In this article you’ll learn about the 5 awesome food categories that improve hair growth. The first 5 are more like rules or guidelines that specific foods.
You can use the guidelines to help you make better decisions about the foods you eat on a daily basis to beat hair loss, and stimulate hair growth.
After these 5 food guidelines I’ve revealed the most effective food groups for hair growth. So you know even more specifically which foods work best.
And in the final section you’ll learn the most amazing food supplements I’ve successfully used to beat hair loss, so it’s a great idea to include these in your diet as well, wherever possible.
Whether you want to stop and reverse male of female hair loss, or simply make your hair grow faster, thicker, stronger and more glossy, these foods will help you do that.
1. Alkaline Foods
Alkaline foods form the basis of any ‘hair growing diet,’ and should be first on the list of things you eat everyday if you want thick, strong hair all the way into later life.
Firstly let’s find out what alkaline foods are, then I’ll show you why they are so important for hair growth.
Alkaline foods are any food that once digested and metabolised by the body leaves a leftover product (also known as metabolic ash) that has a net alkaline affect on the body.
Some foods leave an acidic ash, some foods leave an alkaline ash.
It may be obvious to you that if alkaline foods are good for hair growth, then acidic foods are bad for hair growth. And you would be exactly right.
The caveat here is that the standalone food, before being metabolised by your body doesn’t give an indicator of whether it will be alkaline or acidic once metabolised. The prime example is citrus fruits – They are clearly acidic, but oddly enough, once metabolised leave an alkaline ash.
Th most alkaline foods are vegetables (especially cruciferous vegetables) fresh fruits, herbs and many spices. Sprouted seeds and legumes are also alkaline.
On the other side of the spectrum we have the acidic foods. These are meat, especially processed meat and pork in particular. Refined grains like bread and pastry.
Then there is also dairy which is acidic. And finally refined sugar, like soda and sweets.
So why does it matter if a food is acidic or alkaline for the growth of my hair?
It matters a lot. The body has evolved eating certain types of natural foods and the body has evolved to work optimally with these certain foods that have a particular pH (the measure of balance between acid and alkaline.)
Unfortunately, with our modern diet, now most of the foods we eat are WAYYY to acidic compared to the foods we evolved to eat which were quite alkaline.
Overtime, as we get older, our body becomes acidic from eating these foods that leave acidic ash.
This is not good. Anybody who has had pet fish knows that pH is crucial for the healthy fish. Gardened know that plants thrive in soil with the right pH.
The body is a finely tuned biological machine. Every cell, every mitochondria, every enzyme and organ, every part of the body thrives with the correct pH. Actually the natural, healthy pH is around 7.4 (which is slightly alkaline.)
Most people, however, are far from being alkaline and are extremely acidic due to eating more acidic foods and less alkaline foods. The result is, the body will do almost anything to reduce the acidity of the blood.
One of the ways it can do this is by using keratin from the hair to neutralise the acidity.
Keratin is the main building block of the hair, so it may be obvious that when your body uses it to neutralise the excess acidity your hair will grow less quickly, the hairs will be thin, brittle and lifeless. The hairs may even start falling out.
There’s another reason why eating alkaline foods is so important for hair growth. In the scalp, in acidic conditions, the 5-alpha reductase can much more easily convert testosterone into the hormone DHT – which is well known as the hormone that is responsible for pattern baldness.
In alkaline conditions in the scalp however, the enzyme is inhibited, meaning, naturally, it doesn’t work very well. The result is that less DHT is produced and there is less hair loss. I talk about this more in Hair Equilibrium.
However it happens, what is very clear after researching hair loss for many years, is that alkaline foods promote hair growth, whilst acidic foods lead to lifeless, thin and unhealthy hair.
So how can I get more alkaline foods in my diet?
Juicing vegetables is the quickest way to get your body into an alkaline state.
Imagine compressing 95% of the alkalising nutrients and minerals of raw vegetables into a juice that you could drink in a few minutes, without having to chew your way through a basketful of raw vegetables.
Not only would eating this amount of vegetables take a seriously long time, but your jaw would get tired long before you ate enough.
