Foods for Healthy Hair
One of the biggest fears so many people have about aging is their hair thinning, then losing it. Really, who would not be afraid of losing their hair? It can have a negative effect on self-image and confidence. So, we often find ourselves asking questions like: “What if it happens to me?” “What will I do?” “Will I embrace it and shave off all my hair or maybe wear a wig?” But what if you do not have to worry about your hair thinning because you took some dietary steps to help prevent it? Read on to learn about foods for healthy hair to prevent and slow the process of hair thinning.
What Causes Thinning Hair and Hair Loss?
Thinning hair and hair loss is one of those things that can have more than one cause, and for some people there are many different causes. Aging is often seen as one of the leading causes of hair loss. However, there are a lot more causes than just that.
According to Mayo Clinic, hair thinning and loss can be hereditary (passed down through your family’s genetics), stress, hormonal changes and medical conditions. As we age, we become more susceptible to changing health conditions where hair loss could be a side effect.
The hormonal changes related to menopause are a leading cause of hair loss in older women. An immune system disorder known as alopecia areata is another common cause of hair loss in older adults. Taking certain medications or supplements can result in hair thinning or loss. There are even some studies saying that hair thinning and loss could even be related to a lack of certain vitamins and minerals, specifically iron. However, the verdict is still out on this theory.
According to the paper Nutrition Factors and Hair Loss by Dr. D.H. Rushton that was published in Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, there are two nutritional deficiencies that appear to be very common in people experiencing hair thinning. The first is the lack of the protein L-Lysine, an amino acid that helps the body absorb calcium. The other is a lack of biotin which is a B vitamin.
While these two nutrients play a key role in hair health, it is also known that vitamins A, B, C, D and E, as well as zinc, iron and selenium all play a role in preventing hair thinning.
Signs and Symptoms of Thinning Hair and Hair Loss
Hair thinning and loss is when your hair falls out, but new hair does not grow back in. There are some sure signs that you are experiencing hair loss:
- Patchy areas or bald spots.
- Slow thinning of hair on top of head.
- Loss of hair on your entire body.
- The loosening of hair where your hair comes out in clumps, usually due to stress.
One of the best ways to prevent hair thinning and loss is to make sure that you are eating foods that are rich in all vitamins and minerals previously listed. Although, you will not be able to reverse anything that has already happened.
7 Foods That Can Help Thinning Hair
Now that we have a list of vitamins and minerals that can be helpful for maintaining healthy hair as we age, there are some foods that are filled with these nutrients. If added to your diet, they can help to keep your hair healthy.
Eggs do not just make a great breakfast food, they are also great for your hair. They are very nutrient-dense and contain both biotin and L-Lysine. In fact, one egg yolk contains 33% of the recommended daily intake of biotin. They are also a great source of protein, which means they contain L-Lysine. Eggs are also packed with other nutrients that can help keep your hair healthier.
Meats like beef, pork and chicken are all great sources of protein, L-Lysine and biotin. Only three ounces of beef liver contains over 100% of the daily recommended intake of biotin. The protein found in meat also helps the body to better absorb vitamins that help with hair health. Red meat in particular is high in iron, which is the most commonly deficient mineral in most adults and is suspected to be associated with hair loss.
This group of food includes vegetables like beans, peas, peanuts and lentils, which are all high in plant protein. They are also higher in biotin than many other foods out there. Beans are high in iron which can support healthy hair, as many experts suggest that iron deficiency is linked to thinning hair. Legumes can also have a lot of zinc in them, which helps to assist the repair cycle in your hair.
Sunflower seeds contain a huge amount of biotin and vitamin E that can help to protect your hair and keep it on your head. Seeds are also a great source of selenium, an antioxidant that helps to support cell growth in your body. That’s not just important for your hair but for every part of your body.
5. Sweet Potato
Sweet potato tastes great, and it is great for your hair, skin and nails. One sweet potato can contain four times the amount of your daily recommended vitamin A intake. Vitamin A is essential in the production of sebum on the scalp. If you do not know, sebum is the natural oil that shows up in your hair if you do not wash it for a few days. Sebum helps to keep your hair moisturized so that it does not become dry and easy to break. When your hair is dry and more brittle, the likelihood of you experiencing hair thinning is much higher.
Like many of the foods already listed, fish is another food that can help to improve thinning hair and create healthier hair. 3 ounces of canned salmon contains 17% of your daily biotin intake. It is also another food that is high in protein, selenium and vitamins D and B.
Finally, avocado is a nutrient-dense plant that is full of good fats, minerals and vitamins that can keep your hair from thinning. The high amount of vitamin E in avocado can help to protect your scalp and keep it from being damaged, which in turn protects your hair from falling out. Vitamin E is essential for protecting your hair follicles, which regrow new hair when damaged or dead hair falls out.
When to Talk to Your Doctor
There are plenty of foods that you can eat to help protect your hair and prevent it from thinning. However, if you feel you are experiencing hair loss you should speak with your doctor, especially if you feel it is affecting your quality of life.