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If you're losing your hair, then you're most likely considering your options to prevent further hair loss and ideally, reverse it.
While there is no perfect diet for hair loss, there are certain foods for hair loss that you can add to your diet to improve your scalp health and give your hair a fighting chance.
There are many causes of hair loss, with the most common cause being androgenic alopecia, which is the result of a genetic sensitivity to certain hormones that causes hair follicles to slowly miniaturize over time, resulting in thinner hair and eventual balding.
Here are the 15 best foods for hair loss.
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day and this could be especially true thanks to the potential hair-growing nutrients found in eggs.
Eggs are high in protein and biotin — two nutrients that may help to increase hair growth.
Protein is crucial for hair growth because it is what primarily makes up hair follicles. Protein is so important for hair loss that research tells us that a diet low in protein can cause hair loss (1).
Biotin, the other main hair-healthy nutrient in eggs, plays a key role in the production of keratin. Our hair is mainly made up of the protein keratin, which keeps hair healthy, strong, and protected.
Research has shown that biotin can help to promote hair growth in people who have a biotin deficiency (2). That being said, biotin deficiencies are somewhat uncommon if you're consuming a balanced diet.
While healthy people haven't been shown to increase hair growth if they are already consuming enough dietary biotin, eggs are also high in zinc, selenium, and other minerals. Overall, eggs provide the body with an adequate dose of many essential nutrients, making it a great food for hair loss and general health.
2. Green Tea
Pull up a chair and enjoy a nice hot cup of tea, because the next food for hair loss on our list is green tea.
Green tea is made from fresh, dried Camellia sinensis leaves. Thanks to its high antioxidant levels, it could offer some health benefits for your hair.
Antioxidants help to fight the damage caused by free radicals, and one antioxidant, in particular, is found in high levels in green tea. EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) is an antioxidant known as a ‘catechin’ and has been linked to hair growth.
One study investigated the effect of EGCG on mice with testosterone-induced hair loss. The researchers found that when EGCG was topically applied, the mice experienced significant reductions in hair loss (3).
Testosterone can have drastic effects on hair growth as it produces a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which shrinks hair follicles and results in hair loss in some people. This is where green tea comes in. It is thought that EGCG may exert its hair-growing properties by inhibiting the effects of DHT on hair follicles (4).
The same study that showed reduced hair loss in mice thanks to EGCG also concluded that topical EGCG application resulted in a reduction of testosterone-induced hair follicle death. While this study only focuses on topical EGCG and more research is needed, it certainly highlights the potential hair-protective potential of EGCG and green tea.
They might not be the most glamorous of foods, but beans are cheap, tasty, and packed with vitamins and nutrients that may help with hair growth. Not only do beans provide an excellent source of protein, but beans are also high in nutrients such as zinc, iron, and folate.
Zinc helps to keep the hair follicle oil gland functioning properly and not having enough zinc in your diet can result in hair loss (5).
Iron and folate are also crucial to maintaining optimum hair growth as they both encourage hair cell growth, while deficiencies in both iron and folate have been linked to reduced hair growth (6, 7).
Shrimps are a great ally for fighting hair loss.
Shrimp, as with other seafoods are high in selenium. Selenium is a mineral that has positive effects on cell damage, the immune system, and blood pressure (8).
One of the symptoms of a selenium deficiency is hair loss. One study of chemotherapy patients found that selenium supplementation resulted in a significant decrease in hair loss for cancer patients (9).
Excessive selenium consumption can also result in patchy hair loss. Therefore, it’s important to consume the recommended amount of selenium (55 micrograms (μg) per day). An intake of over 400 μg per day could cause damage, including hair loss.
As with all foods, moderation is key and with appropriate intake, shrimps can be a great addition to your hair loss diet.
If you want a healthy head of hair then go nuts for nuts! It’s best to eat a range of nuts that can provide you with the ideal range of hair-healthy nutrients.
Some nuts to add to your trail mix include:
These nuts are an easy and tasty way to add key hair-healthy nutrients into your diet.
If you’re after a sweet treat that can also improve your hair health, look no further than berries.
Be it strawberries, raspberries, blueberries or blackberries, adding berries to your diet can help reduce hair loss thanks to high levels of vitamin C.
Vitamin C is not just great for a cold, it is also vital for the creation of collagen, a protein that contains many of the amino acids needed to create keratin, which is the protein that hair is primarily made of (12). Keratin helps to strengthen hair, keeping it healthy and protecting it from breakage.
Berries and their high vitamin C content can also help protect your hair by providing an antioxidant effect, meaning that they protect your hair cells from free radical damage.
Vitamin C also aids in the absorption of iron, which is an important nutrient for hair health. One study found low iron levels were linked to pattern hair loss in women (13). Iron is needed to produce hemoglobin, the part of your blood that carries oxygen. Without sufficient oxygen levels, hair hair will be compromised.
7. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish, such as salmon, are not only a delicious and healthy source of protein, they also contain nutrients good for your hair.
Salmon and other fatty fish are high in the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, which help improve eye, brain, and heart health.
Omega-3 is also thought to improve skin barrier function, reduce the symptoms of psoriasis, and reduce inflammation. This is important for hair loss as inflammation and psoriasis can both result in damaged hair follicles. Improving the skin barrier means a moisturized and healthy scalp.
