Updated November, 2019
By Derek Martin
Growing a beard is a rite of passage. An uncontested validation of one’s masculinity & manliness. Few of puberty’s awkward changes produce as definitive an entry into manhood as growing a beard.
With a beard’s silent ability to say, “fuck you world, I’m a man,” it’s no wonder so many guys choose to grow one, and let their beard do the talking for them.
Unfortunately for many guys, growing a solid beard isn’t as simple as sitting and waiting. Some beards require a bit of gentle intervention in order to achieve optimal growth. One of the most effective steps any aspiring beard grower can make is optimizing his daily diet to help encourage peak follicular activity.
So if your patchy beard resembles a mangy carcass, or maybe you just want to maximize growth potential, it’s time to start focusing on foods that’ll improve beard health, strengthen hair follicles, and add so much length, thickness, and fullness that it’ll make your wiener envious.
Choosing foods that are best suited for the task isn’t exactly rocket science. Once you understand which vitamins support beard growth and health, it simply becomes a matter of incorporating these nutrients into your daily diet.
“Nutrients are most potent when they come from food.”– Harvard Health Letter
Although daily multivitamins, and beard growing pills seem like an easy solution to the problem, vitamins that come from food are accompanied by hundreds of beneficial nutrients that can’t be found in most supplements.
Unless your body is lacking in a particular nutrient, the general rule is that supplements are not a substitute for whole foods. So put down that bottle of beard growing pills, get focused, and learn how real men grew healthy beards long before a little pill claimed it could do it for them.
But before we jump into the list, let’s take a look at the vitamins, and nutrients that every respectable beard thrives on.
Vitamins & Nutrients That Every Healthy Beard Needs
Protein is an essential nutrient that every aspiring beard grower should incorporate into their diet. Did you know that all hair is made up of a fibrous protein called keratin? Beard hair, head hair, leg hair, back hair, ball hair, and even ass hair all share the same structural makeup, and require a diet rich in protein for optimal health and growth potential.
Protein intake is also believed to increase testosterone production. While everyone knows increased testosterone can lead to some serious strength and muscle gains, it also has a direct impact on the quality and speed of beard growth.
A diet lacking in protein could lead to a beard that’s dry, brittle, and prone to breakage. It could also put a serious damper on the thickness and fullness of your beard, and limit all around growth potential.
Zinc plays a crucial role in beard growth and health, and is essential in maintaining healthy testosterone levels in the body. Diets rich in zinc have been shown to improve the quality of hair, and some studies have even shown that zinc is capable of reversing premature gray hair back to it’s original color.
With the potential to improve the quality of your beard, boost testosterone levels, and the ability to kick gray hair’s ass, there really is no reason why you shouldn’t be incorporating zinc into your daily diet.
Iron’s importance in beard growth can’t be understated. It plays a critical role in the production of a red protein called hemoglobin, and although that sounds like a creature out of The Hobbit, hemoglobin actually transports vital oxygen throughout the body and is directly responsible for repairing cells, and stimulating hair and beard growth.
Iron plays such a significant role in hair production that deficiencies have been known to cause hair loss in men and women. If you’re serious about growing a solid beard, iron-rich foods need to become a staple in your daily diet.
When it comes to beard growth, there’s nothing boring about boron. A 2010 study showed that boron supplementation of 6 mg/d in healthy males resulted in a 28% increase in free testosterone after 1 week. According to the URMC, free testosterone, also referred to as bioavailable testosterone, isn’t attached to any particular protein in the blood, making it readily available to be used by our bodies.
Considering the direct relationship between testosterone and beard growth, I think it’s fair to say that any serious beard grower would be a moron to not incorporate boron into their daily diet.
Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant that serves a myriad of beard growing benefits, including aiding in the skin’s production of sebum, and the growth and reproduction of cells. Since hair is one of the fastest growing cells in the human body, it’s not hard to see why vitamin A is critical to maintaining a healthy, fast growing beard.
Also called pantothenic acid, vitamin B5 is responsible for metabolizing the food we eat, and converting it to usable energy and nourishment for all our cells, including beard hair. In addition to feeding our beards, vitamin B5 has been linked to hair pigmentation, with some believing that it can help delay or even reverse the development gray hair.
When it comes to discussing hair growth and health, biotin’s name is sure to crop up. While biotin does play a significant role in improving hair health by strengthening our keratin infrastructure, it’s also widely believed to speed up hair growth and improve overall density.
While biotin’s ability to improve hair growth is somewhat inconclusive, there have been clinical studies that seem to support the idea. A 2017 study involving 18 patients suffering from hair loss concluded that supplementing with biotin showed evidence of clinical improvement in all cases.
