While serums, shampoos, and supplements certainly have a place in supporting hair growth, the foods you eat also play an integral role in supporting thick, healthy hair. Take a look at some of the foods that promote hair growth below.
1. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish, which includes mackerel, tuna, and salmon, are a rich source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are a type of healthy fat that may have an anti-inflammatory effect that promotes a healthy heart, eyes, skin, and hair. Animal studies found that a mackerel-derived fermented fish oil extract promoted hair growth in subjects by increasing the proliferation of dermal papilla cells in hair follicles, increasing the length of hair fibers, and stimulating the start of the active growth phase of the hair cycle.1 In a small study involving rhesus macaques, treatment with fatty acids was found to reduce symptoms of hair loss while improving overall coat condition.2
2. Foods Containing Vitamin D
Vitamin D is best known for its role in maintaining healthy bones by supporting calcium absorption. Studies have found that vitamin D may also be responsible for maintaining skin health and may play a role in forms of hair loss. These studies suggest that vitamin D deficiencies may contribute to non-scarring hair loss, which includes alopecia areata, telogen effluvium, and female pattern hair loss. While further studies are necessary, initial studies suggest that vitamin D supplementation may potentially act as a therapeutic option for people with hair loss.3
While the body can synthesize vitamin D on its own when exposed to sunlight, it is most commonly obtained in fortified foods, including cereals, yogurt, and orange juice. Foods naturally rich in vitamin D include fatty fish, cheese, and mushrooms.4
A great food for hair growth, avocados are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E, an antioxidant that may contribute to hair growth. In one study, volunteers were given either a placebo or 100 mg of tocotrienols, compounds belonging to the vitamin E family. Results of the study found that the volunteers given the tocotrienol supplement had a 34.5 percent increase in hair number, while the placebo group showed a 0.1 percent decrease in hair count. The effect may come from the natural antioxidant activity of tocotrienols, which reduced oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation in the scalp.5
Oysters, and shellfish in general, may be some of the best foods to eat for hair growth due to their high zinc content. While more studies are necessary, initial research shows that zinc deficiency may contribute to forms of hair loss, particularly telogen effluvium. Including more zinc-rich foods in your diet, such as oysters, may support hair growth.6
5. Green Tea
Along with its naturally calming effects, green tea may be one of the best foods good for hair growth. Green tea contains complex polyphenol compounds that may provide powerful antioxidant effects. Green tea also contains EGCG, a major constituent of polyphenols. Early studies suggest that EGCG may play a role in preventing androgenic alopecia by selectively inhibiting 5-alpha reductase, the enzyme responsible for converting testosterone into DHT. Blocking 5-alpha reductase activity may prevent the hormonal imbalances that contribute to male and female pattern baldness.7
There is no singular best food for hair growth or one-size-fits-all solution for hair loss, but maintaining a well-balanced, nutritious diet that includes some of the above foods may contribute to stronger, healthier hair. To incorporate more healthy nutrients for your hair, consider taking a natural hair growth supplement, like DrFormulas™ HairOmega® DHT Blocker.