Nutrition for Hair: What To Eat for Healthy Hair

What to Eat for Healthy Hair

What to Eat for Healthy Hair


What foods should you eat for healthy hair? The best foods for your hair include nutrients like protein, healthy fats (specifically omega-3), antioxidants, vitamins like vitamin C, vitamin D and biotin (vitamin B7), minerals like iron and zinc. So how can you incorporate these nutrients into your diet?

One of the major causes of hair loss and thinning hair is nutrient deficiencies. Alongside nutrition, hair health can also be affected by genetics, hormones, stress, medical conditions and certain medications. While no food or supplement will be a “miracle cure”, including the following foods in your diet can help your hair to look and feel healthier.


Nutrients and Foods to Eat for Healthy Hair


Our hair is made up of a protein called keratin, which our body produces naturally from protein-rich foods.

Good dietary sources of protein:
  • beef
  • chicken
  • fish
  • eggs
  • yoghurt
  • nuts
  • seeds
  • lentils
  • chickpeas
  • beans



Omega-3 has been linked to reduced hair loss in some research, although further studies are needed to prove this. Oily fish are the most bioavailable (best absorbed) source of omega 3. ⁠⁠Oily fish includes salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines and herring (remember the acronym: SMASH). There are some plant-based sources of omega 3 listed below, but these are slightly less bioavailable (so may not be absorbed as much as oily fish).⁠ ⁠Other healthy fats are also beneficial to include, such as avocado, nuts, seeds and olive oil.

Good dietary sources of omega-3:

  • oily fish (salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, herring)
  • chia seeds
  • flaxseeds
  • walnuts

Nutrition for Hair


Studies show a link between iron deficiency and hair loss, so keeping your iron levels topped up by consuming plenty of iron-rich food can help avoid this. Iron is needed to produce haemoglobin, which is essential for blood circulation. It helps move oxygen into your cells (including in the scalp), which can support hair growth.
Good dietary sources of iron:
  • red meat
  • spinach
  • lentils
  • chickpeas
  • peas
  • pumpkin seeds
  • quinoa
  • tofu

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps to increase blood circulation throughout the entire body, including to the scalp. This can help to stimulate hair follicles, and in turn may support hair growth. Vitamin C also helps with iron absorption, so pairing vitamin C-rich foods with iron-rich foods is a good idea, for example squeezing lemon juice over spinach, or having broccoli alongside red meat. In addition, vitamin C is required to produce collagen, a protein that help to keep hair strong and prevent it from becoming brittle.

Good dietary sources of vitamin C:
  • strawberries
  • kiwi
  • orange
  • guava
  • bell peppers
  • blackcurrant
  • broccoli
  • parsley


Antioxidants can help protect hair follicles against damage from harmful molecules called free radicals, and can help prevent oxidative stress that may lead to hair loss.
Good dietary sources of antioxidants:
  • blueberries
  • strawberries
  • raspberries
  • goji berries
  • pecan nuts
  • avocado
  • beetroot
  • kale
  • spinach
  • cinnamon
  • turmeric
  • cacao/dark chocolate

Biotin (vitamin B7)

Biotin plays a role in the creation of red blood cells. These carry oxygen and nutrients around the body, including to the scalp and hair follicles. Biotin also contributes to the production of keratin, a key component of hair.
Good dietary sources of biotin:
  • milk
  • eggs
  • bananas
  • salmon
  • sweet potato
  • almonds

Vitamin D

Hair loss may be a sign of vitamin D deficiency. When we are low on vitamin D, the skin cells that produce keratin (called keratinocytes) in hair follicles struggle to promote hair growth. The sun is the best source of vitamin D, as our skin cells produce vitamin D when exposed to the sun. This is why government guidelines suggest a daily vitamin D supplement between October and March, when we don’t get enough sunlight in the UK to meet our needs.
Good dietary sources of vitamin D:
  • egg yolks
  • oily fish (salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, herring)
  • red meat
  • liver
  • fortified foods



Hair loss and breakage can occur as a result of a deficiency in zinc.

Good dietary sources of zinc:

  • fish
  • poultry
  • eggs
  • beans
  • lentils
  • nuts
  • seeds
  • shellfish



A deficiency in certain nutrients can have a negative effect on the health of your hair and can slow down hair growth or contribute to hair loss. Making sure that your diet includes many of the foods listed above can help to ensure that you get enough of the essential nutrients which can promote the rate of hair growth.


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