Biotin is one of the most popular supplements taken to improve our hair, skin and nails.
In most cases, it’s more effective to obtain nutrients from food sources rather than in pills. Biotin is available in a huge variety of foods, suitable for any palate. Whatever cuisine you prefer, and whether you love a good steak or prefer to stick to veggies, it’s easy to keep your nutrient intake high.
All you need to get started is the knowledge of which foods contain the most biotin.
How Biotin Supports Hair Growth
Biotin is classified as an essential nutrient, meaning the human body needs it to live, and cannot produce it on its own. It must be obtained through food or supplements.
Also known as Vitamin B7 or Vitamin H, biotin is part of a family of nutrients that are critical to a whole host of biological processes. Most significantly, biotin is necessary for cellular growth and protein synthesis.
When it comes to hair, skin, and nails, biotin is a primary nutrient used in keratin production. Keratin is a fibrous protein that makes up most of the “outer layer” of the human body. That includes skin, fingernails, toenails, and hair.
In other words, by eating more biotin, you are literally supplying your body the raw material with which to grow hair.
You can suffer serious health problems from a biotin deficiency, but long before that, you’ll find yourself losing hair. The hair that’s left will be brittle and damaged, with none of the shine or volume that people love to see. It’s not the only reason people go bald, but it’s a major one.
So, what foods have the most biotin? We’ve created lists of the best biotin rich foods for both meat-eaters and vegans.
Animal-Based Biotin Rich Foods
Eggs are one of the best sources of biotin in food, containing about 25 micrograms of biotin each. It’s easy to fit eggs into your diet, but one thing you should not do is eat them raw. Remember that scene in Rocky? He was completely wrong. Raw eggs contain a protein that inhibits the body’s absorption of biotin, so scramble them, boil them, or make an omelet instead.
Kidney, like most organ meat, is a great source of biotin, with about 37 micrograms per serving. Choose lamb or beef for the best flavor and health benefit. Kidney isn’t popular in the United States, but it’s an old staple in Europe and the United Kingdom. It can be sautéed, deep fried, or made into the classic steak and kidney pie.
Mayonnaise is something you likely eat anyway, and it packs a whopping 12 micrograms of biotin per 20g serving. If you’re looking to up your intake, go ahead and slather it on a sandwich. It also makes a great dip for veggies or chips, especially when mixed with other sauces.
Cheese. Everyone loves cheese, and here’s one more reason to eat it. Most cheeses, including Cheddar, Parmesan, and Edam, provide about 2 micrograms of biotin per 25g serving. Scientists from the University of Nebraska performed a study analyzing the nutritional content of 23 cheeses, though, and found that blue and Camembert (similar to Brie) provide up to 6 micrograms.
Salmon is a known superfood, and it’s something everyone should eat more of. A 4oz serving offers a solid 4.5 micrograms of biotin, along with plenty of amino acids, omegas, protein, and potassium. It’s versatile and delicious, great on the barbecue, broiled, pan-fried, or in sushi.
Pork also offers plenty of biotin, if you prefer to stay away from the fish. A 3oz chop is packed with 3.8 micrograms, and let’s be honest. Nobody eats just a 3 oz pork chop. Aside from the basic pork chop, try making barbecue pulled pork for tacos, burritos, and sandwiches.
Beef Liver, another organ meat popular in the UK, contains even more biotin than kidney. A 3.5oz serving offers 140 micrograms of the nutrient. Many people will tell you that the only way to eat liver is in liver and onions, but it can also be barbecued for a delicious alternative.
Yogurt is a powerful probiotic and an excellent source of protein, and it’s also a good way to get in your daily biotin. A one-cup serving of full fat, plain yogurt contains 3.92mcg of the stuff. For a double whammy, mix some oatmeal or other whole-grain cereal with yogurt for breakfast. Whole grains are another great source of the hair-strengthening nutrient, and the combination will set you up nicely for the day.
