23 Best Vegetarian Foods for Hair Growth
The average person loses between 50 and 100 hairs every day, but those who lose far more may begin to notice signs of hair loss. Additionally, slow-growing hair can be concerning for those who once had thick, strong strands. Fortunately, a few dietary changes may help you enjoy healthier, fast-growing hair.
The best vegetarian foods for hair growth are those that are full of protein, good for your heart, full of water, and capable of encouraging testosterone production. Some examples include edamame, spinach, and watermelon. Eggs are also an option, but they may not be suitable for all vegetarians.
In this article, we’ll explore what causes hair to grow and what factors can contribute to slow-growing hair. We’ll also reveal some of the best vegetarian foods for hair growth. While genetics can play a significant role in hair loss, there are some steps you can take to potentially prevent, or at least help to slow down the process. After reading this article, you can begin taking steps to enhance stronger, quick-growing hair.
What Causes Hair to Grow?
Hair can grow out from any area of skin embedded with follicles. A hair follicle is essentially a pocket of oil and blood that sits just below the upper layer of the skin, or epidermis. Pores are openings that lead to these follicles, though not all hair follicles produce hairs.
Hair growth is often stimulated by a concoction of natural androgen hormones, including testosterone. However, follicles are nurtured by a supply of fresh blood. That’s why professional waxes can sometimes result in some bleeding—you’re pulling the hair out by the root, severing its connection with the dermal papilla and its underlying blood supply.
Blood is mostly water, though it is a medium for nutrient and oxygen transport as well. This is an important distinction to make, as hairs are composed of dense proteins. Individuals with low-protein diets may begin to suffer from hair loss. Fortunately, the blood carries proteins that we consume to various parts of the body, including hair follicles.
To enjoy luscious, quick-growing hair, it’s crucial to enjoy foods that are:
- High in protein
- Natural sources of testosterone
In this way, you’re ensuring that your body is getting plenty of protein for new hair growth and that your hair follicles can receive tons of nutrients from fresh, fast-flowing blood. Enjoying foods that encourage testosterone products may also help you enjoy faster and healthier hair growth.
What Causes Slow Hair Growth?
There are quite a few things that can contribute to slow hair growth, hair loss, and balding. Some of these factors are environmental and entirely preventable. Others may be inherited. Still, you could help yourself enjoy thicker and stronger hair by becoming familiar with these potential causes.
Slow hair growth could be caused by any number of habits or conditions. Sometimes hair loss occurs due to brittle, fragile strands that break after emerging from the skin. Other times, follicles simply stop producing hairs. Some of the most common culprits of hair loss include:
- Emotional stress and anxiety
- Physical stress to the scalp
- Pharmaceutical medications
- Hormonal imbalances
Because hair is made of protein and reliant on a healthy circulatory system, poor heart health and a low-protein diet can also contribute to weak, slow-growing hair. Additionally, excellent skin health may help you enjoy stronger and healthier hair. After all, hair grows out of the skin.
Think of your hair like a nutrient-thirsty plant in a garden pot. The pot, or follicle, holds the plant, or hair. But without hydration and nutrients, nothing will grow. By taking good care of your skin and drinking plenty of water, you can set a firm foundation for rapid hair growth.
It’s also vital to consume a diet that is rich in healthy vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Without further ado, let’s explore some of the best vegetarian foods for hair growth.
Soybeans are an excellent source of nutrition. Consuming natural, unprocessed soy products throughout your life may even reduce your risk of developing breast cancer. A single cup of soybeans contains about 17 grams (0.6 ounces) of protein. That’s about ⅓ of the recommended daily amount for sedentary adults.
Edamame is young soybeans, often still within their casing or shell. They are low in carbs, making them an exceptional post-workout snack. They also contain more than 75% of your recommended folate intake and just about half your recommended dose of manganese.
Because edamame is an excellent source of vegetarian-friendly protein, it may help you enjoy healthier and potentially faster hair growth. Their high nutritional content is a significant bonus, so incorporating these young soybeans into your diet can be fantastically beneficial.
The fact that spinach is a nutrient-dense leafy green is common knowledge, especially thanks to a certain animated sailor who favored the stuff. One of the most popular aspects of spinach is its iron content. A single cup of spinach contains approximately .8mg of iron.
