According to Meryl Pritchard, holistic nutritionist and creator of Kore Kitchen, B vitamins are excellent for hair growth: "B vitamins like biotin and niacin stimulate hair growth and help keep it healthy and nourished." Grilled chicken is one of the best sources, with 8.9 mg of B3 per for every three ounces.
Healthy fats are essential to hair health, Pritchard tells us. Our bodies can't produce omega-3 fatty acids on their own, so it's important to get these fats through our diet: "They nourish hair follicles to give strands that strong, shiny, lustrous glow like in the Pantene Pro-V commercials." Avocados are a great source, and they're also rich in vitamins E and B(s).
A wonderful source of protein (especially if you're vegetarian or vegan), legumes are saturated with hair-improving vitamins and minerals like zinc, biotin, and iron.
According to Sammi Haber, a New York–based dietician at Nutrition Works, nuts (especially almonds or walnuts) are particularly great for hair growth due to their high biotin content: "While research doesn’t directly show that biotin helps hair grow, it does show that a lack of biotin can cause hair loss. With that in mind, it definitely can’t hurt to add a handful of almonds to your afternoon snack. These nuts are also rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps nourish both the hair and scalp."
Salmon (and other fatty fish like sardines, mackerel, and high-quality tuna) are great for feeding hair from the inside out with the shine- and growth-encouraging likes of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and B vitamins.
According to Carolyn Brown, a nutritionist at Foodtrainers, cruciferous vegetables like Brussel sprouts and broccoli are rich in folate, which encourages cell division: “If you have weak, thinning, or brittle hair, it can be a sign of low folate levels.” Thus, for fast and furious hair growth, reach for an extra helping of these veggies this holiday season.
High in protein, (healthy) fat, and zinc, chia seeds are another great addition to your diet if you're looking to fast-track your hair growth. Plus, they're also high in antioxidants, which help combat premature signs of aging like hair loss.
There's been a lot of buzz surrounding collagen, and according to both Pritchard and Haber, it's one of the very best things to incorporate into your diet for hair growth. "Collagen gives skin its elasticity, hair its strength, and connective tissue its ability to hold everything in place." Our bodies produce collagen naturally, but it declines as we age, so it's important to supplement through diet," Pritchard advises. Organic bone broth or powder forms (that you can mix into smoothies or oatmeal) are great options.
"Zinc is an important trace mineral that helps prevent hair loss, keeping it healthy so it can grow," Haber tells us. Pumpkin seeds are a great source of the mineral, and if you're into oysters, it's your lucky day: According to Haber, just three ounces of oysters fulfill your day's entire quota.
Citrus is an incredible source of vitamin C, which boasts plenty of important health benefits. However, it's especially helpful for hair growth as it protects and maintains collagen stores, which as our experts told us, is key for hair growth.
In the same vein, green leafy vegetables are one of the best foods for hair growth. Rich in antioxidants, they'll ward off pesky free radicals that can damage your skin's natural collagen supply.
High in protein and essential vitamins and minerals like zinc (one cup has about one and a half milligrams), Greek yogurt is a strategic add to your daily snack or breakfast rotation in the interest of strong, lusciously long hair. For an upgrade, add a handful of berries, a pinch of chia seeds, and search for yogurt that's plain, organic, and from a grass-fed source.
Since our hair is made up of protein, it's imperative to load up on healthy sources like eggs, which are also a handy source of biotin. Enjoy them hard-boiled, or try them fried or scrambled in avocado oil for an extra hit of nutrition.
Like citrus, papaya is filled with hair-perfecting vitamin C, which protects collagen. In fact, just one cup of the fruit chopped up yields 86.5 mg of the vitamin.