A healthy diet to stop and prevent hair loss (alopecia) and that will promote hair growth incorporates the best natural foods that contain nutrition for healthy hair. These nutrients specifically work at the micro-level to stop you from losing hair, whatever the type of hair loss.
Even if you are genetically prone to hair loss, the nutrition provided by this diet will slow down and control the hair loss process and keep your hair follicles strong and provide you with healthy growth for as long as possible.
This is because the growth of new hair and stopping its premature fall depends on the nutrition that the scalp and hair follicles receive. Couple it with these tips and you can have a lush growth of hair on your head.
You must, therefore, make sure that your diet has the right foods and nutrients that are essential for the health of your hair. But first, rule out the reasons that cause you to lose hair.
Check out the list of the necessary nutrients and their food sources below, which will help in recovering from your hair loss problems. These foods are not anything different or special but they draw out a diet plan of the foods that you usually eat in your everyday routine.
This diet will prevent men from losing hair and going bald and will help women prevent their hair from thinning out.
Foods and nutrients in the diet to promote hair growth and prevent hair loss
People who go on crash diets often deprive themselves of an adequate protein intake. In such cases, to save on the proteins, the body shifts the hairs in the growing phase into the resting phase because the growing hairs require proteins to grow.
Inadequate proteins in your diet can lead to protein deficiency and cause hair to shed about 2 to 3 months later. To prevent this, have 2 to 3 servings of protein foods daily. You could even use herbal protein shampoos to apply to the scalp. Avoid shampoos, which contain chemicals.
Protein-packed food sources: Soya beans, Fish, chicken, eggs, almonds, beans, low-fat cheese and yogurt, milk, whole grains, unpolished rice, legumes, peanuts, and peas.
Iron deficiency anemia and hair loss are very much related. According to WebMD, too little iron in the body could be the cause of thinning hair in both men and women. This hair loss due to anemia is reversible, meaning hair will regrow once the iron deficiency is treated and the anemia is corrected.
Blood carries oxygen to the different parts of the body, including your scalp, with the help of hemoglobin present in it. Hemoglobin is an iron-containing protein, which is present in the red blood cells.
Blood that has rich levels of hemoglobin, therefore, is able to carry more oxygen and nutrition to the various parts of the body, including your scalp. In addition to having a rich hemoglobin content in blood, an adequate supply of iron to the body is necessary through your diet.
According to Leonid Benjamin Trost, MD; Wilma Fowler Bergfeld, MD; and Ellen Calogeras, RD, MPH, in their article written in the May issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, the growth of hair is enhanced when iron deficiency is treated.
You could be losing hair due to other causes, and having anemia can only make your hair loss worse. Iron deficiency anemia is treated with iron supplements such as iron tablets or pills and iron liquid tonics.
You may have to take iron supplements for six to eight weeks to correct the iron levels in the blood or even more. A full course for up to six months may have to be taken to fully build up the iron stores.
Food sources of Iron: Raisins (dried grapes), apples, green leafy vegetables, eggs, dates, whole grain cereals, pulses and beans, sea vegetables, fish, and red meat.
3. Vitamin C benefits hair loss
Vitamin C or Ascorbic acid is an essential nutrient for our body. The benefits of vitamin C on hair loss accrue from the fact that it not only stops hair loss but also promotes hair growth. Among all the vitamins, vitamin C is the best vitamin to take if you are losing your hair.
The deficiency of vitamin C is strongly associated with dry and splitting hairs, which quickly fall off.
Vitamin C has strong antioxidant properties, which promote skin health and prevents damage to the hair follicles caused by free radicals formed as a result of the oxidation in the cells. This contributes significantly to hair growth.
The production of Tyrosine depends on vitamin C. Tyrosine is one of the most important amino acids, which contributes to the synthesis of structural proteins.
Another benefit of vitamin C on hair loss is that it helps in the absorption of iron, which is so vital for hair growth and health.
Vitamin C is synthesized in almost all plants and animals, but not in humans. We, therefore, have to get our daily requirements by eating foods that are rich in vitamin C.
Food sources of Vitamin C: Oranges, Lemons, Limes, Grapes, Guava, Strawberry, Peppers, and Spring greens.
4. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is a strong antioxidant and an immune-boosting agent, which promotes capillary growth. This helps in the proper microcirculation of blood to the scalp.
It also aids in the proper uptake of oxygen by the blood, which enriches the blood supply to the scalp and the hair roots with oxygen. This contributes significantly to preventing hair fall and promoting the growth of hair.
Vitamin E strengthens the cell membranes of the hair follicles and provides a stable consistency to them. Healthy hair follicles produce longer-lasting hair and reduce the rate at which the hair strands fall off.
Another beneficial effect of vitamin E on hair growth is that it promotes skin health and not only protects the skin of the scalp from the ultraviolet effects of the sunlight but also reverses any damage caused.
Although vitamin E is available for topical application on the scalp, it is imperative that you obtain your quota of vitamin E through your diet. This is because the hair follicles are situated underneath the skin and their nutrition comes from the blood supply.
Food Sources of Vitamin E: Eggs, Green leafy vegetables, soya beans, whole wheat and cereals, nuts, dried beans, broccoli, and spinach.