While scientists may not be completely sold on biotin’s ability to improve hair growth, there’s little argument that biotin plays an important role in maintaining hair – beards included – strength and health.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that protects hair from cell damaging free radicals. Free radicals may sound pretty badass, but don’t let the name fool you. They actually suck. They’re responsible for a range of shitty health conditions that effect the human body including: cardiovascular disease, inflammatory disease, cataracts, cancer, and hair loss.
Vitamin C seeks out these free radicals, and to put it simply, dishes out a serious ass kicking, and helps eliminate them from the body.
In addition to it’s vigilante ways, vitamin C also contributes to collagen production, and also helps the body absorb and process iron, which as we already learned is vital for hair and beard growth.
Sharing a lot of the same vigilante characteristics as vitamin C, vitamin E is also a powerful antioxidant that helps destroy free radicals and protect cells from their destructive ways.
There is also some pretty strong evidence that Vitamin E contributes to hair growth. A 2010 study involving 21 volunteers concluded that supplementation with vitamin E did increase hair growth amongst volunteers who suffered from hair loss.
With the ability to destroy free radicals, and the potential to encourage new growth, vitamin E should be a staple in any serious beard grower’s diet.
40 Foods That Promote Healthy Beard Growth
Originating from Mexico, avocado’s are commonly found in salads, sushi, burgers, sandwiches, and of course guacamole. Whether or not you’re a fan of the mild, somewhat bland flavor, you can’t deny the avocado is packed with some serious beard beneficial vitamins and nutrients. 1 cup of avocado contains:
- Vitamin B5 (42% DV)
- Vitamin C (20% DV)
- Vitamin E (21% DV)
- Protein (3g)
- Biotin (5.40mcg)
- Boron (1668.00mcg)
Pretty damn impressive if you ask me. Your beard would approve.
Beef is one of the most healthiest and delicious foods you can eat. Often referred to as “nature’s multivitamin”, it’s packed with high quality beard beneficial vitamins and nutrients such as: protein, iron, zinc, vitamin C, and vitamin B5. It’s even known to help boost testosterone levels. Delicious, nutritious, and it benefits beards? Sounds like every beard growers wet dream.
Most guys don’t associate dark chocolate with beard growth – or any chocolate for that matter. But believe it or not, this semi-sweet treat offers some legit beard beneficial nutrients. Dark chocolate is packed with iron and zinc, both of which contribute to the cell renewal process, and help improve hair growth and health. While It’s not recommended to consume large amounts of dark chocolate every day, feel free to enjoy in moderation whilst satisfying your beard and sweet tooth in the process.
Did you know almonds were one of the foods found in king Tut’s tomb? Perhaps he intended to grow a bitchin’ beard in the afterlife? If a beard was in the boy king’s plan, almonds were certainly a good choice. This tree nut is packed with beard friendly nutrients such as: protein, iron, biotin, boron, and vitamin E.
While they don’t have quite as prestigious a place in history as almonds, hazelnuts give them a serious run for their money in terms of beard benefits, boasting a slew of beneficial nutrients including: protein, iron, zinc, boron, biotin, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin B5.
Even though a peanut isn’t actually a true nut (it’s technically a legume), let’s hold off on kicking the guys ass who named them and focus on the positives here. Peanuts are full of: protein, iron, biotin, zinc, vitamin B5, and vitamin E. Considering how cheap and easy peanuts are to come by, they’re the perfect anytime snack to include in a beard beneficial diet.
• Greek Yogurt
While the process used to make Greek yogurt and regular yogurt are very similar, growing beards favor Greek yogurt for it’s higher protein content. With almost double the amount of protein as the regular stuff, Greek yogurt can help boost testosterone, and improve beard growth and density. In addition to protein, Greek yogurt contains: vitamin B5, biotin, and zinc, all of which play a role in hair and beard health.
Did you know Vikings loved butter so much, Europeans often referred to them as “butter eaters?” They were even known to be buried with tubs of the stuff so they could bring it into the afterlife. Who knows, maybe butter was the source of their badass beards? Butter boasts the power of vitamin A and vitamin E, both of which contribute to the building of cells, and cell repair; vital processes for maintaining beard growth and health.
While fresh tuna is generally considered superior to the canned version, both contain plenty of high quality nutrients for a growing beard, including: protein, iron, zinc, vitamin A, and vitamin E. As one of the most consumed fish in the world, there is no shortage of meal options when it comes to tuna. From fresh sushi to your basic tuna fish sandwich, meals that contain tuna will not only improve beard health, they’ll help increase growth and improve overall density.
