hair, skin, and nails strong and healthy.

Try to avoid eating a lot of processed and packaged foods. These foods are generally low in the nutrients required to stimulate cell regeneration and prevent your body’s ability to absorb nutrients.

The following list focuses on foods with specific macronutrients, minerals, and vitamins that are beneficial for hair. You can even use certain foods topically, directly applying them to your scalp. This is by no means an exhaustive list of foods for hair growth, but includes foods that can help prevent hair loss, support hair growth, and protect the scalp.

Eggs

Eggs are related to both hair loss and hair growth. They are full of protein and biotin, two nutrients that are essential for hair growth. However, if you eat too many of them raw, they can actually lead to a biotin deficiency, which can cause hair loss.  

Your hair follicles are mostly protein, so getting enough is necessary for healthy follicles. Some studies, like this article in the Dermatology Practical and Conceptual Journal, have shown that insufficient protein consumption can result in increased hair loss. Similarly, biotin helps your body produce keratin. Keratin is a protein that is essential for skin, hair, and nail health.

A fried egg and layer of smashed avocado on toast

Cooked eggs are a great source of biotin

six cartons with alternating raspberries and blueberries

Berries are a great source of vitamin C and other antioxidants

Berries

Berries contain antioxidants, like vitamin C. The National Institutes of Health says that vitamin C is important for your immune system and the synthesis of collagen, a protein that’s found in many of your body’s tissues. Just 1 cup (100 grams) of strawberries can provide you with your daily dose of vitamin C. 

The Mayo Clinic says that vitamin C can help protect your body from being damaged by free radicals, which are harmful molecules associated with various diseases. According to the study in Dermatology Practical and Conceptual, these harmful molecules have even been linked to different types of hair loss.

Avocado

Avocado is a versatile food that contains vitamins C and E, along with different types of healthy fats. Like vitamin C, vitamin E is an antioxidant. A study in the journal Tropical Life Science Research suggested that the antioxidant properties of vitamin E might be able to help improve scalp health and hair growth.

Eating avocados can help you obtain your daily recommended amounts of both vitamin C and vitamin E, which means that this food can also help increase the levels of antioxidants in your body. The USDA says that a whole, average-sized avocado (200 grams) provides about 28 percent of your daily dose of vitamin E and 22 percent of vitamin C. Each avocado also has large amounts of B-complex vitamins and minerals like copper and potassium.

Smashed avocado on toast in the center of a gray plate, with a fork to the left, halved lime above, and baby spinach scattered around it

Avocado is rich in antioxidants and vitamins C and E

Six tempeh and peanut skewers on a wooden chopping board, alongside slices of lime and a container of creamy peanut satay dip

Soy products, like tempeh, are rich in spermidine

Soybeans and soya products

Soybeans and related foods, like mung beans, soy sauce, tofu, and miso paste, are very healthy foods. They are particularly rich in spermidine, according to the Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, as well as antioxidants and other nutrients. 

Spermidine may be able to help prolong the active (anagen) phase of hair growth, as shown in a different study published in the Dermatology Practical and Conceptual Journal. In general, hair follicles will grow longer with more time spent in the anagen phase, which normally lasts 2-6 years. These findings are fairly new and more research is needed before doctors can recommend the optimal intake of spermidine to help hair growth, though.

Onion juice

It might sound a bit weird, but onion juice has been shown to promote hair growth. Rather than eat it, you use the juice to apply to your scalp and hair strands. While you’re not consuming the onion directly, it’s still good for your hair and scalp.

A study in The Journal of Dermatology looked at men and women who suffered from alopecia areata. After 6 weeks of applying onion juice to their scalps twice a day, 87 percent of people experienced some hair growth. In comparison, only 13 percent of the control group (that had been applying tap water to their scalps for 8 weeks) showed hair re-growth. Men had better results than women 

More research is needed to build the case for onion juice as an effective remedy. While it’s not a cure for baldness, it shows promise as a food that can help prevent hair loss and is a safe and natural remedy that anyone can try.

A pile of red onions against an out-of-focus green background

Applying onion juice to your scalp might boost hair growth

A plate, with broiled salmon and asparagus, garnished with pickled onion, chopped scallions, and pomegranate.

Fatty fish, like salmon, are extremely rich in healthy unsaturated fats

Fatty fish

Eating fish like salmon, mackerel, and herring is a great way to boost essential (unsaturated) fatty acids in your diet. These types of fish also contain proteins that encourage hair growth. These fatty acids and proteins seem to be more beneficial for women than men in regards to preventing hair loss and promoting hair growth.

A study in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology found that women who took a mixed omega-3, omega-6, and antioxidant supplement experienced less hair loss and greater hair thickness. Another study in the Dermatology Research and Practice Journal assessed women with thinning hair. This study reported improved hair growth and less hair loss after the participants took a supplement that contained fish oil, protein, and other marine product ingredients.

Other foods

There are several other foods that may be able to help with hair loss, but the most important thing you can do is consume a varied, balanced diet. Getting the recommended amount of essential nutrients is the most important dietary change you can make when trying to combat hair loss.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

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