I’ve been a vegan since 2012 and vegetarian for 10 years. Around the time I became a vegan, I was trying to also grow long hair. I came across people who said that by being vegan, my hair would start to thin. But I have experienced the exact opposite! My hair grew and it was very thick.
One of the things I had made sure of is that I never became deficient in any vital nutrients that my body needed. I think that’s one of the mistakes some vegans make. They don’t pay proper attention to their diet or don’t take supplements for things they are lacking in their vegan diet.
When starting the vegan diet, I did a bit of research on the best vegan foods for growing long hair.
These are foods that will help support hair growth for long, thick, and healthy hair.
What Vegan foods are best for hair growth?
Hair is made up of protein, so one of the main things that you want to get in your diet is an adequate intake of protein.
Protein not only provides the building blocks for hair growth but also increase growth in general. IGF-1, for example, is an important hormone related to hair growth. We don’t want too much of it, but we also don’t want it to go too low either.
Aside from protein, your hair needs a plenty of nutrients to sustain its growth. Vitamins and minerals are very important if you want to grow long hair on a vegan diet. Probiotics are also great for giving hair growth a boost according to research.
List of vegan foods for fast hair growth
- Kale – A superfood that you should absolutely include in your diet if you want to have beautiful hair. Kale is a powerhouse when it comes to nutrients. It’s rich in minerals like magnesium, iron, copper, potassium. Contains lots of beta-carotene, which is a powerful antioxidant. Kale can be eaten raw or lightly steamed. Spinach is also a great substitute if you don’t like kale.
- Avocado – Who doesn’t love Avocado? Avocado provides beneficial monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats for shiny hair. Eat between 1/2 to 1 avocado a day depending on your calorie needs.
- Pumpkin Seeds – These are one of the best sources of zinc for a vegan, which is great for hair growth and also inhibits DHT. Pumpkin seeds also rich in Vitamin E.
- Strawberries – You should consume berries in your diet as they contain powerful antioxidants and help support our skin and collagen. Strawberries also contain ellagic acid which may reduce hair fall.
- Soy Milk – The milk contains isoflavones which are metabolized by the gut bacteria to create Equol, which is known to bind to DHT and stop it from destroying hair follicles (great for men who are at risk of MBP). Soy milk is also a great source of protein and often fortified with vitamin D and calcium.
- Beans – Legumes are a good plant-based protein that you can eat to support healthy hair growth. Beans contain biotin, which is important for skin and hair. There are many different types of beans to choose from, so take your pick!
- Walnuts – A great source of omega 3 that will give shine to your long hair. Walnuts will help give your skin and hair a glow. Did you know walnuts also contain melatonin? If you eat at the right time, walnuts could also help you get your beauty sleep! Which is great for hair growth!
- Sweet potatoes – Sweet potatoes are loaded with beta-carotene, which is then converted by the body to vitamin A. This vitamin is important in cell growth, and therefore, the growth of your hair. Try to always choose sweet potatoes over white potatoes, because they also have a much lower effect on blood sugar.
- Green Tea – This drink is a beverage that provides powerful antioxidants which can decrease free radical damage to the hair follicles, inhibit DHT, and also increase levels of endogenous antioxidants.
- Red Onions – They contain an antioxidant called “Quercetin” which has been shown to promote hair growth in mice. Quercetin is able to reduce inflammation, support the immune system, and acts as a natural antihistamine.
And lastly: Get some sun! Vitamin D3 is a well-known factor in hair loss. Most people are low or deficient in vitamin D because most people these days work indoors. Fifteen to twenty minutes of sun each day should be enough. If you can’t manage that, or if you’re in the northern hemisphere, then you can always take a vitamin D3 supplement.
Vitamin B12 should be supplemented by vegans
One of the most difficult to obtain vitamins on the vegan diet is vitamin B12. It is only in high amounts in animal-based products. Therefore, it is crucial that all vegans take a daily vitamin B12 supplement to support hair growth.
There was a study done a few years ago showing that 52% of vegans were deficient in vitamin B12. In a more recent study, researches found that when they used a more sensitive testing method, over 92% of vegans were very low in B12.
I talk more about Hair growth supplements that are suitable for vegans in my previous article.
1 Serum concentrations of vitamin B12 and folate in British male omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans: results from a cross-sectional analysis of the EPIC-Oxford cohort study
2. Vitamin B-12 status, particularly holotranscobalamin II and methylmalonic acid concentrations, and hyperhomocysteinemia in vegetarians