Salmon is one of the most nutrient rich foods in the world – land or sea – and one of the most beneficial for a growing beard. Every year millions of salmon return from the sea to spawn in the rivers and streams that gave their birth. This annual “salmon run” is a fisherman’s paradise, and it attracts plenty of carnivorous wildlife looking for a meal. And it’s no wonder. Salmon are absolutely loaded with vitamins and nutrients, such as: protein, iron, zinc, vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B5, and biotin. If salmon isn’t a regular staple in your diet, your beard is seriously missing out.
Did you know chicken is the most consumed meat in the United States? On average, Americans eat almost 60 pounds of chicken per person each year. It’s not exactly hard to see why. Chicken is relatively cheap, versatile, lean, and healthy. It also happens to pack a bunch of vitamins and nutrients that support beard growth, including: protein, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B5, iron, zinc, and biotin. With all these beard beneficial nutrients, I would expect any serious beard grower to easily out-consume the 60 pounds of chicken per year mark.
Eggs are known for their high protein content, and ability to support muscle strength, and endurance during high intensity workouts. Protein is also known to increase testosterone levels, which has a direct impact on beard growth, thickness, and density. In addition to protein, eggs also contain: vitamin A, vitamin E, iron, and zinc.
While not as heavily consumed as chicken, turkey offers a lot of the same beard beneficial nutrients including: protein, zinc, iron, vitamin A, and vitamin B5. Since whole turkeys are typically only consumed during the holidays, your easiest and most cost effective path to it’s beard benefits lies in it’s lunch meat form.
While there are thousands of different types of crab, some of the most commonly consumed species include: king crab, snow crab, and blue crab. The nutritional benefits vary slightly from species to species, but they all offer beard beneficial nutrients that shouldn’t be overlooked. Crabs are a great source of protein, iron, zinc, and vitamin C which makes them an excellent dietary option for stimulating beard growth, and protecting hair from damaging free radicals.
Believe it or not, lobsters were once considered a poor man’s food. It was in such abundance that they were commonly fed to prisoners, servants, and even animals. If they could see the prices we pay for lobster nowadays they would probably laugh. While eating lobster every day isn’t very economical, it is a great source of beard beneficial nutrition on those special occasions. Like most shellfish, lobster is a great source of protein, vitamin E, zinc, and iron, and can help boost beard growth while promoting healthy follicles.
According to recent reports Shrimp is the most heavily consumed seafood in the US. And it’s no surprise considering the culinary versatility of this crustacean. Meal options containing shrimp are in no short supply, and can add a serious nutritional boost to your beard. Shrimp contain: protein, zinc, iron, vitamin A, and vitamin E.
Oysters are one of the best sources of zinc in the world. They are also an excellent source of protein, iron, and vitamin C. One medium oyster contains 5.3mg of zinc, and considering the recommended daily value for men is 11mg, you can see why oysters are considered a zinc powerhouse. Zinc is beneficial for beards by maintaining testosterone levels and promoting healthy growth.
Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)
Originating from the Middle East and the Mediterranean, chickpeas are a high protein legume that has tons of beard beneficial nutrients. Aside from protein, chickpeas contain: iron, zinc, vitamin B5, vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin E. Common uses for chickpeas are hummus, tossed in salads, pasta salads, roasted, or simply eaten as a side.
• Sunflower Seeds
A common sight at baseball games, sunflower seeds overtook chewing tobacco in the 80’s, and became the in-game snack of choice. Not only are sunflower seeds healthy all around, they pack a bunch of beard benefits inside their tiny shells. Aside from being a great source of protein, sunflower seeds contain: vitamin B5, vitamin C, vitamin E, iron, and zinc, making them a healthy and beneficial snack for serious beard growers. Not to mention they are pretty damn delicious.
• Pumpkin Seeds
The last time you carved a pumpkin, chances are you tossed the seeds out with the gloppy shit. While this is pretty standard procedure, pumpkin seeds deserve better. Chalk full of: protein, zinc, iron, vitamin B5, vitamin E, vitamin C, and vitamin A, pumpkin seeds make an excellent beard friendly snack. Just don’t forget to toast them first.
• Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds don’t get much love. Is it because they’re so small? Is it because nobody knows what the hell a sesame even is? Whatever the reason, it’s time you and your beard take notice. Commonly used as a garnish, or a mere afterthought to most dishes, sesame seeds don’t get the attention they deserve. These tiny little seeds pack some legit beard benefits that you’d be a damn fool to ignore, including: protein, biotin, iron, zinc, vitamin B5, vitamin A, and vitamin E.
