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Donegal Nutritionist Sorcha McElchar from Sorchas Healthy Living reveals how good nutrition will help both maintain healthy hair and repair damaged hair. Here, we take a look at the best foods to introduce to your diet…
Hair loss is a lot more common than you might think! There are so many causes for hair loss nowadays. One study showed an increasing prevalence of hair loss among millennials. This could be down to the growing number of young people adapting a Vegan or Vegetarian diet without planning and researching it properly first, leading to deficiencies in nutrients important for hair growth and maintenance such as Protein, Zinc, Iron and Vitamin D.
The main reasons for hair loss are.
- Hormonal changes.
- Medical conditions.
- Some Medications and supplements can cause hair loss. High doses of some supplements can also lead to hair loss, especially high doses of vitamin A.
- Radiation therapy on the scalp can cause hair loss, but it should grow back.
- Stress can be a trigger for hair loss by interrupting the hair growth cycle causing large volumes of hair to fall out prematurely.
- Certain hairstyles that pull tight on the hair can cause Traction Alopecia.
- Family history of hair loss.
- Lastly, poor nutrition can be a major cause for hair loss. There are certain nutrients that play an important role in healthy skin, hair, and nails. Being deficient in one or more of these nutrients can lead to hair thinning or hair loss.
One thing for sure is that good nutrition will help both maintain healthy hair and repair damaged hair as well as possibly helping with hair regrowth. Here are some foods you could add to your diet to help with hair growth and maintenance.
- Eggs are a great source of both protein and Biotin. Both nutrients play an important role in hair growth and maintenance. Biotin deficiency has been shown to cause hair loss. One large egg contains approximately 6.28g of protein (mostly in the egg white), and 15µg of Biotin (mostly in the egg yolk).
- Berries and other fruits and vegetables are great sources of antioxidants which can help prevent the hair follicles being attacked by molecules called ‘free radicals’. Berries also contain vitamin C which plays a role in the production of a protein called Collagen, which helps strengthen hair. The vitamin C in Berries and other fruits and vegetables helps with Iron absorption, and Iron deficiency can also lead to hair loss.
- Iron deficiency is the world’s most common nutritional deficiency and a well-known cause for hair loss. Spinach is a good healthy source of iron. It also contains vitamin C (which will help with the absorption of the iron), folate, and vitamin A. All these nutrients can help promote healthy hair. Other good sources of Iron include lean red meat, offal, beans (red kidney beans, edamame beans and chickpeas), nuts, dried fruit, fortified breakfast cereals, soybean flour, shellfish, turkey, and quinoa.
- Oily fish such as tuna, salmon, mackerel, herring, and trout are great sources of healthy Omega 3 fatty acids. Oily fish also contains Selenium, vitamin D3, and B vitamins that could help promote strong and healthy hair.
- Oysters contain more Zinc than any other food source. Zinc is known to maintain the growth and repair cycle of hair. Some studies have shown that consuming too much Zinc from supplementation can cause hair loss, so it’s probably best to get your zinc from food. Don’t worry if you aren’t to pushed on Oysters though, there are other food sources of Zinc such as crab, lobster, red meat, baked beans, fortified breakfast cereals, the dark meat of chicken and pumpkin seeds.
- Seeds contain Zinc, Selenium and Vitamin E, all of which have been shown to maintain healthy hair and possibly encourage hair growth (Guo and Katta, 2017).
Be careful if you decide to start taking supplements of any of the nutrients mentioned above as consuming too much of certain nutrients, especially vitamin A, D and E, can lead to hypervitaminosis which can not only cause hair loss, but could cause some serious health repercussions. It’s always best to try to get your nutrients from food and seek a medical professional’s advice if you feel you need to supplement.Tags: