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Everyone loses some amount of hair daily, but excessive hair fall (>100 strands a day) for a long period is classified as hair loss. It can be triggered by a variety of factors such as hormonal imbalance, medication, stress, chemicals in hair products, autoimmune conditions, negligent hair care, nutritional deficiencies, and genetic causes. (1)
Many different medications, procedures, and home remedies can help reduce hair fall, but this article will focus on an intervention that does not get enough credit: your diet.
Fighting hair loss requires a multifaceted approach, and daily nutrition is an important part of it. What you eat has a direct impact on the condition of your body, including your hair health.
Your scalp grows nearly 120,000 hair strands at a given time, all of which require proper nutrition. (2) Some foods are more nourishing for your hair than others, and this article will list dietary recommendations to fight hair loss.
Foods That Prevent Hair Loss
Consuming the following foods as part of an overall healthy well-balanced diet can help control hair fall and stimulate healthy hair growth:
Eggs contain several nutrients that can promote hair growth and improve your overall hair health. These include protein, which is essential for building new hair and repairing damaged ones.
Next on the list is iron, which is used by the body to produce hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a protein found in red blood cells that is singularly responsible for carrying oxygen to each and every cell in the body, including your hair roots for proper hair growth. Low iron or hemoglobin levels can render your hair weak and prone to breakage or shedding.
Biotin is another vital nutrient that plays an important role in hair growth, and eggs contain plenty of it. It strengthens the infrastructure of keratin (the main hair-building protein) to make your hair less brittle. (3) A deficiency of biotin is a major cause of excessive hair fall and slow hair growth; thus, this vitamin is very important for hair health. (4)
Furthermore, eggs are loaded with vitamins A, B6, B12, E, and K, all of which improve protein production inside the hair follicles to support healthy hair growth. Lastly, eggs also contain certain peptides that are known to stimulate hair growth.
Thus, all in all, eggs hold a lot of promise as a remedy for hair loss, (5) but more extensive research is needed to conclusively establish this claim.
2. Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are abundant in vitamins B and E, zinc, selenium, and essential fatty acids, all of which nourish the hair follicles to produce long, sturdy, and healthy hair. (6) This boost of strength helps reduce hair breakage and shedding, while also facilitating fast hair regrowth.
Plus, nuts contain organic plant compounds called phytosterols, such as tocotrienols and beta-sitosterol, which may help fight male-pattern baldness. (7) They do so by inhibiting the synthesis of an androgen called DHT, which is largely responsible for triggering this type of hair loss.
Pistachios, for instance, are replete with beta-sitosterol, which works as a natural DHT blocker.
Meanwhile, certain oils found in walnuts and some other nuts are known to increase the amount of elastin in your hair. Elastin is a structural protein that makes your hair flexible and therefore less prone to breakage.
Carrots are loaded with beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A inside the body. Vitamin A stimulates sebum production in the scalp, which helps keep your hair follicles properly hydrated to support healthy hair growth. Dry scalp will sprout dry hair that tends to be rough and brittle.
Vitamin A also stimulates the production of new hair cells inside the hair follicles to add thickness and length to your tresses. It also serves as a strong antioxidant that helps increase blood circulation in the scalp to relieve inflammation. Scalp inflammation hampers the functioning of the hair follicles, resulting in weak hair that breaks or falls out easily.
Another benefit of improved blood circulation inside the scalp is your hair follicles will receive more nutrients and oxygen via the blood to support fast and healthy hair growth. (8)
Salmon is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which help lubricate the scalp, and thereby the hair follicles, to promote healthy hair growth. These fatty acids also help relieve scalp inflammation, which weakens your hair roots and impedes hair follicle activity, resulting in excess hair fall and stunted hair growth, respectively.
Salmon also contains vitamin D which is known to stimulate hair follicle activity for better hair growth. Conversely, low vitamin D levels have been associated with increased hair loss in some studies, but more research is needed to confirm this. (9)
Spinach is a good source of iron, which helps increase oxygen supply to the hair follicles for healthy hair growth. It also contains sebum and omega-3 fatty acids, which condition your hair and scalp from within.