The results of omega-3 on hair growth can potentially be drastic. One study found that when taken alongside omega 6 and antioxidants, 89.9% of patients saw a reduction in hair loss and 87.3% of patients saw an improvement in hair density (14).
Although this study used omega-3 supplements alongside other nutrients, it is indicative of the potential of omega-3 dietary supplements and fatty fish to help prevent hair loss.
Soybeans hit the jackpot as an ideal food for hair loss. This legume is high in vitamin E, omega-3, B vitamins, iron, and folic acid. We know that all five of these nutrients can encourage hair growth thanks to their antioxidant, protective, and hair-cell boosting properties.
To add soybeans to your diet, simply add them to a meal, or, topically apply soybean oil to your scalp.
If you’re looking to tailor your diet around hair-healthy foods, there’s no reason why you should give up the finer things in life! Luckily for our friends with refined palates, oysters make our list of one of the best foods for hair loss thanks to their high zinc levels!
This is important as we know that our bodies can’t store zinc and a zinc deficiency can cause hair loss (15). Roughly six oysters will provide you with around 291% of your recommended daily zinc serving, ensuring you have a sufficient amount of the mineral to keep your hair follicles functioning properly (16).
10. Sweet Potatoes
Adding sweet potatoes to your diet is an excellent idea for those seeking foods for hair growth.
Sweet potatoes contain beta-carotene, which is an organic pigment that gives certain fruits and vegetables their color and, importantly, is a key component in the production of vitamin A.
Vitamin A is a crucial nutrient for growth and immune function, which can all add to a healthy scalp. Vitamin A is thought to help protect hair follicles and possibly even help to increase hair growth and thickness.
Sebum is the oil produced by the scalp and is crucial to keeping skin and hair moisturized and healthy (17). A diet of sweet potatoes can keep your sebum levels high and your hair healthy.
While sweet potatoes and their high vitamin A levels can do wonders for your hair, be careful not to replace every meal with them. There is evidence that overdosing on vitamin A can lead to hair loss. Keep the sweet potatoes to a reasonable portion (18).
While many vegetables and fruits can help with hair loss, meat lovers don’t need to worry about cutting out their favorite food! Meat is a great source of iron and zinc, two minerals that are key to maintaining a healthy scalp and fighting hair loss. Meat is also of course very high in protein, which is essential for hair health.
We need iron to create hemoglobin, the part of your blood that carries oxygen to your cells. Without oxygen, our hair can’t grow and low iron levels have been associated with female pattern hair loss (19). We also need to ensure we keep up our zinc intake as our bodies can’t store zinc and without it, we risk hair loss (20).
If you’re looking for an easy way to tailor your diet for hair loss, then look no further than spinach. Spinach is high in iron, vitamin A, and vitamin C and can easily be added to smoothies, salads, or cooked into meals.
Iron, vitamin A, and vitamin C are all key nutrients in maintaining scalp health and preventing hair loss. Iron is needed to help oxygen be delivered to hair cells, vitamin A protects hair follicles and encourages hair growth, and vitamin C can aid in the production of keratin and iron absorption.
This leafy green packs a real nutrient punch when it comes to foods that prevent hair loss, so think about adding it to your diet.
Avocados won’t just do great things for your toast, they’re also amazing for your hair! Avocados are a rich source of vitamin E which is thought to be beneficial for skin, hair, and general health thanks to its antioxidant properties.
Antioxidants reduce the damage of free radicals, which are unstable single atoms that cause oxidative stress as they seek molecules to bind to. This oxidative stress can damage cells, such as skin cells, and result in reduced hair growth.
The strength of vitamin E and avocado’s hair growing potential was shown in one study which found that hair loss patients who were given vitamin E supplements saw a 34.5% increase in their number of hairs after eight months of supplementing with vitamin E (21).
One cause for hair loss is thought to be oxidative stress and so the antioxidant powers of vitamin E likely played a large role in the hair growth seen in this study.
Seeds make our list of top foods that prevent hair loss as they are low in calories and dense in nutrients such as vitamin E, B vitamins, omega 3, and iron.
Here are some seeds that are great for hair health:
You can eat seeds on their own, or add them to salads and cooked meals.
15. Sweet Peppers
In the search for the best food for hair loss, the last hair-helper to make our list are sweet peppers. Rich in vitamins, this delicious vegetable has the potential to help you reduce hair loss.
Sweet peppers are high in both vitamins A and C, which are key to the maintenance of a healthy scalp.
Vitamin A helps to maintain normal levels of the hair’s natural oils. Furthermore, diets low in vitamin A have been found to lead to hair loss (23).
Vitamin C helps you to absorb iron, which is key to the oxygenation of hair cells. Vitamin C is also a potent antioxidant, meaning that it can help protect hair cells from the damage caused by free radicals.
The Bottom Line
The foods you eat have a significant effect on your general health and hair health.
While a healthy diet isn’t a cure-all for hair loss caused by genetics, consuming the right vitamins, minerals, and nutrients may improve your chances of slowing hair loss progression.
Try adding more of the foods in this list to your daily diet and see what happens.
Keep in mind that eating the right foods for hair loss is best when combined with clinically proven hair loss treatments such as finasteride, minoxidil, and low-level laser therapy (LLLT).
We recommend LLLT as there are few to no side effects and it doesn’t directly impact your sex hormones.
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