You might be familiar with biotin supplements — you know, pills or gummies that promise to boost hair growth while making strands stronger and healthier.
But let us save you a couple of bucks: the best way to get biotin is from your diet, and there are plenty of biotin-rich foods out there to choose from (you might even already be eating them every day).
Biotin is a B vitamin that helps your body convert food into energy, and it’s essential for eye, hair, skin, and brain function. It also supports liver function.
Because biotin is a water-soluble vitamin, your body doesn’t store it, and it passes through your urine. In order to maintain adequate levels, you need to consume it regularly.
Fortunately, this isn’t hard: biotin deficiency is very rare, and you really only need about 30 micrograms per day. Plus, it’s found in so many common foods that you don’t even have to work hard to achieve that daily goal.
There’s no need for biotin supplements if you’re eating some of these foods regularly.
1. Egg yolks
Eggs are packed with B vitamins (as well as other good stuff like protein and iron). The yolk is a rich source of biotin, and a whole, cooked egg provides 10 micrograms of biotin, which is approximately 33 percent of the daily value (DV).
Just be sure to cook them fully: egg whites contain a protein called avidin, and that can negatively interfere with biotin absorption if they’re eaten raw.
Most legumes are a great source of biotin, with the two richest sources being peanuts and soybeans.
A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of roasted peanuts has just under 5 micrograms of biotin, or 17 percent of the DV. A 3/4-cup (100-gram) serving of whole soybeans has 19.3 micrograms of biotin, which is 64 percent of the DV.
Other legume sources include peas, beans, and lentils, which are also full of protein, fiber, and micronutrients.
3. Nuts and seeds
Most nuts and seeds provide a good source of biotin, especially sunflower seeds and almonds.
A 1/4-cup (20-gram) serving of roasted sunflower seeds has 2.6 micrograms of biotin, or 10 percent of the DV. A 1/4-cup (30 grams) of roasted almonds contains 1.5 micrograms or 5 percent of the DV.
Nuts and seeds are also an excellent source of fiber, unsaturated fat, and protein.
It might not be part of your daily diet, but organ meats like liver are the best source of biotin out there (which makes sense, considering biotin is stored in the liver).
Just 3 ounces (75 grams) of cooked beef liver has nearly 31 micrograms of biotin.
Cooked chicken liver has even more: 138 micrograms in a 3-ounce (75-gram) serving.
5. Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are one of the best vegetable sources of biotin. A 1/2-cup (125-gram) serving of cooked sweet potatoes contains 2.4 micrograms of biotin, or 8 percent of the DV.
They’re also loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and carotenoid antioxidants, making them a super healthy choice overall. And it doesn’t hurt that they taste really good (just saying).
Mushrooms have a high biotin content, which actually protects them from parasites and predators in the wild.
About 20 caps (120 grams) of canned button mushrooms have 2.6 micrograms of biotin, which is nearly 10 percent of the DV. A 1-cup (70-gram) serving of chopped, fresh button mushrooms have even more: 5.6 micrograms.
These nutrient-rich fungi have so many other health benefits on top of that. They’re a great source of selenium, magnesium, and antioxidants.
Not many fruits will hook you up with biotin, but bananas will get you a small dose. One small banana (105 grams) provides about 0.2 micrograms of biotin, or 1 percent of the DV.
Bananas are also full of fiber, carbs, and micronutrients like B vitamins, copper, and potassium, so there are plenty of other benefits to consider.
Broccoli is a better-known source of fiber, calcium, and vitamins A and C — but it delivers a tiny punch of biotin, too. 1/2 cup (45 grams) of raw, chopped broccoli contains 0.4 micrograms.
You can find a surprising amount of biotin in two different kinds of yeast: nutritional yeast and brewer’s yeast (specific amounts vary by brand).
Brewer’s yeast, aka active yeast, is used for brewing beer and making bread. A standard 2.25-teaspoon (7-gram) packet of active dry yeast used for baking provides 1/4 micrograms of biotin, or 5 percent of the DV.
Nutritional yeast is an inactive yeast that’s often used to make nondairy cheese (you can also eat it on its own). It may contain up to 21 micrograms of biotin for every 2 tablespoons (16 grams).
Here’s one more reason to love avocados: they’re a great source of biotin.
A medium avocado (200 grams) contains at least 1.85 micrograms of biotin, or 6 percent of the DV. They are also a great source of folate and unsaturated fats.
As far as seafood goes, salmon is the best choice for biotin. A 3-ounce (85-gram) cooked serving of salmon contains 5 micrograms of biotin.
Salmon is also packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which also happen to be great for people trying to make their hair healthier. Healthy fats like this could help prevent hair loss.
Canned tuna isn’t just convenient, it’s also good for you. And it happens to be loaded with biotin. A 3-oz can (85 grams) of tuna packed in water contains 0.6 micrograms of biotin.
Canned tuna is also high in omega-3 fatty acids and is an excellent source of protein, vitamin D, selenium, and iodine.
Spinach is another vegetable that offers a decent amount of biotin. A 1/2 cup (64 grams) of boiled spinach offers 0.5 micrograms of biotin. And spinach has so many other benefits: it’s a great source of fiber, calcium, iron, folic acid, and vitamins A and C.
You can find biotin in small quantities in dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese.
A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of cheddar cheese contains 0.4 micrograms of biotin, a 1-cup (128-gram) serving of 2 percent milk has 0.3 micrograms of biotin, and 1 cup of plain yogurt (128 grams) contains 0.2 micrograms of biotin.
As long as you don’t have a dairy sensitivity, these items are an excellent source of calcium, potassium, vitamin D, and protein.
Certain meats can be a good source of biotin as well. These include pork chops and cooked hamburger meat.
A 3-ounce (85-gram) serving of both cooked pork chop and cooked hamburger meat contains 3.8 micrograms of biotin, or 13 percent of the DV.