Silica is a micronutrient, which promotes the synthesis of collagen. Collagen is the main protein found in animal connective tissue and provides strength to the fascia, cartilage, ligaments, tendons, bone, and skin including the hair follicles.
Silica helps to stop hair fall because it stimulates cell metabolism and new cell formation in the body including that in the hair follicles on the scalp. It also helps in the absorption of vitamins and minerals, which help in hair growth.
Silica has alkalizing properties and combats the body’s acidic environment, which can arise due to poor dietary choices. An acidic scalp can lead to infection of the hair follicles and subsequent hair fall.
Silica is also known to correct the hormonal imbalance that occurs in women and which is known to cause thinning of hair. Silica supplements help to prevent this.
Food sources of Silica: The skin of potato and cucumber, peppers (red and green), bean sprouts, brown rice, onions, cabbage, oats, asparagus, lettuce, strawberry, cauliflower
6. Calcium and magnesium
Calcium is required for hair growth. Falls in calcium levels lead to hair falls.
About 99% of the calcium in your body is present in the bones and the teeth. A small amount is also found in the hair follicles.
Calcium in your hair follicles promotes the interaction between the various cells thereby maintaining the health of the hair follicles and promoting hair growth.
Calcium promotes the secretion of hormones and enzymes such as androgens and biotin, which promote hair growth and maintain a healthy hair structure.
Eating too much sugar leads to high levels of insulin in the blood, causing calcium to be drawn from the bones. This leads to a drop in calcium levels in the blood. Maintaining normal sugar levels in the blood, especially in diabetics, is important to maintain hair growth and prevent hair loss.
Too much calcium in the body in relation to magnesium can lead to high insulin levels, which can contribute to hair loss.
Magnesium is available from many sources and its levels rarely fall. Fall in calcium levels should be avoided to maintain the balance between calcium and magnesium levels and prevent hair loss.
Food sources of Calcium: Milk and milk products, whole grains and cereals, fish, green leafy vegetables, drumstick, beetroot greens, curry leaves, turnips greens, fenugreek leaves, cloves, coriander, mustard seeds, asafetida (Hing).
Zinc promotes the function of the sebaceous glands to produce sebum. Sebum helps the condition of the scalp and this helps to prevent the formation of dandruff.
Zinc promotes protein synthesis and the formation of collagen. This keeps the hair shaft strong and prevents it from breaking.
However, care should be taken to see that excess zinc is not consumed, as this will cause a deficiency of iron, magnesium, and copper, which are necessary for hair growth. Therefore, though your diet can be rich in zinc, you must avoid zinc supplements.
Calcium inhibits the absorption of zinc. Therefore, avoid calcium supplements with a zinc-rich diet unless other medical reasons warrant it.
Zinc also binds itself with the high fiber in the diet and can be excreted from the body without being absorbed.
Foods rich in Zinc: Oysters, shellfish, wheat bran, wheat germ, whole cereals, nuts, brewer’s yeast.
Iodine promotes hair growth. Though your table salt has iodine added to it, it will not help much as that salt is synthetic and is not digested well. Instead have a diet containing foods that are rich in iodine. Have iodine in its nascent or vegetarian form.
Nascent iodine is a supplemental form of iodine thought to be safer and more effective. The body can easily absorb nascent iodine for its use in metabolism and detoxification, making it more effective as a supplement for the body.
Iodine is a key element that helps the thyroid gland produce thyroid hormones. And, abnormal levels of thyroid hormones are a major cause of hair fall in both men and women.
It is estimated that 90% of Americans suffer from iodine deficiency. The reason for this widespread deficiency is a diet lacking in iodine.
Food sources of iodine: Seaweeds, salmon, molasses, beans, eggs, garlic, potato with skin.
9. Essential fatty acids
Essential fatty acids (EFAs), omega 3 and omega 6, have anti-inflammatory properties and are not produced by the body. They have to be obtained from your diet. Low levels of EFAs cause quicker loss of hair.
EFAs have a beneficial action on the integrity of cell membranes and nerve function thereby providing healthy hair follicles to promote hair growth.
Essential fatty acids promote the production of hormones that affect the health and integrity of your skin and hair.
They are also the source of sebum, which is the natural lubricant of the scalp.
Foods sources of EFAs: Salmon, sardines and mackerel, flax seeds, walnuts, cabbage, and cauliflower.
10. Drink plenty of water
Inadequate water in the body can lead to dehydration, which has a direct impact on the growth of your hair.
Dehydration adversely affects cell health and reproduction of the cells in the body including those in the scalp.
Hair roots deficient in water make the hair dry and brittle because it is the hair roots that soak up the water and provide it to the hair shafts keeping them well hydrated and growing well.
What foods you must avoid to stop hair loss?
- Avoid saturated fats because higher levels of fats increase testosterone levels, which cause hair loss.
- Avoid consuming too much sugar as increased sugar levels cause increased levels of insulin. As a result, there is an increased requirement for calcium, which is drawn from the bones. This results in an imbalance between calcium and magnesium levels, which causes hair fall.
- Alcohol has a negative impact on protein synthesis and this can make your hair weak.
- Junk foods are often laden with saturated fats, which can raise levels of testosterone and increase the levels of DHT hormone as well. DHT is an androgen that is related to hair loss.