Because most of us have been eating acidic foods for most of our life, it does take a long time, (and lots of alkaline foods) to shift the balance back in our favour.
Juicing gets rid of the fibre (fibre is good but in this case we just want the alkalising part of the vegetable) so that you can consume much more than you would normally be able to.
Fruit and vegetable smoothies and bullets are the other way to get alkalised quickly.
You can throw your favourite fruits and veggies (and seeds if you want to) into the smoothie maker and have a delicious and nutritious drink that will help alkalise your body.
Of course, it’s important to have normal meals that are more alkaline and less acidic, but juicing and smoothies are an extra quick way to get there.
2. Fibrous Foods
One of the big things that can cause hair loss and slow hair growth is toxic accumulation. Because toxins inside the body can cause hair to fall out, the overall effect is that hair appears to grow much slower, because the older (longer) hairs fall out more quickly.
One of the ways that toxins can build up inside the body is through a colon that is unclean. If the colon is unclean, you’ll also have problems getting the nutrition from your food into your body where it can be used to grow hair.
For these reasons, keeping your colon clean is absolutely essential for fast hair growth and the best way to keep the colon clean is eating food with plenty of fibre in it.
Fibrous foods literally act like a brush, sweeping out the colon with each team time keeping it clean and unblocked. Foods that lack fibre, typically processed and stodgy foods do the opposite.
They move slowly through the digestive tract, sticking and coating everything, leaving a trail of impacted mucus.
This is why refined carbs, plus dairy, plus meat, such as a pizza can leave you feeling so stodgy and fatigued after eating it. Your body finds it hard to digest it and the unnatural combination is sticky and gooey. The perfect combination for blocking the colon.
The foods we’ve been eating for 99.9% of human evolution are naturally high in fibre, but our modern foods get processed and much of the fibre (and natural digestive enzymes) get stripped out in the process.
Without the fibre the foods cling to the colon walls, stopping waste products being excreted and stopping nutrition from our food being absorbed. Both of these can be really bad for hair growth.
So which foods are naturally high in fibre?
Almost all natural plant based foods are naturally high in fibre. Beans, nuts, seeds, fruits and dry fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains and oats all contain the fibre your body needs to keep the colon clean, keep toxins out and get the most nutrition out of your food.
3. Probiotic Foods
It seems like very day scientists are discovering just how important a healthy balance of bacteria is for our overall health. For our hair health bacteria is also very important.
The reasons why the ‘micro biome’ as scientists call it (the collection of bacteria in our body) is so important for healthy hair growth isn’t quite clear but there is some connecting evidence and here, as the scientists put it “inducing beneficial integumentary effects that manifest as luxuriant hair“.
But it is clear that a damaged micro biome can cause hair loss.
Most of us can benefit from a more healthy bacterial balance. The reason is, all the time on our modern world we are coming across things that harm our healthy bacteria.
If you’ve ever taken antibiotics you may have hurt your bacteria. If you were born via C-section. Even non-organic animal products can contain the antibiotics that farmers give their livestock.
The other problem is that a lot of foods contain preservatives. And you may know that the point of a preservative is to kill bacteria.
This is great if you want to preserve the shelf life of your processed foods (and make more money for the supermarkets and food manufacturers) but the preservatives will kill off the good bacteria in your stomach.
Then there is also the problem of yeasty, acidic and fibre-less foods. All of these unnatural foods, sitting in your digestive tract give the bad bacteria a boost, whilst hurting the good bacteria.
I’m not saying this to scare you, but to first fix the problem you need to know what’s wrong.
Hair loss and slow hair growth can be a symptom of unhealthy bacteria. So what is the solution? The best solution is to add healthy probation foods to your diet.
These foods contain naturally occurring healthy bacteria which can thrive in your digestive tract and help get rid of bad bacteria.
One of the reasons I recommend the 7 day detox for anyone with hair loss problems is that the detox essentially creates a clean slate for the bacteria, so you can start fresh with healthy bacteria when you go back on food.