Halibut offers similar levels of biotin to salmon, with a milder, less fishy flavor. It’s great made into steaks, crusted with parmesan, or even formed into burgers. If you find it difficult to eat salmon on a regular basis, halibut makes a great alternative.
Vegan, Plant-Based Foods High in Biotin
Nutritional Yeast is a longtime staple of the vegetarian diet. Available in flakes or as a supplement, the yellow powder offers a broad nutritional profile that includes most types of B vitamins, along with a healthy dose of iron. A 7g serving can contain up to 17 micrograms of biotin depending on the brand, so check the label carefully. The nutty, cheesy flavor gives a great flavor to rice and pasta dishes, or try sprinkling it on popcorn.
Green Peas are something that you almost certainly already have in your kitchen, whether bagged in the freezer or canned in the pantry. Either way, peas are packed with biotin, with up to 40 micrograms per 100 gram serving. Toss some in a salad or pasta dish for an easy fix.
Sunflower Seeds make a healthy, high-fiber, satisfying snack. Carry some with you to help get through the day, and make sure you get in your daily dose of biotin. A 100g serving of seeds contains an incredible 66 micrograms of biotin.
Mushrooms, from plain white to exotic shiitake, are a tasty and healthy way to get not just biotin, but also vitamin D and a score of other nutrients. Each 100 mg portion of mushrooms offers 16 mcg of biotin, but we dare you to eat just one serving. They’ll do you good, raw or cooked.
Peanuts, as well as several other nuts like walnuts and pecans, are another great source of biotin. A quarter cup serving of peanuts contains about 6.5 micrograms of vitamin B7. It’s also full of protein, fiber, and healthy fats. Just be careful not to go overboard with them, as they are very calorie-dense.
Soybeans, long a staple of vegetarian and vegan diets in the form of tofu, are also full of helpful nutrients. They’re especially rich in biotin, with a 100 gram serving containing about 60 micrograms. Although tofu, tempeh, and other soy products nearly as well the beans themselves, avoid soymilk for this purpose. The filtering and processing removes many of the nutrients, including the vitamin H. For the biggest biotin punch, eat the beans steamed, a dish known as edamame.
Cauliflower is often overlooked even by those eating a vegetable-rich diet. That’s a shame, as it’s versatile, tasty, low calorie, and an excellent source of biotin. A single 1-cup serving of the vegetable will give you an amazing 17 micrograms. Eating cauliflower raw is the best way to maximize its biotin. Try it with a creamy herb dip, or just ranch dressing. For a variation with a little less biotin, roast a whole head of cauliflower.
Spinach is the biotin king among leafy greens, beating out even kale for vitamin B7. A single serving contains 7 micrograms. It also offers a full profile of beneficial nutrients, including protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, and iron. Everyone should eat at least five servings of leafy greens every day.
Sweet Potatoes are full of beta carotene as well as biotin. Both nutrients support your hair, skin, and nails, making this vegetable a true superfood when it comes to your appearance. A half-cup serving of cooked sweet potato supplies you with about 2.4 micrograms of biotin, along with plenty of fiber and antioxidants.
Rice Bran leads the pack in whole grain cereals when it comes to biotin. It contains 66 micrograms of biotin in each 100-gram serving. Other grains are also great sources of the nutrient, with barley supplying 31 micrograms, and oatmeal containing 24 micrograms per 100 grams. There are plenty of healthy breakfast cereals that combine several of these grains, including the popular Nature’s Path brand.
More Food Sources of Biotin
This is by no means an exhaustive list. Most green vegetables contain significant amounts of biotin, along with certain fruits. Bananas and raisins are a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth and your biotin needs, for example.
For meat eaters, any fish is a healthy way to satisfy your biotin needs. The next time you’re at the sushi bar, order a roll with ikura, or salmon roe (eggs). They’re one of the most concentrated sources of biotin available.
We hope this list helps get the gears turning. Boosting your biotin levels is one of the best things you can do to help thinning hair or a balding scalp. In addition, considering biotin when planning your meals will naturally help you make healthier choices, as most of these foods are good ideas for your whole body.