Eat This for Healthy Hair: Top Dermatologist-Recommended Foods

by Viviscal Hair Expert on February 28th, 2017

goop, the Gwyneth Paltrow-helmed purveyor of all things clean-eating and clean-living wants you to know that you CAN have clean beauty. The goop editors shared seven of their favorite secrets of clean beauty from their new book, the aptly named Goop Clean Beauty. For their post on day four, they delved into all things hair, interviewing NYC dermatologist and hair-loss expert Dr. Dendy Engelman to find out the best foods for healthy hair, the best hair growth supplements, and the links between health and hair loss.

goop: Do hair growth supplements or dietary changes help with hair loss?

Dr. Dendy Engelman: They absolutely help with hair loss if it is the result of deficiency. Low levels of iron can lead to hair loss, and the fix may be as simple as adding an iron or vitamin supplement. Also, hair thrives on protein, iron, zinc, and vitamin B12, so consume lean meats, leafy greens, nuts, beans, and fish. [One of the] supplements I like [is] Viviscal.

Top 10 Foods for Healthy Hair

Dr. Engelman points out that diet and supplements affect how hair looks. Extreme diet changes, including diets that are very low-calorie or very low-protein, can lead to thinning hair. Even if these diets don’t cause hair loss, they often can lead to dull and brittle hair. Support the growth of healthy-looking hair in powerful ways by eating the right foods and taking clinically proven hair supplements.

1. Protein

Eat plenty of protein from fish, lean meats, eggs, beans, nuts and yogurt. Protein is the building blocks of your hair so be sure to get enough of it in your diet.

2. Good Fats

Oily fish, raw nuts and seeds, avocado, flax — plus the oils from these foods — help keep your hair feeling soft and healthy. Fats help the body absorb the nutrients in foods and supplements.

3. Omegas

Oily fish and cold-pressed flaxseed oil are excellent sources of omega fatty acids. The best omegas are omega-3, omega-6, and omega-7.

4. Iron

Iron supports circulation, which is critical for healthy hair and skin. Hair loss is a common symptom of anemia (iron deficiency). To get more iron, eat beans, eggs, lean meats, broccoli, and dark leafy greens like spinach.

5. Vitamin C

This antioxidant — found in citrus fruits, broccoli, bell peppers, guavas, kale, kiwis, and cantaloupe — helps neutralize free radicals to protect skin and hair. Plus, Vitamin C helps you absorb minerals like iron and magnesium.

6. Biotin

Biotin, also known as Vitamin B7, is found in yeast, liver, egg yolks, soy and walnuts, as well as in clinically proven hair growth supplements like Viviscal. Biotin is a super-nutrient for hair — it supports healthy hair growth like few other compounds.

7. Zinc

Low zinc levels in the body can directly cause hair loss. Oysters have the most zinc of any food. Raw and on-the-halfshell not your thing? Zinc is also found in beans, crab, lobster, chicken and nuts too.

8. Vitamin B5

Vitamin B5, or pantothenic acid, helps prevent hair loss and promote healthy hair growth. Protein-rich Greek yogurt is a good source of B5.

9. Vitamin A

Vitamin A is found in carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, peaches, cod liver oil and krill oil. Vitamin A encourages healthy sebum on hair and scalp, which keeps hair soft and healthy plus minimizes breakage.

10. Vitamin E

The reason that vitamin E is good for your heart — it encourages capillary growth and is anti-inflammatory — is the same reason why it’s good for your hair. Find vitamin E in dark leafy greens, almonds, avocados, sunflower seeds, shellfish, fish and eggs.


This post is day 4 in goop‘s series on clean beauty. Day 1 was the editors’ all-time favorite detox recipe; day 2 contained anti-aging secrets from a top yogi; and day 3 was cardio queen Tracy Anderson on physical fitness and glowing skin.