Hair Loss Prevention Diet
The foods you eat may help control whether you have hair loss or healthy hair. There are ways to optimize your diet to help you grow hair and maintain healthy hair.
There are many reasons you might be experiencing hair loss. In addition to illness, medication side effects, and genetics, the foods you eat — or don’t eat — could cause your hair to fall out, and not allow your body to grow healthy hair. And there is some evidence that suggests certain foods may help promote the growth of strong, healthy hair.
Some of the ways that dietary factors that could cause your hair to fall out include:
- Insulin resistance. Studies have shown that insulin resistance can lead to both male pattern baldness and female pattern baldness. Insulin resistance is a condition in which your body does not respond to insulin as it should, which can lead to diabetes, heart disease and other health problems, in addition to hair loss. People who eat excessive amounts of saturated fats, trans fats, sodium, and added sugar are at increased risk of developing insulin resistance.
- Vegetarian diet. People who consume a vegetarian diet may not be getting the protein they need to grow healthy hair. If you are a vegetarian, it is important to work with a dietitian to ensure that you are getting the proteins you need to prevent or reverse hair loss and maintain your overall health.
- Eating disorders. Because people with eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia may be malnourished, they may experience hair loss. Hair loss is one of the many potential ill effects of having an eating disorder. Getting treatment for an eating disorder can help you get the protein and other nutrients you need, which can help your hair begin growing again.
- Vitamin A supplementation. Many people today take dietary supplements in hopes of improving their health. But in some cases, excessive amounts of dietary supplements can lead to hair loss. In particular, dietary supplements with excessive amounts of vitamin A can trigger hair loss.
Foods That Help Promote Healthy Hair
Once you have identified the dietary patterns that may be contributing to your hair loss, it is time to focus on foods that can help keep your hair strong and healthy. Make sure you are getting enough of the following healthy hair-promoting nutrients in your diet:
- Protein. Your body needs an adequate amount of protein to keep your hair growing. While most people get enough protein, some people, especially people on very restrictive diets, may not be getting enough. Good sources of protein include meats, poultry, fish, beans, peas, tofu, eggs, nuts, seeds, milk, and dairy products.
- Iron. Iron is a mineral that your body needs for many reasons, including the maintenance of healthy hair. Certain people, including babies, young children, pregnant women, and menstruating women and girls, are at increased risk of becoming deficient in iron. Iron-rich foods include meats, poultry, fish, leafy greens, beans, peas, and fortified cereals and other grain products.
- Thiamin (Vitamin B1). Thiamin is a vitamin that helps your body convert food into the energy it needs. Pork, soy milk, watermelon, and acorn squash are particularly high in thiamin.
- Riboflavin (Vitamin B2). Riboflavin is another vitamin that is essential for the growth of healthy hair. Riboflavin is found in milk, dairy products, whole grains, enriched grain products, and liver.
- Zinc. Zinc deficiency can be a cause of diffuse, all-over-the-scalp hair loss. Good sources of zinc include poultry, oysters, red meat, beans, nuts, and fortified cereals.
- Vitamin D. Deficiency of this vitamin, which is common in northern latitudes in the winter, may also be related to loss of scalp hair. Dietary sources of vitamin D include fatty fish, fortified milk or margarine, and fortified cereals.
If you are concerned your diet may be causing your hair to fall out, talk with your doctor. He may be able to perform simple tests to check for nutrient deficiencies and give you suggestions for changing your diet to benefit the growth of your hair.