Thanks to Popeye, every guy knows if you eat spinach you’ll be capable of kicking some serious ass. At least that’s how I think it works. As it turns out, the nutrients that give Popeye his strength can also help grow a sick beard. Spinach contains: protein, vitamin A, iron, vitamin E, vitamin C, zinc, vitamin B5, biotin, and boron. While Popeye seemed to enjoy eating his spinach in slop form from a can, I suggest sticking with the fresh stuff. It’s great for salads, and makes an excellent substitute for lettuce on burgers and sandwiches.
Did you know liver is America’s favorite food? Just kidding. Liver is in fact one of America’s least favorite foods. Just read any “most hated foods in America” list, and I guarantee you liver is prominently featured in one of the top few spots. I can honestly say I’ve never heard anyone say they like liver. While I’m sure there is a ton of you guys out there, most people generally consider liver kind of disgusting. Which is really kind of unfortunate considering how nutritious and beard beneficial it is. Liver contains: protein, iron, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin B5, and biotin. Pretty powerful stuff. How come things that are so good for us, so often taste so bad? Fuck you mother nature… fuck you.
A staple in Mexican cuisine, it only makes sense that the chili pepper originated in Mexico over 6000 years ago. Aside from adding a spicy kick to food, chili peppers are known for being an excellent source of vitamin C (179% DV). Consuming chili peppers helps your body fight off hair damaging free radicals, and helps the body absorb iron, which is essential for beard growth and health.
Did you know botanists actually consider peppers a fruit? But considering everyone else calls them a vegetable, we’ll just go with that. Like chili peppers, but without the heat, bell peppers are an excellent source of vitamin C (157% DV), and also contain: vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin B5, making them a highly beneficial
vegetable fruit for beard growth.
Guava is a tropical fruit that is native to Mexico, and South America and is an extremely high source of vitamin C (209% DV). With a sweet and sour pulp, guavas can be consumed raw, but they are often utilized to make a variety of different items, including: beer, candy, jams & jellies, drinks, sauces, and snacks. With it’s impressive vitamin C content, guava is capable of kicking some serious free radical ass, while helping to promote healthy beard growth.
While thyme isn’t exactly something you’d eat on its own – unless you’re feeling bold – it’s better suited for adding flavor to meals, while still providing some legit beard beneficial power of it’s own. Thyme contains: vitamin C (75% DV), vitamin A (27% DV), and iron (27% DV). If you’re unsure how to incorporate thyme into your daily diet, try adding it to: pasta sauce, eggs, soups, and fish.
You may be thinking, what the hell is jello doing on this list!? This can’t be right! Before you insist on speaking to the editor, let me assure you my friend, it is right, it’s so very right. Believe it or not, gelatin is comprised almost entirely of protein, but not just any protein, collagen. Collagen is made up of a bunch of amino acids, including: glycine, proline, hydroxy-proline, and arginine, all of which contribute to hair and beard health. If you’re serious about your beard, eating jello can help you grow a beard so masculine, even Bill Cosby would approve. Too soon?
Thanks to high vitamin C (106% DV) content, kiwi is a powerful antioxidant the can help protect beard hair from free radicals, and even promote growth with it’s ability to assist the body in absorbing iron. You can enjoy Kiwi as is, or it can be added to salads, smoothies, cottage cheese and yogurt.
Another fruit with high vitamin C content, oranges are a delicious snack that contains a bunch of beard beneficial nutrients including: vitamin C, biotin, vitamin B5, and vitamin A. While oranges make a delicious snack as is, you can also add them to salads, yogurt, marinades, smoothies, bread, and even pancakes.
While most guys wouldn’t associate strawberries with growing a beard, this delicious fruit offers plenty of beard growing benefits that shouldn’t be overlooked. Strawberries contain: vitamin C, biotin, vitamin B5, vitamin A, vitamin E, and boron. For the ultimate snack, try pairing them with some melted dark chocolate. Your beard will love it, and so will the ladies.
So one of the sweetest, juiciest, and delicious fruits on the planet offers beard beneficial nutrients? Sign me up. Mango is one of the most popular fruits in the world, and for good reason. It’s delicious. What most people don’t know is that it can also help promote healthy beard growth. Mangoes are a powerful antioxidant that contain: vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, iron, and zinc. I highly recommend consuming them as is, but they are also excellent in smoothies, yogurt, and salads.
Cantaloupes are closely related to watermelons, and while they are mostly made of water, they still manage to offer plenty of nutrients for beard growth. Cantaloupes consist of: vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B5, and boron. While eating the rind of a cantaloupe isn’t recommended, everything on the inside is edible and possesses nutritional value, even the seeds, and that slimy crap their tangled in. Yummy.