However, a cup of spinach also contains a gram of protein, a whopping 167 grams (5.9 ounces) of potassium, and about 60% of your daily recommended intake of vitamin A. It also provides Omega-3 fatty acids that help the heart stay healthy and strong.
Adding spinach to your diet could help you enjoy better cardiovascular health and faster-growing hair. Because this leafy green contains a wide range of nutrients and minerals, it’s often considered to be a superfood.
If you’re not drinking water throughout the day, there’s a good chance that you suffer from low-grade chronic dehydration. Fortunately, you don’t have to give up your favorite beverages and switch to water to enjoy improved hydration. Eating water-rich foods, like watermelon, can help.
Watermelon is about 92% water, and it’s also full of helpful nutrients. When you decide to eat a cup of delicious, crisp watermelon, you’re deciding to enjoy a boost of vitamin C, vitamin A, and some B vitamins.
You’ll also get a little magnesium and potassium, both of which are crucial for muscle maintenance and fluid balance. Besides, one cup of watermelon is less than 50 calories. This makes cubed or sliced watermelon one of the best snacks for low-calorie dieters hoping to shed a few pounds.
While lentils might be higher in carbohydrates than watermelon, they provide far more hair-sustaining protein. Per cup, you could enjoy about 17 grams (0.6 ounces) of protein from lentils, and you’ll also be digesting about a similar amount of fiber. And because lentils must be soaked or slow-cooked, there’s also quite a bit of water in cooked lentils.
Lentils do contain antinutrients, which are substances that can affect the way our bodies absorb vitamins and minerals. Fortunately, cooking your lentils for at least 20 minutes can help lower the antinutrient quantity. Still, like most good things in life, it’s best to enjoy lentils in moderation and as part of a large and varied diet.
Interestingly, lentils contain about 17% of your daily recommended intake of zinc. If you’re suffering from low testosterone levels (which may affect hair growth speed), consuming adequate amounts of zinc may help. Having a zinc deficiency can lead to a condition called hypogonadism.
But in some cases, eating whole foods that are chock-full of zinc may increase testosterone levels and undo the effects of zinc deficiency and hypogonadism. As such, adding lentils to your weekly grocery list might be worthwhile. Your hair just may thank you.
Processed and enriched-flour bread can be an unhealthy choice, but consuming whole grains is one of the best ways to boost cardiovascular health and enjoy a ton of easily digestible protein. Whole grains are an excellent source of fiber, B vitamins, zinc, and antioxidants.
And while most grains are carb-rich, they’re full of healthy carbohydrates that can provide your body with quick, burnable energy. Whole grains can also be a great way to ingest vitamin E, one of the most crucial vitamins for skin health.
Some examples of whole grains include:
- Whole oats
- Unflavored popcorn
- Brown rice
If you enjoy baking, you can invest in 100% whole wheat flour when creating dishes. This will help ensure that you’re getting a daily dose of healthy grains that add hair-friendly protein, zinc, and vitamin E to your diet.
Like watermelon, cantaloupe is full of water and low in calories. However, cantaloupe contains a vast array of life-sustaining vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients that may help you enjoy faster hair growth.
The vitamin C and vitamin A content of cantaloupe may help your skin and hair stay youthful and elastic. After all, vitamin C is crucial for natural collagen production. Ingesting a wide range of nutrients is one of the best ways to inhibit hair loss and encourage more rapid hair growth.
The diverse selections of nutrients found in cantaloupe make it one of the most hair-friendly options. Cantaloupe is often served alongside other melons or fruits and can be converted into a healthy dessert, especially when paired with dark chocolate.
There are dozens of different kinds of beans. However, they all tend to offer a reasonable dose of protein, fiber, and iron. As such, beans could make a fantastic addition to your hair-friendly meal plan. Eating beans more regularly may also improve your overall cardiovascular health.
Some of the most popular and nutritious beans include:
- Kidney beans
- Black beans
- Pinto beans
Though we’ve covered some of these beans in greater detail, it’s vital to point out that most beans are exceptionally healthy and full of nutrients. If you’re looking to enjoy faster-growing hair, try adding more beans and legumes to your diet.
Are you looking for a sweet vitamin C boost that doesn’t rely on super-acidic lemons or oranges? Blueberries might be the right option for you. These dark berries contain vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, and potassium, and they’re considered a superfood due to their high nutritional content.
