Are Certain Foods Good for Hair Growth?

Hair is an important part of our identity. Strong and healthy hair can help boost your self confidence. Several factors come into play when it comes to maintaining healthy hair — how often you wash it, what products you use, and your genetics can all play a role in your hair's health and appearance. 

Nutrition can also directly impact the health of your hair. What we consume determines the molecules our body has to function. Eating a well-rounded diet is best for supporting the entire body, but what foods in particular can help to sustain our hair health?

Here’s a closer look at the hair growth cycle, important nutrients for hair health and foods that may be good additions to your diet to help support thriving, healthy hair. 

What Is the Hair Growth Cycle?

When people think about hair growth, they tend to think that it is limitless and that hair only falls out when pulled on. The reality is that hair grows in a series of stages in which hair is actively growing, then becomes dormant, and is eventually ejected from the hair root. 

Below, we dive into each stage of the hair growth cycle and what you need to know. 


Anagen is the first stage and is considered the stage of growth. During this stage, the hair follicle continuously produces a hair filament. The rate at which hair grows differs from person to person but can be about one centimetre per month. 

The anagen phase is by far one of the longest stages. This period of active growth can last many years. The exact length of time that the hair follicle is undergoing active growth is not an exact science. Still, it may be dependent on a number of factors including your environment, genes, hormone levels and nutritional status. 


Catagen marks the end of active growth and the beginning of dormancy for the hair strand. During this stage, the club hair is produced at the end of the hair to help anchor the dormant hair in the scalp as its connection to the hair root is severed. 


Telogen is essentially a continuation of catagen but involves the slow outward movement of the dormant hair. This stage can last quite some time, and even though the hair has stopped actively growing, the hair is still implanted in the scalp. 


Exogen is a substage of telogen and occurs when the hair filament is ejected from the follicle and falls off the head. Removing these dormant hairs that have moved to the skin's surface via telogen tends to be assisted by hair brushing and washing. 

Things That Can Impact Hair Growth

The growth period of each strand of hair can depend on several different factors. Below is a closer look at some things that may play a role in how long and at what rate hair growth occurs. 


Hormones are key chemical messengers within the body that help coordinate various functions. Hormones are highly involved with the growth and development of the body and may play a role in the growth rate and growth period of hair. 

Some forms of thinning hair and hair loss can be directly linked to shifts in the hormone levels of things like testosterone, oestrogen, and thyroid hormone. The relationship between hormones and hair shaft health and growth are apparent but is an area of continual research. 

Hormones can also influence the rate of sebum production, which can have an impact on hair health. 


Inflammation is a cell-mediated immune response that helps to increase blood flow and fluid flow to an area of the body that has sustained damage. Inflammation is incredibly helpful in quickly deploying an immune response but can also damage the tissue. 

Inflammation of the scalp can be detrimental to the hair follicles in the surrounding area. Many things can cause irritation and inflammation of the scalp, which may interrupt hair growth. 

Nutrient Deficiency

Nutrition plays an important role in your overall wellness; insufficient vitamins and minerals can prove to be detrimental to your overall health. Of particular importance are essential nutrients that cannot be derived within the body and need to be consumed regularly to maintain physiologically necessary concentrations. 

These nutrients can be broken down into macronutrients and micronutrients. Macronutrients include amino acids, carbohydrates, cholesterol, fibre and fatty acids. 

These molecules are required in relatively high amounts throughout your diet to maintain optimal health. Some of the essential micronutrients include vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K, B vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, iodine, potassium, sodium and sulphur. 

While there are many nutrients you need to eat and consume regularly, certain vitamins and minerals play a direct role in the production of keratin and the maintenance of the hair follicle. Nutrients like biotin, protein, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, and B vitamins are an example of just a few nutrients that play a role in hair health. 

Having things like an iron deficiency or a lack of these key nutrients could be detrimental to attaining healthier hair.

Foods That May Help Support Healthy Hair

The main way to get nutrients into your body is by implementing them through your diet. Generally eating a well-balanced diet is a good place to start but if you are trying to support your hair through nutrition specifically there are a few specific foods you may want to consider implementing into your diet. 

Below is a closer look at some foods to consider adding to your diet to help support your hair health. 


Keratin is the main structural component of hair and is composed of amino acids from protein. Eggs are an excellent source of protein and biotin, a B vitamin that plays a crucial role in the production of keratin.

There are many easy ways to incorporate egg into your diet! You can fry them up for breakfast, boil and add them to your salad or whip up an egg salad. 


Fish is an incredible source of protein which is important for the production of keratin. Aside from protein, certain fatty fish like salmon, sardines and mackerel are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. 

Omega-3s are best known for their heart health support, but these molecules can also act as an antioxidant and may also help to support your hair and skin

Leafy Greens

Leafy greens are some of the best foods to add to any healthy diet and have many health benefits. The main reason leafy greens are so good is that they are full of vitamins, micronutrients and fibre, while also being relatively low in calories. 

Some leafy greens include kale, spinach and bok choy. These foods contain vitamins A, C, E and K in addition to an abundance of carotenoids-antioxidants which can help to protect the body from oxidative stress and free radicals. 


Legumes are a type of food that include beans, lentils, and peas – a fantastic source of plant-based protein. Simply including soybeans, chickpeas, or other legumes can be a great way to get a little added protein and nutrients to support your hair. 

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds such as almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds and sunflower seeds are a good source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin E, which are important for healthy hair growth. Nuts and seeds are easy to add to your diet. 

You can have them as a healthy snack, add them to your salad, use nut milk in your cereal, sprinkle nuts into Greek yoghurt or simply enjoy them as nut butter. 

The Bottom Line

Nutritionally supporting your hair is a fantastic way to bolster the health of your hair to mitigate the chances associated with poor hair health, like hair thinning and hair breakage. 


Hormonal Effects on Hair Follicles | NCBI

Effect of a nutritional supplement on hair loss in women | NCBI

Diet and hair loss: effects of nutrient deficiency and supplement use | NCBI