Everything we eat affects and changes everything within our bodies. It can be easy to forget this in today’s fast-paced world, reaching for whatever is quick at hand for a snack or a meal when on the go. Unfortunately, over-processed foods, GMO-laden products, and questionable ingredients galore are in many of the food products we eat. When we eat poorly, our diet changes, and when our diet changes, it can even change our hair.
Switching to a raw food diet can be a big undertaking, but it is possible, and it can benefit so much from inside to out, from the bottom to the top—especially your hair health and growth!
If you’re fed up or tired of seeing your hairbrush full of your hair, taking down your ponytail at the end of the night to see clumps falling away, or watching your hairline thin, there may be help found in what you eat. Let’s comb through some of the best raw foods for hair growth you should add to your diet today.
Before you begin your journey toward healthier, raw eating, it’s important to remember that hair growth and texture are always sensitive to change, especially diet. So even though you might be switching to a raw diet for better hair growth at first, the change itself may cause hair replacement to happen—aka, you’ll still lose hair because of the diet change. But don’t panic. As with anything, it takes time for your body and your hair to adjust.
Our hair goes through cycles where it grows actively for a time, then rests. At the end of the hair growth rest cycle, it falls out as new growth should replace the old. Problems in hair arise when we interrupt this order, which causes your hair to go into a rest cycle before new growth can happen. Hair loss is a common reaction to lifestyle variations.
While factors such as age and genetics can’t be changed, diet is one thing we all have control over. And often, consuming a diet lacking the proper nutrients can lead to hair loss.
High Antioxidant Foods
Antioxidants are molecules that fight free radicals in our bodies.
Free radicals are compounds that can cause harm to our bodies if their levels become too high and are linked to many illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Antioxidants can also help protect your hair follicles against the damage free radicals can cause to them.
Vitamin C has powerful antioxidant properties and is an excellent vitamin for antioxidant properties and because vitamin C is also used to produce collagen. This protein helps strengthen hair to prevent brittle. In addition to helping to make hair stronger, vitamin C is used by the body to absorb iron from our diets. Low iron can cause anemia, which has been linked to hair loss.
A study published on the 23rd of August, 2021(1) found evidence that even directly applying antioxidants to the scalp improves the condition of the scalp and reduces hair shedding, which points to solid evidence that eating raw foods high in antioxidants may help improve your hair’s growth.
Raw Foods High in Antioxidants
- Red Delicious Apples
- Granny Smith Apples
- Sweet Cherries
- Black plums
- Russet potatoes
- Gala Apples
- Dark, Leafy Greens
Vitamin A, along with other vitamins, minerals, and other compounds, is an essential micronutrient. Our bodies cannot manufacture vitamin A; therefore, we need to ensure its included in our diet. Vitamin A gets stored by our livers until it’s required and then is bound into protein before being transported to where it is needed.
One of the places vitamin A is needed is within our skin glands, as these skin glands produce sebum. Sebum is an oily substance that helps moisturize our scalp and keep our hair healthy. When we do not make enough, our hair can become dry, and dry hair often becomes brittle and brittle hair tends to break easier.
Another benefit to vitamin A is that it impacts refractory telogen. Our hair growth goes through phases, anagen, catagen and telogen, and exogen, which covers the development, maturation of hair, and activity of hair follicles that produce these individual hairs and the final stage where the hair is shed.
Telogen is the resting phase of our hair and lasts roughly 3 months. It’s estimated that 10 – 15% of the hair on our scalp is in the telogen phase at any given time. Hair doesn’t grow during the telogen phase, but it should not fall out either. A study published in February 2021(2) was conducted on mice to better define how dietary vitamin A altered the hair cycle. It was found that in mice with the recommended levels of retinyl esters (the most abundant form of vitamin A in most tissues) in a purified diet, the percentage of hair follicles in refractory telogen decreases as retinyl ester levels increased. Meaning that hair loss could potentially be lowered when hair begins to enter the shedding stage of exogen.
Raw Foods Rich in Vitamin A:
- Sweet potatoes
- Winter squash
- Pink or Red Grapefruit
- Collard Greens
- Turnip Greens
- Sweet Red Pepper
- Swiss Chard
- Romaine Lettuce
Other Raw Foods Best for Hair Growth
The fantastic news about eating raw is that, in short, all raw foods are good foods for hair growth! Almost every raw plant food offers vitamins and nutrients that are good for your hair and entire body. Healthy blood, healthy skin, a healthy scalp can make healthier hair.
While you are adjusting to the raw diet, keep in mind that changes in diet may cause some hair shedding, but that in time, the vitamins and nutrients you eat will begin to show subsequent improvements—not to mention your overall health will improve, too! With a diet rich in raw foods and some solid patience, as you begin to go through the process of detoxifying and becoming more nourished, your hair will become more nourished too.