The Role of Nutrition in Hair Loss: What to Eat to Keep Your Hair Healthy

Foods to Eat for Healthy Hair

Verywell / Theresa Chiechi

Hair loss can have a multitude of causes. You may experience hair loss because of a health issue, such as an abundance of everyday stress, or a more serious matter like diabetes. It could be genetic, or caused by age.

Sometimes, though, hair loss is caused not because of an outside reason, but by improper nutrition in one's diet.

If you are experiencing hair loss that doesn't appear to be related to any other cause, the reason for your hair loss could be that you're deficient in certain nutrients. Depending on the nutrient you need more of, certain foods can help this problem.

Let's look at what nutrients may help you reacquire healthier, thicker hair, and what foods you can find them in.

Nutrients Needed For Healthy Hair

There are several important vitamins and minerals required for hair to be at its healthiest and to grow properly without excessive loss.

Vitamin A

We often think of vitamin A as important for our vision, but this vitamin also plays a role in the health of our hair. Beyond being needed to help our hair grow, vitamin A is involved in the production of sebum, which is an oily substance that keeps our scalp moisturized.

Vitamin B

All B vitamins are needed for hair growth, but one called biotin may be particularly important for some people. Biotin aids in carrying nutrients throughout the body and may also help carry nutrients to the scalp.

Vitamin C

This vitamin has antioxidant properties, so one of the things that vitamin C can do for hair is protect it from damage caused by free radicals. Additionally, we need vitamin C for our bodies to make collagen, a vital structural protein in hair.

Vitamin D

Essential for our immunity, vitamin D is also important when it comes to hair growth. Low levels of vitamin D are linked to hair loss at large, and are specifically linked to alopecia, an immune condition that causes patchy hair loss.

Vitamin E

Similar to vitamin C, vitamin E has important antioxidant qualities that support hair growth. Taking vitamin E has been directly correlated with an increase in hair growth.


Similar to vitamin D, zinc deficiency has been linked to hair loss. This mineral plays a role in both the growth of hair tissue and the repair of it. Oddly enough, too much zinc has also been associated with hair loss, so it's best not to overdo it with supplements.


A deficiency of iron is known as a form of anemia, and one of the symptoms of anemia is hair loss. Iron is involved in the role of red blood cells carrying oxygen. Though iron can come from plant based sources, these may not be absorbed by the body as well as iron from animal based sources.

Foods That Can Prevent or Reverse Hair Loss

Now that you know of the nutrients needed to prevent hair loss, you're likely wondering what foods you can eat to make sure you get enough of these nutrients.

What to Eat to Keep Your Hair Healthy

Here are some foods that are high in the vitamins and minerals that may help keep your hair healthy and growing:

  • Eggs
  • Leafy greens
  • Fatty fish
  • Chia seeds
  • Avocados
  • Oysters
  • Almonds
  • Red bell peppers
  • Shrimp
  • Beans
  • Red meat


Containing both the biotin and zinc needed for healthy hair growth, eggs are a big food in a small package. They're high in protein, which is also an important factor for hair growth.

Leafy Greens

This category of vegetable includes:

  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Chard
  • Watercress
  • Collards

Leafy greens can help with hair loss because they have vitamin D, iron, and a form of vitamin B called folate.

Fatty Fish

With vitamins B and D, fishes such as mackerel, salmon, and tuna can help prevent hair loss. For those who don't like the taste of fish, a fish oil supplement is a more palatable option.

Chia Seeds

It's a funny coincidence that these seeds were once famous for sprouting into "hair" on Chia Pets. Chia seeds are high in protein and fiber, and contain essential fatty acids that can contribute to hair's growth.


In addition to their vitamin E content, avocados contain essential fatty acids that can help prevent hair loss. A single avocado has about 20% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin E and provides both folate and vitamin C.


Notorious for the amount of zinc they have, oysters also contain plenty of protein, along with iron and vitamin B12. Because too much zinc can also cause problems with hair loss, obtaining zinc from whole food sources is a safe way to ensure you get the right amount of this mineral.


Almond butter makes it an easy task to get enough almonds into your diet. Almonds are helpful for preventing and treating hair loss because they have vitamin E, vitamin B, and zinc.

Red Bell Peppers

When it comes to vitamin C, most people think of citrus. However, all peppers are very high in vitamin C, and red bell peppers are especially high in this nutrient. They also offer vitamin B6 and vitamin A.


A powerhouse of hair growth promoting nutrients, in addition to lots of protein, shrimp have iron, zinc, vitamin D, and B vitamins. They cook quickly and store well frozen, making then an easy addition to any diet.


Inexpensive and full of both protein and fiber, beans offer zinc, iron, and multiple B vitamins. Soaking them in advance makes them easier to eat, as that can improve their digestibility.

Red Meat

Whether beef or bison, red meat is very high in iron and protein. A single serving of ribeye steak contains over 23 grams of protein and about 1/5 grams of iron, along with hair-healthy zinc and several B vitamins.

How to Get More of the Nutrition Your Hair Needs

The good news about how many vitamins and minerals are involved
in the growth of your hair is that you can find foods to add to your diet for
this cause no matter what your eating habits are.

Whether you want to consume more plant foods like leafy greens, beans, and avocados, or you find yourself in need of protein and want to add oysters, shrimp, and beef into your meals, there are many foods that have the essential nutrients required for your hair to be at its healthiest.

Though it may be difficult to add all of these foods into your diet at once, you can easily begin by creating dishes that involve more than one at a time. Whether you add shrimp to your spinach salad or sprinkle some sliced almonds on a bell pepper stir fry, you can actively prevent hair loss caused by improper nutrition, one meal at a time.

1 Source
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Beoy LA, Woei WJ, Hay YK. Effects of tocotrienol supplementation on hair growth in human volunteersTrop Life Sci Res. 2010;21(2):91-99.

By Ariane Resnick, CNC
Ariane Resnick is a special diet chef, certified nutritionist, and author of four books who has written for numeral platforms. She advocates for accessibility and inclusivity in wellness.