Hair loss is a common concern for both men and women.
If you’re noticing thinning hair, a receding hairline, or the appearance of bald spots, you’re probably wondering why it’s happening, and what you can do to stop it.
While there are many factors such as genetics and hormones that contribute to hair loss, the importance of diet and nutrition should not be forgotten. In this article, we’ll explore the science behind nutrition and hair loss, provide some tips on what to eat to promote healthy hair growth, while also highlighting some foods to avoid. (Spoiler: We’re pretty sure Ronald McDonald’s do isn’t all-natural).
The science behind diet and hair loss
The old saying “you are what you eat” holds true when it comes to hair health. Your hair is composed of a protein called keratin, and your body requires certain nutrients to produce and maintain healthy hair. Nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, proteins, and healthy fats play a crucial role in the growth and maintenance of your hair.
Nutrients important for hair growth include:
Biotin: Also known as vitamin B7, biotin plays a crucial role in the production of keratin, the protein that makes up your hair. Foods rich in biotin include eggs, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
Vitamins A and C: These vitamins are powerful antioxidants that help in the production of sebum, a natural oil that moisturises the scalp and promotes healthy hair growth. Foods rich in Vitamin A and C include carrots, sweet potatoes, citrus fruits, and leafy greens.
Zinc: Zinc is important for cell reproduction and tissue growth, including the growth of hair follicles. Foods rich in zinc include oysters, beef, poultry, nuts, and legumes.
Protein: Hair is primarily made up of protein, so it’s important to ensure an adequate intake of protein in your diet. Good sources of protein include lean meats, fish, eggs, dairy, beans, and nuts.
Top foods to avoid if you have hair loss
While there are several foods that can promote healthy hair growth, there are also some foods that you should limit or avoid if you’re experiencing hair loss. These include:
Processed and fast foods: Unsurprisingly, processed and fast foods aren’t great for you and can contribute to hair loss. Foods high in unhealthy fats, sodium, and sugar lack the necessary nutrients needed to stimulate healthy hair growth. These foods can also contribute to inflammation in the body, which can negatively impact the health of your hair follicles.
Sugary foods and beverages: A high intake of sugar can cause an increase in insulin levels, leading to inflammation and hormonal imbalances in the body. This can potentially disrupt the hair growth cycle and contribute to hair loss.
Alcohol: Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to dehydration, nutrient deficiencies, and inflammation in the body, all of which can negatively impact hair health.
High-sodium foods: Consuming foods that are high in salt can cause water retention in the body, leading to swelling and inflammation. This can affect the health of your hair follicles and potentially contribute to hair loss.
Top diet tips for healthy hair growth
Keeping the above food groups in mind, our top tips to stop hair loss and start regrowing your hair include:
Eat a balanced diet: A balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats can provide the necessary nutrients for healthy hair growth.
Include protein-rich foods: As hair is made up of protein, it’s important to include protein-rich foods like eggs, fish, poultry, beans, nuts, and seeds in your diet.
Consume foods rich in vitamins and minerals: Foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals, such as leafy greens, citrus fruits, nuts, seeds, and fish, can support healthy hair growth.
Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water is essential for maintaining hydrated hair and a healthy scalp. Dehydration can lead to dry and brittle hair, which can be more prone to breakage.
Limit processed and sugary foods: As mentioned earlier, processed and sugary foods can contribute to inflammation in the body, which can affect the health of your hair. Limit your intake of such foods and focus on nutrient-dense options instead.
Are hair loss treatments worth it?
With the right treatment plan, you really can stop your hair loss and regrow your hair. The benefit of seeking help from a medical clinic such as Ashley & Martin is that we are able assess the specifics of your condition to prescribe an appropriate treatment for you. The reality is, hair loss is usually caused by a variety of factors, including lifestyle factors. As such, it’s best to seek help from a clinic that offers a range of varied treatment options that may include pharmaceutical treatments, laser therapy, and natural supplements.