Hair loss is caused by many factors. You may not have control over some of these causes but you do have control over your diet and nutrition. How you manage your diet will affect the health and growth of your hair.
Let’s look at processed food. Your body is exposed daily to highly processed food, chemicals and synthetics. Your body system is not geared to handle chemicals and synthetics that can create havoc in your gut. The body will respond by triggering inflammation, weight gain, chronic illness and hair loss.
In this post, I will discuss what is the best food to feed your hair growth. I will also look into what processed food to avoid and discuss some of the natural ways to keep your hair healthy and strong for years to come.
Identifying consolidated nutrient that is good for your hair
What is the best food that you can buy and eat daily to ensure that your hair keeps growing and be healthy? It needs all the correct nutrients such as vitamins, proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, fat-soluble vitamins, B-complex vitamins, and iron. If your body does not get its fair share of nutrients like when you are ill, it will have an impact on the growth of your hair. Scientific trials have shown that having correct nutrition does help hair to grow and stay healthy.
Here is a quick snap-short of the nutrients that will feed your hair:
• Iron: having a deficiency in iron due to low intake of red meat or vegetarianism can lead to hair loss
• Omega-3 fatty acids: its anti-inflammatory properties will help prevent your hair from shedding
• Vitamin D: it can help stimulate your dormant hair follicles.
• Vitamin E: helps to reduce stress in your scalp.
• Vitamin C: it helps your body to absorb iron
• Biotin: a Vitamin B that may strengthen and help your hair to grow.
• Protein – lack of protein may lead to hair brittleness.
Does your hair need Protein?
If you lack protein in your diet, hair shedding may occur (telogen effluvium). Protein helps build tissue cells in hair, skin and nails. Around 80-85% of your hair is made up of keratin-a kind of protein. It helps your hair in its growing phase and keeps it strong. When there is a lack of protein, your hair struggles and becomes brittle and falls out. You can reverse this by adding protein-rich food to your diet. Food such as eggs, fish, red meat, beans, cheese, tofu, legumes and nuts are all rich in protein.
Warning – some people may react to cheese causing eczema and dandruff.
Does your hair need Iron?
Yes, iron is an important nutrient for the overall well being of your body. If you have an iron deficiency in your blood, it is known as anaemia.
I have some experience in anaemia. My sister suffered from anaemia for many years. She needed blood transfusions, iron supplements and a diet rich in iron nutrients to keep her strong. Some signs that you may have low iron is a loss of hair, brittle nails, skin turning pale, shortness of breath and a fast heartbeat. Your iron diet should include liver and organ meats, shellfish, whole grains, meat, nuts, beans, kale, spinach, dried fruit and fortified cereals.
Does hair need Biotin?
Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin and can not be stored in your body which means you have to eat it every day. Biotin helps your body to convert carbohydrates into energy. Therefore, helps in hair growth. Deficiency in Biotin may cause a loss in hair colour as well.
You get Biotin from egg yolk, milk, bananas, cauliflower, liver, yeast, pork, salmon, nuts, avocado, raspberries, beans and mushroom
Does hair need Vitamin C?
Yes, vitamin C supports everything from flu to wound healing. Vitamin C also helps in absorbing iron without which causes hair loss and limits your hair to grow to a short length. You probably are well aware that your body can not make or store Vitamin C. Therefore you need to take food or supplements containing Vitamin C daily. Deficiency in Vitamin C causes dry and brittle hair. Foods rich in Vitamin C include oranges, lemons, guava, watermelon, kale, potatoes, broccoli and many more.
Does hair needs Omega 3 fatty acids?
Fish oil has omega 3 fatty acid that is extracted from fish tissue. Omega 3 fatty acids are known to help nourish, strengthen and growth of your hair. As our body can not produce them we have to obtain these nutrients through our daily diet and supplements. Fishes high in Omega 3 fatty acid are salmon, mackerel and herring are some of the popular fishes.
Does your hair need Vitamin D?
Lack of Vitamin D in your diet can lead to hair loss. Various studies have shown that Vitamin D plays an important role in hair follicle cycling. You would need in your diet salmon, mackerel, fish liver oil and animal fats, all of which contain a high amount of Vitamin D.
Does your hair need Vitamin E?
There is a minimum amount of literature to suggest that the lack of Vitamin E will cause hair loss. There are still ongoing studies conducted by various institutions which are still inconclusive.
Does your hair need Folic acid?
Folic acid is generally found in leafy green vegetables such as spinach, asparagus, romaine lettuces and turnip greens. There is limited research to conclude that the lack of Folic acid is the cause of hair loss.
There are many on-going studies to show that a lack of multiple nutrients may cause hair loss but other factors such as lifestyle, stress, medication and generic disorder can be the cause as well.
Identify natural and processed food that is bad for your hair.
• Sugar – it is known to interfere with the absorption of protein into your hair.
• Alcohol – There is no evidence to suggest that consuming alcohol will cause hair loss. However, as you are aware, alcohol dehydrates your body and absorbs key nutrients. This may cause your hair to be more brittle.
• Refined grains – starchy and refined grains including cakes, white bread, pastries etc when converted to sugar may be the cause your hair going thin.
• Some fish – some fish is known to contain a high level of mercury which is also the link to hair loss.
• Cigarette smoke contains a toxic chemical that may block your blood circulation to your hair follicles through the shrinkage of your blood vessels. Without receiving the required nutrients from your blood, your hair suffers and drops.
If you were to go to Amazon.com you will be amazed to find more than 3,000 products in the hair loss supplements section. Are you aware that dietary supplements are not FDA regulated? Dietary supplement manufactures are responsible for their claims and safety and do not need FDA approval to market their products. It is interesting to note that taking too many certain supplements containing selenium, vitamin A & E may cause hair loss. Some of the best selling supplement contains these nutrients. It is important to do your research if you decide to take supplements as part of your regime.
It is also suggested by some researchers that there is a lack of literature to support the effectiveness of supplements in individuals without nutrient deficiency.
The supplement and cosmetic industry are first and foremost a business. They are driven by the principle of maximising economic gains. In my opinion, it is unlikely they will put safety and health on top of their list. There are fortunately ethical companies out there marketing good and safe products. It is up to you to seek the information required to make an educated decision as far as the safety and health of yourself and your family are concerned.
If you have any questions or opinions, please feel free to drop them in the comment box below.
- The Trichological Society
- National Library of Medicine
- Vedix by Dr Zeel Gandhi
- The Healthy Nutrition Coach
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Disclaimer: These statements are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any disease. They are for information purposes only. They have not been evaluated by the FDA. You should read carefully all product packaging. If you suspect that you have a medical condition, seek help from your doctor.