Feeling like your hair growth has slowed down recently? Seeing more hair shedding in the shower? There are a few reasons why this might happen. For some, hair loss or growth cycle disruption might be due to hormonal changes, hereditary conditions, or nutritional deficiencies. If it happens to be the latter, there are a few foods you’ll want to add to your diet to help get things moving again.
And we’re not just talking about packing in some Popeye spinach. (Although that is great for hair growth too.) There are a few things that support hair growth that might surprise you. If you want to enhance your hair growth and hair health, consider adding these foods into your weekly meal rotation.
Let’s get into 7 great foods that you never knew supported hair growth.
These tiny legumes are full of folic acid (vitamin B9). The primary function of folic acid is healthy cell growth. That includes the cells that make up your hair, skin, nails, and skin tissues. Folic acid is essential for healthy hair and enhanced hair growth as it can help restore the health of red blood cells that supply hair follicles.
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Without great blood supply to hair follicles, hair growth can stall or stop completely.
1 cup of cooked lentils contains 358 mcg of folic acid, which is 90% of the daily recommended value. This legume is also packed with protein, and fiber making it a great kitchen staple to have on hand.
2. Almond butter
Almonds are a powerhouse of nutrition. All-natural almond butter is no different. Studies have shown that almond butter can support hair health because it’s full of vitamin E, biotin, zinc, omega 3 fatty acids, and magnesium — all of which support healthy hair growth. Not to mention it’s full of protein which can help support hair growth (our hair is made up of 98% protein).
Researchers believe that almonds are beneficial for hair health largely due to their high vitamin E content. Two tablespoons of almond butter contain almost 8mg of vitamin E which is 52% of the recommended daily allowance.
3. Greek yogurt
Protein-packed Greek yogurt also contains pantothenic acid (aka, vitamin B5) which is great for hair health. Studies have shown that pantothenic acid may even prevent hair thinning or hair loss. This vitamin can help rebuild hair after damage from heat stylers or chemical damage. This healthy kitchen staple also contains vitamin B6, folate, and thiamine.
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4. Shiitake mushrooms
Shiitake mushrooms are a great source of vitamin D, zinc, selenium, and copper — all of which can directly affect the health of your hair. The copper content of mushrooms can support the absorption of iron which can positively impact follicle health. Studies have shown that copper peptides may play a role in regenerating follicles and generating new hair growth.
As a great source of vitamin D, mushrooms may stimulate your hair follicles where growth might have been stunted due to vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D deficiency is very common in the U.S so packing in some vitamin-D-rich foods or sitting in the sun every day is always a good idea.
Interestingly, to get the most out of your shiitake mushrooms, place them in the sun for 30-60 minutes before eating them for the highest vitamin D content. Mushrooms are high in ergosterol (the precursor to vitamin D) and placing them in the sun can convert ergosterol into bioavailable vitamin D2.
Fatty fish like salmon contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids which have been linked to hair growth. Omega- 3s can promote hair growth, prevent hair loss, and can support scalp health. Preliminary research has linked a lack of omega-3s to hair thinning and loss. In hair health studies, researchers found that 90 percent of the participants who were supplementing with omega-3 supplements reported thicker hair and less hair loss.
Rich in amino acids, omega-3s, protein, and biotin, eating eggs can support hair growth and hair follicles. For those watching their figure, eating an egg white omelet is not going to offer all of these nutrients as a lot of the goodness is in the yolk. Eating just two eggs can offer you 20 mcg of biotin, more than half of your daily recommended value. Biotin is well known for its ability to enhance hair, skin, and nails.
Similar to the benefits of lentils, chickpeas are high in folic acid which is great for new cell growth. Hair being the fastest growing tissue in the body, second to bone marrow, hair can greatly benefit from sufficient levels of folic acid (B9). Aside from folate, chickpeas are also high in B6, protein, copper, iron, and zinc, all of which support hair growth.