When you’re seeking out the best vegetarian foods for hair growth, you want to incorporate plenty of fruits that encourage collagen production. Healthy, elastic skin is better able to cultivate healthy hair follicles, thus improving hair growth.
Regularly consuming blueberries may also help combat symptoms associated with diabetes, including poor cardiovascular health and blotchy skin. Overall, blueberries are a heart-healthy alternative that can help you experience improved immunity, stronger skin, and smoother digestion. Besides, they’re delicious!
Peas belong in the same food family as beans and legumes. They also offer some similar benefits, especially for those looking to grow stronger hair more quickly. Peas are rich in antioxidants and polyphenols, two things that can contribute to healthier and more youthful-looking skin.
Green peas may also help reduce inflammation, and they’re full of fiber. As such, they could improve a person’s digestive health. Eating foods with plenty of hair-friendly nutrients is crucial, but it’s just as vital to ensure your body is absorbing and using all of these helpful bits and pieces.
That’s why it’s imperative to consume foods with dietary fiber alongside those that are water-rich and full of zinc, potassium, and protein. Achieving quick-growing thick hair requires a concentrated effort and several dietary considerations. Variety is key.
Avocados have experienced a cultural revival or renaissance within the last decade, partially due to the abundance of healthy fats avocados contain. Avocados may belong to that admirable group of foods that are often referred to as superfoods.
That’s because avocados contain a staggering amount of potassium, antioxidants, and fiber. They’re also full of B vitamins that can help regulate mood and metabolism. As such, avocados often become a breakfast favorite among athletes and individuals, hoping to lose weight.
The healthy monounsaturated fats in avocados are exceptionally heart-healthy, helping to improve overall cardiovascular health. As you can see, avocados are a worthwhile component of any diet aimed at improving hair growth and personal fitness.
There’s almost nothing more refreshing than some fresh orange slices first thing in the morning. Oranges are sweet, slightly bitter, and fantastically acidic. The same types of ingredients added to sour gummy candies can be found in their natural state within oranges.
As you may already know, oranges also provide a ton of vitamin C. They contain zero fat, cholesterol, or sodium, and they’re low in calories while still providing plenty of dietary fiber.
Because oranges are acidic, regularly eating them could help prevent kidney stones and keep the renal system free of blockages.
When your kidneys and liver are diseased, your skin and overall health are bound to suffer. That’s because these vital organs filter toxins from our blood and process nutrients from our food. Eating foods that promote better urinary and renal health is crucial.
Cucumbers are another water-rich food that you might want to add to salads, sandwiches, and perhaps the occasional soup. Sliced cucumbers like lemons can be placed in large containers of cooled water allowed to steep to produce flavor-infused water.
However, cucumbers aren’t only known for their water content. They’re also notable for their nutrients. A single peeled cucumber has more than half your daily recommended intake of vitamin K. It also contains a smattering of other vitamins and minerals, including:
- Vitamin C
Unlike most leafy greens or dark green vegetables, cucumbers have a light and mild taste. When paired with a little black pepper, salt, or olive oil, they can become a delightful snack that’s pleasing to the tongue and the body.
Plain yogurt, especially that of the low-fat variety, can be an excellent source of protein, water, probiotics, and calcium. Plain yogurt also contains B12, a vitamin typically only found in meat and fish.
This vitamin can be severely lacking in vegetarian diets, so incorporating yogurt is crucial. Low-fat, plain Greek yogurts could be more nutritious than standard options. Greek yogurt tends to contain more protein and less sugar than traditional, Western yogurt products.
Of course, it is far thicker and can be less sweet. If you’re new to Greek yogurt, you may want to start small.
Oats are some of the oldest human-trained grains. They can be purchased in many forms, including steel-cut, rolled, and instant. Oats that are the least processed tend to be the healthiest, as instant options can be saturated with sugars and corn syrups, and some of the fiber and other nutrients are stripped away..
Whole oats and rolled oats only require soaking and cooking to become fiber-full meals. While cooked oats do have a slightly wood-like taste, they’re often rather mild and neutral. Fortunately, you can pick almost any fruit on this list and add it to your oats for a little extra sweetness.
Eating a bowl of cooked oats and fresh fruit in the morning (instead of sugary cereal) could help you experience better cardiovascular health and performance, improved digestion, and a boost of energy that helps you get through the day.