A furry fruit that helps grow facial fur? I might be onto something here. While you’d probably be incredibly disappointed if your beard came out looking like peach fuzz, it wouldn’t be the fault of this nutrient rich fruit. Peaches contain: boron, vitamin A, vitamin C, zinc and iron. Nutrients that don’t promote fuzz growth, they promote beard growth.
In the book The Odyssey, Greek poet Homer refers to pears as a “gift of the Gods.” While I doubt he was referencing the beard benefits of pears, I like to think he would’ve had he known about them. Pears contain beard beneficial nutrients such as: boron, vitamin A, vitamin C, and biotin.
Bananas are the most heavily consumed fruit in the US, with the average person consuming over 11 pounds each year. While everyone knows bananas are a great source of potassium, most guys don’t realize they are full of other nutrients that can help improve beard growth. Bananas contain: biotin, vitamin B5, vitamin C, vitamin A, and boron, making them a force to be reckoned with when it comes to improving beard growth.
These shriveled little grapes might not look like much, but pound for pound they are one of the most boron-rich foods on the planet. One 2/3 cup of raisins contains 4.51mg of testosterone boosting, beard growing, boron power. Considering raisins aren’t generally associated with increased testosterone production, I suggest stockpiling them before this well kept secret is out.
Your first thought might be, what the fuck? Snails? While I don’t expect you to go rooting around in a garden for snails, these slimy shelled gastropods are considered a delicacy in France, and offer some pretty serious health benefits that help support beard growth. Your basic escargot recipe consists of melted butter, garlic, and shallots, and is an excellent source of protein (14g), iron (16% DV), and even contains vitamin A (1% DV). Although these slugs with shells boast the consistency of a pencil eraser, a true beard grower knows when to make sacrifices for the greater good. And don’t worry, they certainly shouldn’t be too hard to catch.
Kidney beans are named for their unique shape and color that bears a resemblance to the human kidney. Commonly referred to as “poor man’s meat” kidney beans are often served in chili, soups, sides, and stews. One 3.5oz serving of kidney beans contains: 8.67g of protein, iron (23% DV), and zinc (11% DV), making them a powerful, and cheap dietary option for boosting beard growth.
Few foods in this world are as versatile as the potato. Mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, french fries, scalloped potatoes, pierogis, hash browns, tater tots, the list is almost endless. As delicious as potatoes are, they contain some serious beard beneficial nutrients. 1 medium potato contains 4.3g of protein, iron (9% DV), and vitamin C (70% DV). Delicious and great for beard growth? As if you needed another excuse to eat these tasty vegetables.
How To Keep Your Beard Healthy
Beard health doesn’t end with your diet. Eating the right foods is critical in promoting healthy beard growth, but now it’s time to care for that new growth by properly maintaining it.
The fact is, your beard is dead. All beards are dead. All hair is dead. The only living portion of hair is in the follicle. While vitamins and nutrients play a key role in follicle health, function, and efficiency, your beard also requires physical upkeep to look happy and healthy. Even if it is dead.
Wash Your Beard
Hey bud, your beard stinks. No guy wants a smelly beard. No women does either for that matter. Beards accumulate odor, oil, dead skin, food, drinks, dust, dirt… you get the idea.
Beards are like a jungle, but instead of animals they’re full of germs and odors.
It’s important to shampoo and condition your beard regularly. Not only will this eliminate odor and debris, it will also keep the skin underneath your beard clean and free of accumulated dead skin cells.
Washing your beard also has the added benefit of improving appearance. Clean beards look healthy, and can help accentuate your overall appearance. Dirty beards that look like the matted fur of a stray dog, not so much.
Moisturize Your Beard
Moisture plays a huge role in the health, look, and feel of your beard. It’s also highly beneficial for the skin underneath your beard; which has the tendency to become dry and irritated.
Moisturizing your beard should be part of your daily routine. You don’t have to get complicated with it though. It really shouldn’t take more than a minute or 2 to get the job done.
There are countless varieties of beard moisturizers on the market, and which one you choose all comes down to personal preference. Whether it’s a beard oil, balm, cream, or butter, each one has moisturizing benefits, while still offering there own unique advantages.
Comb Your Beard
Like the hair on your head, you should comb your beard everyday. Not only does combing help you style your beard and remove tangles and snags, it also helps train the hairs to grow in the direction you want them to go.
New beards can be somewhat wild and unruly, and daily styling can seem tedious and even frustrating at times. That’s because your beard hairs don’t all grow in the same direction. Like toddlers in a daycare, new beard hairs have the tendency to go all over the fucking place. With daily combing and a little bit of patience, those unruly hairs will eventually learn their place and fall in line.