8 Best Diet Tips for Hair Loss Prevention
Here's our collection of the eight best diet tips for preventing hair loss and boosting hair growth. After learning the basics of the anti-hair-loss diet in this section, be sure to check out the list of foods that prevent hair loss as well as the section on hair loss fighting recipes.
Before getting into details about the hair loss prevention diet, it is important to understand what hair loss is, so here's a quick summary: A normal, healthy person sheds about 50 to 100 hairs every day, and most of these hairs grow back. A healthy hair has a life cycle of about three to six years. Hair loss becomes a problem when the hairs do not grow back or when hairs are shed at an abnormally rapid rate (several hundreds hairs per day). Hair loss (or alopecia) afflicts millions of people worldwide — and not just men. Many women, too, experience some degree of hair loss at some point in their life although their hair loss is often less noticeable.
Hair loss can be caused by a number of factors, including certain medications and chemotherapy, genetics, rapid weight loss, chronic stress, severe dandruff, hormonal imbalances, pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, and poor scalp circulation. Furthermore, certain nutritional factors have been linked to hair loss. The rest of this page provides an overview of diet-related habits – such as stepping up your dietary intake of vitamin C, copper, zinc, beta-carotene, and silica – that can help prevent hair loss.
#1: Load on Vitamin C Rich Foods
The first tip for preventing hair loss is to add more vitamin C rich foods to your diet. Vitamin C is required for the synthesis of collagen which in turn supports hair follicles and keeps blood vessels in the scalp healthy. Vitamin C also increases iron absorption from foods. To enhance the beneficial effects of vitamin C on hair, combine foods rich in vitamin C with foods that contain vitamin E, an important vitamin that may also help reduce hair loss due to its ability to boost circulation to the scalp. Vitamin C and vitamin E protect each other and are more effective when consumed together.
#2: Ensure a Sufficient Intake of Protein
Hair is more than 90 percent protein, and a diet that is too low in protein may cause hair loss. Protein is abundant in a wide range of foods, particularly in foods of animal origin. A typical Western diet usually contains sufficient amounts of protein and eating additional protein for hair growth is not necessary. Even though hair is made of protein, excessive amounts of dietary protein are unlikely to improve hair growth and may cause other health problems.
#3: Eat Foods High in Vitamin A and Beta-Carotene
Another good tip is to incorporate dietary sources of vitamin A into your hair loss prevention diet. Vitamin A promotes the growth of healthy cells and tissues, including hair and the scalp. A deficiency of vitamin A can cause hair loss and thinning hair. Beta-carotene, which is found yellow/orange and green vegetables and fruit such as spinach, broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash, mango, melon and apricots, also promotes healthy hair due to its anti-oxidant properties as well as its role as a precursor to vitamin A.
#4: Eat Plenty of Foods Rich in B Vitamins
If you are aiming at having healthy-looking, strong hair, be sure to eat plenty of foods rich in B vitamins. B vitamins are in essence a complex of vitamins that often work together and co-exist in the same foods. Evidence suggests that a sufficient intake of the B vitamins, particularly of vitamins B6 (pyridoxine), B12 (riboflavin), B9 (folate), B7 (biotin), B5 (pantothenic acid) and B3 (niacin), is necessary for healthy hair.
Pantothenic acid and biotin are thought to slow hair loss and prevent graying of hair. Pyridoxine helps the body produce melanin, which gives hair its color. It also prevents hair loss and facilitates the absorption of zinc. In addition, pyridoxine, together with folate and riboflavin, helps form hemoglobin (blood cells). Hemoglobin is needed for transporting oxygen from the lungs to the other tissues in the body, including hair. An undisrupted supply of oxygen is necessary for healthy hair.
#5: Step up Your Silica Intake
In 1939, the Nobel Prize winner for chemistry, Professor Adolf Butenandt, proved that life cannot exist without silica (also known as silicon dioxide). In humans, silica is essential to the development of the skeleton. It is also an important component of hair, and an adequate intake of silica is thought to prevent baldness and stimulate hair growth. Silica is present in substantial amounts in a wide range of foods, including strawberries, green and red peppers, millet, barley, wheat, cucumbers, oats, rice, bean sprouts, potatoes, and asparagus. Processing of foods as well as chemical treatment of the soil can significantly decrease the silica content of foods. Therefore, in order to ensure an optimal intake of silica, it is advisable to opt for organically grown and unprocessed foods.
#6: Be Sure to Eat Enough Foods Containing Copper and Zinc
Although our bodies require only a small amount of copper, it is crucial for the proper functioning of the body, including healthy hair growth. Sufficient levels of copper can prevent hair loss and contribute to hair thickness. Copper is also thought to intensify hair color and prevent premature graying of hair. Another trace mineral that is important to hair health is zinc, which plays an important role in the production of new cells (including hair cells). Zinc and copper should be consumed together as the balance between the two is crucial: too much zinc interferes with copper absorption, and higher amounts of copper can be toxic. Black sesame seeds, which are used as a remedy for hair loss in Asia, are an excellent source of both copper and zinc.
#7: Include Foods Rich in Sulphur in Your Diet
Sulphur is a mineral that is found in all cells of the human body and that is particularly abundant in our hair, skin, and nails. Sulfur is often referred to as "nature's beauty mineral" because of its capability to aid in good blood circulation, reduce skin inflammation, and promote hair growth. It also plays a role in the metabolism of several important B-vitamins including B1, B5 and B7. First signs of a sulphur deficiency often include loss of hair, brittle hair and nails, and dry skin. Although present in the human body, sulphur can only be obtained through diet. Sulphur is found in all protein rich foods, meats, fish, eggs, milk and legumes being particularly rich sources of this mineral. Garlic, cabbage, onions, turnips, kale, lettuce, brussels sprouts, kelp, seaweed and some nuts also contain sulphur.
#8: Ensure a Sufficient Iron Intake
Iron carries oxygen to the hair, and an inadequate intake of iron may cause the hair follicles to starve of oxygen. In fact, depleted iron stores appear to be one of the most common causes of hair loss in pre-menopausal women. Interestingly, iron deficiency is also the most common form of nutritional deficiency. Women who are menstruating (especially if they have heavy periods), women who are pregnant or have just given birth, long-distance runners, and vegans have a particularly high risk of being deficient in iron. To prevent or correct this deficiency, consume iron-rich foods such as dried fruits, egg yolks, liver, lean red meat, oysters, poultry, salmon, tuna and whole grains.