You may feel surprised to see chocolate here, but dark chocolate that is rich in chemicals called flavonols could help enjoy faster hair growth. Dark chocolate is low in processed sugar but high in natural antioxidants that improve heart health.
As such, nibbling on a few pieces of dark chocolate from time to time could help your blood vessels and capillaries dilate and allow for faster, more efficient blood flow. Alongside lower blood pressure, you may enjoy healthier hair follicles that have access to faster-flowing nutrients to help grow hair more quickly.
Tomatoes contain a substance called lycopene. This antioxidant is what gives tomatoes their bright, red coloration. It may also boost heart and skin health, both of which are integral aspects of achieving faster-growing hair.
They also contain a worthwhile amount of vitamin C. As such, eating tomatoes could help with collagen production and ensure hair follicle health. Tomatoes can be consumed raw, or they can be cooked.
Tomato-based sauces or pastes tend to be popular with pasta dishes, and sweet cherry tomatoes are often found in salads. If you’re serious about increasing your tomato intake, you can even choose to drink tomato juice drinks!
By now, the fact that chia seeds are a dieter’s best friend is a relatively well-known truth. However, many people overlook the wide variety of macronutrients and micronutrients found in these tiny, black seeds.
While they’ve been prized for their energy-producing properties for centuries, chia seeds are only now coming into focus because of their protein, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, B vitamin, and magnesium content. That’s a lot of hair-growing power in a small package.
Chia seeds are an example of whole grains, but they’re comparatively low in carbohydrates. Most of the carbohydrate load is pure dietary fiber, so you don’t need to worry about eating chia seeds and having them turn to sugar or fat. These seeds can be added to almost any recipe but tend to work best in oatmeals, smoothies, and other breakfast staples.
Broccoli, like brussels sprouts, tends to rub some people the wrong way. However, if you’re someone who enjoys the taste of broccoli, you may want to consider adding a little more of it to your diet. After all, broccoli is low in calories and contains enough protein and fiber to keep your digestive system and hair in excellent condition. Make sure to chew it thoroughly to release those cancer-fighting sulphoraphanes, as well!
Somewhat surprisingly, broccoli is also an excellent source of:
- Vitamin C
These are just a handful of the life-sustaining, heart-friendly micronutrients found in broccoli. The healthier your cardiovascular system, the more easily fresh blood can flow to hair follicles. When your heart is healthy, your hair growth may experience a tiny boost.
Garlic is a popular ingredient due to its strong and mouth-watering flavor, but its culinary history is far shorter and newer than its medicinal one. Just like onions, garlic grows as a grass-like tuft of green blades that receive aboveground nutrients and an underground bulb that sprouts dozens of roots.
Similarly, both garlic and onions have been prized for their antifungal properties for centuries. Garlic, in particular, has seen some increased popularity as its heart-healthy effects have come to light. Still, the allicin produced by garlic can help you ward off fungal conditions or bacterial infections that may inhibit hair growth.
And while this pungent root-like vegetable might leave a particular taste in your mouth that persists for hours, it may also help boost your circulation and encourage faster hair growth. Due to its versatility in cooking and potent health benefits, it deserves a place in your spice cabinet.
Bell peppers are a beloved dinner ingredient due to their versatility. They can be thinly sliced and sauteed, or they can be hollowed out and stuffed. Bell peppers can be baked, roasted, fried, pureed, and pretty much anything else you can imagine.
These fruit-like vegetables come in several colors, and they tend to have a sweet, almost neutral taste. They’re composed of dense plant fibers and thick veins of water, making them both a nutritious and water-rich vegetarian option.
When you add bell peppers to the menu, you’re ensuring that you get a little vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, and potassium. All of these nutrients are vital to maintaining your skin health. Besides, these easy-to-eat peppers offer a variety of antioxidants and polyphenols for improved overall health.
Like blueberries, blackberries pack a heavy punch in terms of nutritional content. Just a handful of these sweet, dark berries can help you get a boost of vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants.
As such, blackberries can be a fantastic resource for anyone hoping to become healthier and fitter. Their nutritional load may also help with hair growth.
While cottage cheese might not be an acceptable part of a vegan diet, it could be a healthy part of a vegetarian one. Cottage cheese is made of curdled milk, but unless you’re lactose intolerant, it won’t do your digestive system any harm. The curds are washed before packaging and serving, ensuring their safety and producing a slightly-sweet, creamy taste.
