Our body requires a well-balanced diet to function at its optimal level. All food groups are necessary to keep each organ functioning properly. That said, sometimes, specific organs require a little more TLC, like our skin and hair. Our body needs a diet high in plant-based foods, antioxidants, fibre, and protein when it comes to hair.

It’s important to know which vitamins and nutrients are essential for hair growth. For instance, vitamins C, E, D, zinc and Biotin are necessary for hair growth. If you want to speed up and stimulate hair growth, increasing your intake of these food groups can help you achieve shiny and healthy hair naturally. It’s also another reason to eat more fruits and vegetables if you haven’t already.

A good diet can speed up the growth of your hair and make it more lustrous. You can balance your nutritious meals with a good haircare routine and regular hair salon visits to ensure hair maintenance.

Here are the ten best foods that stimulate hair growth:

Food #1: Nuts

Nuts, especially walnuts and almonds, are great for hair growth. They are high in Biotin and rich in Vitamin E and antioxidants. These three nutrients combined prevent hair loss and nourish the hair and scalp. Add these nuts to your salad smoothie bowl or munch them as snacks in place of chocolate or candy.

Food #2: Salmon

Salmon has been known for its omega-3 fatty acids and is an excellent B vitamin and protein source. These three essential powerhouse nutrients give hair its shine and encourage growth. Salmon is also extremely versatile to cook. You won’t be scrambling for ways to include salmon into your diet since you can cook them in an air fryer, steam it to eat with some lentils or sauté them and serve over a bed of rice and soy sauce.

Food #3: Chicken

A versatile protein, there’s no surprise that chicken is a crowd-favourite protein in almost any cuisine and any meal. Shred-it, grill it, steam it, sauté it or fry it but never eat it raw. Chicken contains B vitamins like niacin and Biotin that keep hair healthy and nourished. These nutrients are also stimulators to grow hair long and lustrous.

Food #4: Cruciferous vegetables

If you have brittle or thinning hair, add on cruciferous vegetables as part of your diet. Cruciferous vegetables such as Bok choy, collard greens, cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts are high folate. These nutrients are known to encourage cell division in the body. These vegetables can increase folate in your system, leading to healthier hair growth.

Food #5: Avocado

There’s no denying that avocado is a superfood. High with omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins B and E, avocado strengthens each hair fibre and nourishes hair follicles to give you strong, shiny, lustrous hair. Avocado also has anti-inflammatory properties, helping the scalp stimulate dermal papilla cells. These cells regulate hair growth while providing the hair with a shiny glow. Avocado can be eaten for breakfast in a smoothie, for lunch in a salad, or you can make an avocado pasta sauce for dinner. Avocado can also be turned into vegan-friendly ice cream if you’re up for it.

Food #6: Legumes

Beans, lentils, and peas make up the basis of legumes. They are saturated with hair-improving vitamins and minerals from Biotin, zinc, iron and protein. Each of these nutrients strengthens the structure of keratin, which can be found in skin, nails and hair. The result? You get stronger and healthier hair that is more resistant to breakage and thicker appearance.

Food #7: Chia seeds

These tiny seeds pack a punch where vitamins and nutrients are concerned. They are high in healthy fat, protein, and zinc. Adding this into your diet is another way to maintain healthy hair growth. Chia seeds are also high in antioxidants, which are an excellent source to combat premature aging signs such as hair thinning and hair loss. You can add chia seeds to your smoothie bowl or overnight oats to meet your daily quota.

Food #8: Collagen

Collagen is what gives skin its elasticity and hair its strength. Over time, our body’s ability to produce collagen naturally reduces, which is why it’s essential to supplement it through our diet. You can get collagen in broth or powder forms mixed into oatmeal, smoothies, or your protein shake.

Food #9: Citrusy foods

Packed with vitamin C, citrus fruits have plenty of health benefits for the body. Vitamin C helps protect the hair and maintains collagen stores in the scalp for hair growth. It is also high in antioxidants, making it an excellent source to fight free radicals. Consuming vitamin C also aids in absorbing other vitamins and nutrients such as iron.

Food #10: Green leafy vegetables

This list will not be complete without adding in green leafy vegetables. Rich in antioxidants, green leafy vegetables prevent free radicals that damage the skins’ collagen supply. It also contains vitamins B, A, iron, folate, magnesium and calcium that helps to strengthen the scalp and hair growth, leading to more lustrous and shiny hair.