You don’t need to do a 7 day detox though, although it definitely helps. You can introduce powerful probiotics into your diet. Here are some of the best probiotic foods:
- Miso Soup
- Sour pickles
- Sourdough bread
- Raw cheese
All of these foods contain naturally high amounts of probiotics (healthy gut bacteria) so try to get 2 portions of any of these into your diet. Probiotic supplements are also highly recommended.
4. Micro-Nutrient Foods
Your hair needs nutrients and minerals to grow. These are the building blocks from which the hair follicle itself is made. If there aren’t enough of these building blocks then hair growth is stunted, and of course the building blocks come from the food you eat.
In this guideline I’ll make the distinction between micro and macro nutrient food, and I’ll show you why healthy hair growth depends more on micro-nutrient food than macro-nutrients.
Then I’ll show you how you can get more of these micro-nutrient foods in your body – allowing your hair to flourish naturally.
Micro-nutrients are described as the trace minerals, vitamins, amino acids and phytochemical that typically come from fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices.
They allow the body to produce complex but crucial substances like enzymes and hormones that help with hair growth
Macronutrients on the other hand are the larger nutrients that we do need, but are found in abundance in our modern diet. These are the protein and carbohydrate.
Our body needs them for energy and muscle growth, but we usually have enough of them in our diet and the abundance of them means we don’t need more for our hair.
But by eating these macro-nutrients we essentially push out the foods that contain high amounts of micro-nutrients meaning we could actually be completely under-nourished.
When it comes to our hair, it’s important to opt for more micro-nutrients than macro-nutrients. Further down on this page you’ll learn about the foods that contain the highest amounts of micro-nutrients.
5. Plant Based Foods
Having gone through the previous 4 guidelines, something becomes apparent; there is a definite emphasis on plant based foods – that is, foods coming directly from plants. This is exactly right. Plant based foods are more healthy and make hair growth much more healthy too.
This is because a plant based diet is more alkaline, more fibrous, more probiotic and more micro-nutrient based. The best foods for hair growth are foods from plants that our body can quickly digest and turn into keratin.
When shopping, the more of your shopping basket you can make out of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds, the better.
These Are The Best Food Groups For Hair Growth
Pre-soaked, raw nuts and seeds
Raw nuts and seeds are amazing sources of hair growing nutrition. They have been produced by the plant to provide nutrition to the spark of life that allows the plant to reproduce. They are nature’s engine of growth and are therefore perfect for growth.
They contain proteins, essential fatty acids, omega oils and trace minerals. When pre-soaked before eating, the life form in the nuts and seeds become activated. Without the pre-soaking there are small amounts of anti-nutrients phytic acid.
These chemicals allow the nuts and seeds to survive longer without being eaten by bacteria, while they lie dormant in the ground. But when you soak the seed or nut it removes the toxins that stop it being digestible and bring it to life, providing you with the ultimate source of nutrition.
The best nuts and seeds for hair growth are:
- Brazil nuts
- Pine nuts
- Flax seeds
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Apricot kernels
- Coconuts and coconut oil
Cruciferous vegetables are your best sources of nutrients, trace minerals and vitamins and folate. All of which go on to help with healthy hair growth.
One of the main ways these vegetables help reduce hair fall is through their anti-inflammatory effects. By reducing inflammation in the scalp hairs seem to last longer and stay healthy for longer.
The compounds in cruciferous vegetables have also been proven to protect cells from DNA damage which reduces age related hair loss.
Here are a selection of the most common cruciferous vegetables:
- Shepherd’s purse
- Brussels sprouts
- Chinese cabbage
- Collard greens
- Bok choy
- Land cress
- Mustard greens
- Daikon radish
Beans, peas and lentils
Legumes, consisting of beans, peas and lentils are natures ultimate protein sources, perfect for natural, bioavailable sources of hair building keratin.
If your hair feels, thin and lifeless, or if falls out easily and grows slowly, then upping the amount of plant based protein from these 3 sources will definitely help.
Soaking, sprouting and boiling must be used with most legumes since many contain anti-nutrients and some toxic substances when raw.
