hair-food

These 14 foods will help make your hair grow – and some of them will shock you

Eat your way to luscious locks!

Harriet Keane

Ever get the feeling your hair is just not growing? You know it must be... except you can't see a difference and you're desperate to have long flowing locks once more. Surely there must be something you can do to help your hair grow faster? Well, according to dietician Ro Huntriss, there are a range of foods which contain specific vitamins and minerals to help your hair grow. From protein-rich meals to oily fish, some nuts and specific fruit and veg, these foods are rich in the key nutrients you need for a healthier head of hair. So we say eat that extra portion of sweet potato fries! - it's all in the name of beauty after all. Here are 12 foods that improve hair growth…

1. Chicken

This is not a false alarm! As if you needed another reason to indulge - once again - in a cheeky Nando's we're here to share that as well as being delicious, chicken can also help promote hair growth. Ro reveals: "Chicken or other high protein foods are essential for healthy hair and hair growth. Protein acts as the building blocks to all of our cells, including the cells in our hair, and poor protein intake has been linked to hair loss." You can thank us later.

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2. Eggs

How do you like your eggs in the morning? It doesn't matter. Scrambled, poached or even fried, as long as these bad boys are in your meal plan they can actively promote hair growth. Eggs offer a range of health benefits but for those looking to elongate their locks, incorporating them into your diet could be key. They're not only high in protein but also biotin meaning you can say goodbye to dry, dull locks whilst simultaneously tucking into your poached egg & avo on toast. 

3. Sardines

We all have that one friend who just can't get enough of Sardines, they'll have them alone, on their toast and even as a pizza topping but *plot twist* they might actually be on to something. Ro says: "Sardines and other oily fish are the main dietary source of omega-3 fatty acids which act as anti-inflammatory foods. Oily fish can help to prevent dryness and help to promote the production of oils to the scalp." 

4. Iron-rich cereals

We're here to tell you to never feel ashamed about that fourth bowl of cereal you may have accidentally poured - and eaten, twice. "Many breakfast cereals are fortified with iron. Iron is a key mineral that helps to promote a healthy blood supply and low iron levels have also been linked to hair loss. Be sure to check on the label that your cereal is iron-fortified." So knock back those Rice Krispies, your hair will thank you for it!

4. Avocado

Millenials do not fear, those avocado-on-toast brunches may have been doing you more good than you thought. Avocado, with all it's Vitamin E, is a powerhouse for hair growth as this compound improves blood circulation and therefore helps the hair follicles work more efficiently. Just another reason brunch is a must.

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6. Spinach 

Although Popeye may not be the best spokesperson for this one - being bald n' all - the famous cartoon character was definitely on to something with his spinach obsession. Spinach is loaded with nutrients from folate to iron and vitamins A & C, all which can promote hair growth. So, although spinach may not cause your biceps to grow at a rapid rate, your hair is a different story!

7. Salmon

A popular bagel filling, a Christmas staple, a regular in your healthy meal plan and now...  the answer to hair growth? Yep. This fish is full of goodness and especially if you want to encourage hair growth. It contains proteins, Vitamin D, Omega-three fatty acids and many more things that stimulate hair production. Just another reason to get your fix!

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8. Vitamin D supplement

Unfortunately, not all of us live in sunny, hot climates where there is plenty of Vitamin D to go around. Luckily there are Vitamin D supplements out there that can help give us the same nutrients and as an added bonus these supplements can ALSO help our hair to grow.  "Research suggests that Vitamin D can help to keep hair follicles healthy. It is very difficult to get sufficient Vitamin D from the foods we eat, therefore a Vitamin D supplement is advisable to ensure you get sufficient Vitamin D to protect you and your hair.

9. Quinoa

Good old Quinoa, it took off as the King of clean-eating superfood a few years ago and it seems since its powers have seen no bounds. Amongst its long list of health benefits, Quinoa can also help promote the growth of your long luscious locks. "This is a whole grain and is a source of zinc. Zinc helps with maintenance and growth of hair and deficiencies of this mineral have been linked to brittle hair." Now that's what we call wellness and self-love! 

10. Sunflower seeds

You may know them as a tasty ingredient used to sprinkle on the top of your porridge in the morning but these tasty little seeds are also the magic ingredient to long luscious hair. "These are one of the best dietary sources of Vitamin E, which is another great antioxidant. Not only does Vitamin E protect our cells from damage but it has also been linked to the prevention of hair loss and skin dryness." 

11. Oranges

Not only does this tasty citrus fruit provide us with vitamins C, A and antioxidants, oranges can also help promote hair growth. "Oranges are a great source of Vitamin C. Vitamin C helps the absorption of iron so having this or orange juice alongside your fortified breakfast cereal will help the absorption of your iron." There's a reason Orange Juice is THE iconic breakfast drink of choice.

12. Sweet potatoes

What did we ever do without sweet potatoes? Think sweet potatoes fries, mash, baked potatoes and the superfood is even a delicious baking ingredient. However, people may not know that sweet vegetable also boosts hair growth. "Sweet potatoes contain beta-carotene which, once consumed, is converted into Vitamin A. This vitamin helps the skin to make sebum which is oily and helps to promote a healthy scalp."

13. Brazil nuts

We're all aware of the recent nut butter craze - there's even a brazil nut butter - but it may not just be a random craze after all. Brazil nuts are said to help keep your scalp healthy and therefore promote hair growth. "Brazil nuts are a good dietary source of selenium, which is a powerful antioxidant which helps to keep our body and cells healthy, including maintaining a healthy scalp."

14. Carrots

It may not be scientifically proven that carrots can make you see in dark *bummer* but it has been shown that the orange vegetable can help your hair grow healthier and faster. "Biotin is a B vitamin and is thought to prevent against brittle hair and hair loss. A good source of Biotin includes Carrots, which are also another good source of Vitamin A." Who needs night vision when you can have rapunzel-Esque hair?

Ro Huntriss is Consultant Dietitian and Expert for The Healthy Happy Mum Plan thehealthyhappymumplan.co.uk @DietitianRo