12 Super Foods For Preventing Hair Loss

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12 Super Foods For Preventing Hair Loss
image © Sage Ross – Wikipedia – lic. under CC BY-SA 3.0

Different things contribute to hair loss; it may happen because of simple nutrient deficiencies or the hair loss may be a symptom of an underlying health condition. Luckily, there are plenty of superfoods that you can easily add to your regular diet to help keep your hair healthy and assist with prevention of hair loss.

Hair loss may be due to insufficient levels of certain vitamins and minerals needed by the body to keep hair healthy. These deficiencies may not have any other negative effects on the body aside from dry and dull hair, but hair loss can also accompany severe deficiencies in protein, zinc, or iron, among others. [1] However even when hair loss is due to stress or illness, upping your intake of these super foods and nutrients may help keep your hair healthy and strong.

Overall, increased protein intake is a common theme for improving hair health. Hair is made of keratin, a type of protein that also makes up your fingernails. However, because humans cannot synthesize certain amino acids needed for protein construction, we need to get these amino acids from other sources – mainly our diet, where the food we eat can contain the amino acids our body needs. [2]

The protein molecules consumed are metabolized and broken down into their amino acids, which our cells can then use to build new proteins. It’s a process a lot like building things out of Lego – we can put the parts together in a different order to build something, but we can’t conjure up the bricks themselves.

Besides protein, various vitamins and minerals are essential to the growth and upkeep of hair.

Twelve super foods regarded as particularly good for preventing hair loss are listed below, along with a summary of the key nutrients they provide:

1. Beans

People who don’t want to include too much meat in their diet or are vegetarian will often turn to beans for their protein fix. Beans are known for high protein content, aside from vitamins, minerals, and complex carbohydrate. A study on beans from Mexico and Brazil found thirteen kinds of protein, the most abundant being phaseolin, lectin, protease, and alpha-amylase inhibitors. This amount of protein can help strengthen hair. [3]

2. Beef

Meat is an obvious source of protein, with the USDA stating that a hundred grams of lean beef contains 26 grams of protein. The Recommended Dietary Allowance for protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight – so that’s roughly 50 grams of protein if you weigh 140 pounds. You have to eat at least two servings of lean beef to meet your daily requirement or add a little more to give your hair health and extra boost. [4][5]

3. Carrots

The vitamin in carrots responsible for their reputation of helping your eyesight is also essential to healthy hair. Beta-carotene is one of the precursors to vitamin A, which breaks down into retinoids, one of which is retinoic acid and contributes to hair health. According to a 2012 study, adequate retinoic acid is needed in order to promote hair growth and development. However, the study also notes that both a deficiency and oversupply of retinoic acid can cause hair loss. [6]

4. Egg

Though meat will be the first high-protein food to spring to most people’s minds, eggs also have can also be a great source of protein, with 13g of protein according to the USDA. As an added bonus, egg whites are easy to use in home-made hair treatments (e.g. hair masks), unlike meat which can’t be used for anything other than food. [7]

5. Green Peas

Similar to carrots, green peas (specifically green pea shoots) have also been found to contain high levels of beta-carotene, which leads to the production of retinoic acid and helps with hair health. [6]

6. Nuts

Most types of nut contain various vitamins, as well as linolenic acid and omega-3 fatty acids, promoting healthy hair growth and the formation of natural conditioning oils. Fatty acid deficiencies can lead to loss of scalp hair and eyebrows. Studies have also shown that omega-6 fatty acids (arachidonic acid) can promote hair growth through the enhancing follicle proliferation. Pecans and almonds are particularly rich in zinc. Zinc plays an essential role in protein synthesis and cell division; therefore, deficiencies in zinc can contribute to hair loss. [1]

7. Oats

Oats have many virtues on the healthy eating front, and for the sake of your hair they’re a great source of zinc, copper, vitamin B and protein — all of which help prevent hair loss. Oats are also a great way to get different nutrients into your diet with one meal; they a great source of fiber too, which isn’t bad at all! [1]

8. Salmon

In addition to being a good source of protein, salmon is also high in omega-3 fatty acids. Fatty acids promote hair growth and prevent dryness of the scalp. [1]

9. Spinach

A well-known super food, spinach is packed full of essential nutrients. This includes various vitamins, potassium, calcium, iron and omega fatty acids. [1]

10. Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds contain a variety of micronutrients and minerals, such as zinc, potassium and calcium, that contribute towards healthy hair. [1]

11. Sweet Potato

As the orange colour might suggest, sweet potato provides many of the same vitamins as carrots. As well as vitamin A, these are a good source of protein, iron and copper. [1][6]

12. Wheat Germ

Wheat germ is a great source of fibre, also containing useful amounts of zinc and copper. It can easily be added to muesli, milk shakes, or pancakes, boosting the nutrient content without affecting the flavor. [1]

The best thing about these superfoods is your ability to mix and match them! You can make a salad out of the leafy greens and add some lean meat and nuts on top as well. Nuts and sunflower seeds would also work well on oatmeal – or you can mix them all and use it as a hair mask. There are plenty of ways you can use these foods to fight hair loss.

Further Reading:

Herbs for Hair Loss

Herbs For Hair Growth

5 Natural Ways To Help Hair Grow Faster


[1] Guo, E. & Katta, R. (2017). Diet and hair loss: effects of nutrient deficiency and supplement use. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5315033/

[2] US National Library of Medicine. Amino Acids. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002222.htm

[3] Mojica, L. & de Mejia, E. (2015). Characterization and Comparison of Protein and Peptide Profiles and their Biological Activities of Improved Common Bean Cultivars (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) from Mexico and Brazil. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25764244

[4] USDA. https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/search/list?qlookup=23568

[5] Pendick, D. (2015). How much protein do you need every day? https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/how-much-protein-do-you-need-every-day-201506188096

[6] Okano, J., et. al. (2012). Cutaneous retinoic acid levels determine hair follicle development and downgrowth. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23007396

[7] USDA. https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/search/list?qlookup=01129

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