This leafy green vegetable is also replete with the powerful antioxidant vitamin C, which protects your hair follicles and hair cells from the onslaught of free radicals.
Free radicals are unstable reactive molecules that attack healthy hair cells, making them weak and worn out. They also damage the hair follicles and hinder hair growth.
Magnesium, calcium, and potassium are some other nutrients found in spinach that can help strengthen, repair, and grow your tresses to reverse hair loss. (10)
Oats are good for hair health due to their rich content of essential fatty acids, natural fibers, iron, and zinc. All of these nutrients work together to fight hair fall and accelerate hair regrowth.
7. Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are packed with vitamin A, which plays a crucial role in the production of new cells, including hair cells. By virtue of this property, vitamin A adds strength and thickness to your strands so that they don’t break or shed easily. Moreover, vitamin A stimulates sebum production inside the scalp to keep it moisturized.
A well-hydrated scalp is necessary to support healthy hair growth. This vitamin also helps increase blood circulation inside the scalp to provide good nourishment to your hair follicles. It is a strong antioxidant that helps relieve scalp inflammation and improve hair repair.
Additionally, sweet potatoes contain a good dose of copper, iron, and protein, which help make your hair strong and long.
8. Sunflower seeds
Sunflower seeds contain an array of nutrients that can help reduce hair loss and increase hair growth.
Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) is one such nutrient that stimulates blood flow to the scalp so that your hair follicles can get more nutrients and oxygen to support healthy hair growth. Conversely, a deficiency of this vitamin is linked with hair loss.
Other hair-building nutrients found in sunflower seeds include zinc, protein, magnesium, copper, calcium, iron, potassium, and vitamins B and E, each with its own hair benefits. Collectively, these nutrients help fight hair loss and promote hair growth.
Ginseng is a therapeutic herb that has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine for the treatment of a variety of ailments. It contains a variety of bioactive constituents including phytochemicals and a collection of saponin compounds known as ginsenosides, which can help promote hair growth. (12)
The heavy dose of healthy fat found in avocados helps hydrate your scalp from within so that it produces smooth and soft hair.
Well-conditioned hair is more elastic and therefore less prone to breakage. Plus, a well-conditioned scalp is less prone to inflammation, which is a leading culprit behind hair fall and slow hair growth. Furthermore, avocados contain vitamins B12 and E, both of which help improve hair quality and hair growth.
Vitamin B12 assists in the production of new hair cells while also increasing the supply of oxygenated blood to the hair follicles. Meanwhile, vitamin E works as a strong antioxidant that protects your hair from free radical damage. It also stimulates blood circulation in the scalp, thus improving nutrient delivery to the hair follicles.
What Common Eating Habits Lead to Excessive Hair Fall?
The excess or deficiency of certain nutrients can lead to hair loss and stunted hair growth. So, it is highly recommended to consume a well-balanced diet that contains all the necessary hair nutrients but in recommended amounts.
Some dietary habits that can trigger hair fall instead of controlling it are:
- Eating mercury-rich foods
- Consuming too much processed sugary or high-glycemic foods
- Not getting enough protein, calcium, zinc, and iron
- Excessive intake of vitamin A
Hair loss is a common but distressing problem that can affect your overall appearance and jeopardize your self-confidence. It is important to control this problem in its early stages, or else it will lead to severe hair thinning and bald patches that cannot be reversed.
So, if you notice abnormal hair fall on a daily basis, consult your dermatologist for a proper diagnosis and prompt treatment. Eating right is one of the best ways to reduce hair fall, improve hair quality, and promote hair growth so that you don’t have to resort to more serious hair treatments. But this is only possible if your hair loss is not genetic or triggered by an underlying ailment.
If you continue to experience considerable hair fall despite the recommended dietary interventions, seek professional help before the condition takes a turn for the worse.