Low-fat cottage cheese (often composed of small, almost seed-like curds) is an excellent source of protein, B vitamins, and calcium. However, it’s important only to eat these curds in small, moderated amounts. That’s because cottage cheese is a sodium-rich snack.
If you’re not supplementing your snacks and meals with plenty of cool, clean water, you may find that cottage cheese leaves you feeling slightly dehydrated. As such, it’s often best paired with water-rich fruits and berries or a tall glass of water.
Though grapefruit may be too bitter for some taste buds, it could be an optimal citrus fruit for improved hair growth. Grapefruit is also popular among individuals seeking to lose weight and become fitter. That’s because grapefruit is low in calories and contains zero fat and cholesterol.
Eating grapefruit may even help lower cholesterol, making it an excellent option for those hoping to enjoy a heart-healthy diet. Whole fruit provides more than 100% of your recommended daily vitamin C intake, so grapefruit could help stimulate collagen production.
This could lead to brighter, clearer, and healthier skin. And as we’ve mentioned, healthy skin often makes an excellent home for strong, fast-growing hair.
There are dozens of dietary options available to anyone hoping to increase hair growth and curtail hair loss. The best vegetarian foods for hair growth are those that contain a lot of protein, water, heart-healthy nutrients, and testosterone-boosting minerals.
Hair is primarily composed of protein, so enjoying a high-protein diet may help. However, it’s equally important to maintain excellent skin and heart health. Hair follicles grow outward from the skin, and they’re nurtured by small blood vessels.
Caring for your heart and skin is a wise way to inhibit hair loss and potentially see faster-growing hair. Lastly, you may also want to choose foods that help encourage testosterone production and release. Zinc is a mineral known for helping with this process, so choosing zinc-rich foods could result in stronger, thicker hair growth.
Richard A. Lehman, LMT, CSCS
Compliment Your Body, LLC
1441 Broadway #6087
New York, NY. 10018
Compliment Your Body has been providing corporate chair massage and in-home massage therapy to New York City and the surrounding boroughs since 2004. We are local to New York City and pride ourselves on our team of local therapists. All of our therapists are hand-picked and thoroughly vetted. We don’t hire over the phone, we meet our team on the field.
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- American Academy of Dermatology Association: WHAT KIDS SHOULD KNOW ABOUT HOW HAIR GROWS
- American Academy of Dermatology Association: DO YOU HAVE HAIR LOSS OR HAIR SHEDDING?
- American Cancer Society: Soy and Cancer Risk: Our Expert’s Advice
- Harvard T.H. Chan: Are anti-nutrients harmful?
- Harvard T.H. Chain: Dark Chocolate
- Healthline: 7 Health Benefits of Eating Cucumber
- Healthline: 8 Surprising Health Benefits of Edamame
- Healthline: Bell Peppers 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits
- Healthline: Blueberries 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits
- Healthline: Hair Loss and Testosterone
- Healthline: How Do Hair Follicles Function?
- Healthline: Lentils: Nutrition, Benefits and How to Cook Them
- Healthline: Lycopene: Health Benefits and Top Food Sources
- Healthline: Top 9 Health Benefits of Eating Watermelon
- Healthline: What Does Potassium Do for Your Body? A Detailed Review
- HowStuffWorks: Skin Pores
- Live Science: Grapefruit: Health Benefits & Nutrition Facts
- Live Science: Spinach: Health Benefits, Nutrition Facts (& Popeye)
- Mayo Clinic: Hair loss
- Medical News Today: Are oats good for you?
- Medical News Today: Everything you need to know about cantaloupe
- Medical News Today: Is cottage cheese good for you?
- Medical News Today: What are the health benefits of beans?
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Effect of garlic on cardiovascular disorders: a review
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis of the Antifungal Activity of Allicin Alone and in Combination with Antifungal Drugs
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: The Role of Vitamins and Minerals in Hair Loss: A Review
- National Library of Medicine: Zinc status and serum testosterone levels of healthy adults
- Science Daily: Blood Vessels Hold Key To Thicker Hair Growth
- Science Direct: Dermal Papillae
- U.S. News & World Report: Greek Yogurt Vs. Regular Yogurt: Which Is More Healthful?
- WebMD: Avocado
- WebMD: Health Benefits of Broccoli
- WebMD: Orange Juice Fights Kidney Stones
- WebMD: Tips for Reaping the Benefits of Whole Grains
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