- Kidney bean
- Navy bean
- Pinto bean
- Haricot bean
- Lima bean
- Butter bean
- Adzuki bean
- Azuki bean
- Mung bean
- Golden gram
- Green gram
- Black gram
- Scarlet runner bean
- Moth bean
- Tepary bean
- Broad beans
- Garden pea
Organic Animal proteins (small amounts and according to your metabolic type)
Animal proteins like beef, lamb, pork and poultry can either help or hurt hair growth depending on what’s called your ‘metabolic type.’
Have you ever wondered why vegetarian and vegan diets are popular, yet at the same time paleo diets with high meat content are also popular?
There seems to be a continuous debate around whether animal proteins are good for us. The answer is, they are good for some people and not for others.
It really depends on whether your body is good at digesting and metabolising the protein. And this depends on your ‘metabolic’ or ‘genetic’ type.
If you want to find out more about your metabolic type and see if animal protein like beef and chicken is good for you, and if it is causing or helping hair loss, you can take the questionnaire I’ve created in my program Hair Equilibrium.
Herbs and spices
Herbs and spices contain some of the most concentrated forms of antioxidants of any foods. These antioxidants reduce free radicals; free radicals that cause cellular and genetic damage and increase ageing. Therefore antioxidants can increase hair growth by reducing the free radicals that cause age related hair loss.
The best spice for your hair is turmeric, and there are plenty of others such as ginger, basil, cloves, pepper, vanilla, cinnamon, cayenne pepper and many more.
My Favourite Food Supplements
Pea and hemp protein
Pea and hemp protein are great natural, plant-based sources of protein (as opposed to whey protein which is made from dairy) that are extremely high is omega acids and fibre. Hair needs keratin, which is a protein to grow and both hemp and pea are great sources of protein. I usually add these to my morning smoothie.
Psyllium husk is one of the best sources of bulking fibre on the planet.
We use it during the detox to sweep through the colon and remove any digestive waste that has remained in the digestive tract or clings to the side of the colon.
This is why some people experience strange things coming out during a detox with colonic irrigations.
It’s also why people feel much lighter and more energetic after a detox. However psyllium husk doesn’t have to used exclusively during detox. It can be used anytime to add fibre to your diet.
Natural essential oils
The shampoo companies use the words ‘essential oils’ in all of their marketing because who doesn’t want shiny hair? The only problem is using essential oils on your hair is rather superficial.
It won’t change the shine of your hair for very long. I make my own shampoos to stimulate hair growth anyway.
A much better way is to add essential oils to your diet so that it feeds your hair and it grows naturally glossy and shiny anyway. This is the inside-out approach to health.
Getting these essential oils in your diet also helps to protect your hair from becoming dry and brittle and falling out.
The best essential oils come naturally from whole foods, especially nuts and seeds.
However there is one essential oil that I make sure I add as a supplement, and that’s pumpkin seed oil.
Pumpkin seed oil has been proven to increase hair count when taken orally as a supplement over 6 months. If you want more hair growth, then increase your hair count by taking pumpkin seed oil. It really is amazing stuff.
Spirulina and chlorella
Spirulina and chloral are two amazing food sources that are packed full of alkalising micro-nutrients, and also very importantly, loaded with chlorophyll.
Chlorophyll is an interesting compound because it is almost identical to haemoglobin in composition. The only difference being that chlorophyll has a molecule of magnesium, whereas haemoglobin has a molecule of iron.
This is why low ferritin levels can sometimes lead to hair loss, because oxygen supply to the root of the hair follicle is diminished through lack of haemoglobin.
Haemoglobin is the part of blood that is responsible for carrying oxygen, and a lack of haemoglobin in the blood causes severe decrease in oxygen blood content. oxygen that goes on to nourish the hair follicles.
Spirulina and chlorella also contain their own self-digesting enzymes so they deliver vital nutrients and minerals to the body and the hair without taxing the digestive system. They have been used extensively during detox to speed up the removal of wastes.
I highly recommend adding these and other greens supplements like wheatgrass powder to your morning smoothie or taking them every day as a supplement since they contain high amounts of chlorophyll which can be useful for healthy hair.