It can happen to anyone – you wake up in the morning to find that your pillow is littered with your hair. It falls into your food while you’re making it, it clogs your drain, your comb looks a plush toy, and scratching your head makes it even worse. At some point in our lives, there’s a reasonable risk of our hair becoming weaker and falling out, and it can be because of gender, age, or genetics.
With that in mind, it’s important to remember that it is your diet that has a serious effect on your hair’s durability. Here are 15 foods that will help strengthen your hair and combat hair-loss from the root. If you’re already experiencing hair-loss, add these foods to your diet immediately.
In many cases, especially when it comes to women, mineral deficiency is the main cause of hair-loss. It is important to have a proper diet in order to prevent hair-loss. A blood test can let you know if you’re suffering from low levels of iron, proteins, vitamin D, etc. All of which are known causes of hair-loss. Prevention is as easy as eating spinach, which is an excellent source of iron. These leafy greens are also packed full of omega 3 fatty acids, magnesium, potassium and calcium, all of which contribute to a healthy head of hair.
2. Greek Yoghurt
Have you ever noticed that every Greek statue has a healthy head of hair? It may be an artistic choice, but it may also be associated with the protein-rich yoghurt that the Greeks have been making and consuming since 500 BCE. Greek yoghurt is also rich in vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), a nutrient that improves blood flow throughout the body, as well as the scalp, which is vital for a healthy head of hair.
The human body is capable of amazing things, such as converting sunlight into vitamin D, which strengthens the bones. One thing our body cannot do is produce omega 3 fatty acids – a powerful anti-inflammatory that combats hair-loss. One of the best sources of omega 3 is certain types of fish, such as mackerel, sardines, and salmon. In addition, omega 3 helps stave off other illnesses, and keeps your hair nice and healthy. One cause of hair-loss in women is insulin resistance, and salmon is one of the only foods that aids the processing of insulin in the body.
Not only does it smell and taste good, cinnamon improves blood flow throughout the body, including the scalp, thus aiding in the delivery of much-needed oxygen to the roots. Sprinkle some of this miraculous spice on your toast or add it to your coffee in the morning and keep your hair healthy.
Oats are rich in iron, zinc, fiber, omega 3, and unsaturated fats, all beneficial to your hair, making it lush, shiny, and healthy. Oats are highly recommended for breakfast, and you can combine them with cinnamon to double the benefits.
Vitamin C makes hair more durable and less fragile. In a study held in the U.S., researchers tested the effects of a supplement containing vitamin C on women with thin hair. They discovered that the supplement aided in accelerated hair growth in these women. While most of us consider citrus fruits to be the best source of vitamin C, a single guava contains 4-5 times as much vitamin C as any citrus fruit, making it the fruit of choice for those who suffer from hair-loss.
Eggs are packed with vitamin B7 (biotin), which aids in hair growth and strengthens your nails. Vitamin B7 deficiency can lead to excessive hair-loss, so make sure to include eggs in your diet if you value your hair. Other sources for biotin are almonds, avocado, and salmon. Eggs also help in weight loss and are essential for anyone who’s on a diet (which can lead to hair-loss due to a lack of necessary nutrients).
Lentils are filled with proteins, iron, zinc, and biotin, as well as copious amounts of folic acid. Your body needs folic acid to maintain the health of your red blood cells. The red blood cells are couriers of oxygen in the body, which is also needed to maintain healthy skin and scalp. For men, folic acid is also necessary to maintain the quality of their sperm.
As previously mentioned, iron deficiency can lead to hair-loss and is more common in women. While spinach is a great source of iron, just soy and lentils, liver is even more beneficial to the maintenance and health of your hair. Iron-rich organs such as liver provide our body with healthy amounts of this mineral, so consider including it in your weekly diet.
10. Lean Meat
Have you noticed that if you don’t consume enough protein, your muscles become weaker and smaller? The same is true for your hair. If you do not have enough proteins in your diet, your hair goes “on strike”. Fallen hairs will be replaced at a slower rate, and hair-loss can accelerate. To get good proteins from meat, go for leaner options, such as chicken. It is also advisable that you prepare that meat yourself, as opposed to eating pre-made options.
Barley is an excellent source for vitamin E - an antioxidant that absorbs harmful UV rays. Vitamin E also helps in repairing sun damage to the scalp, which may cause hair-loss and thinning. In an 8-month long study, it was found that people who used a vitamin E supplement enjoyed a 34% increase in hair growth.
12. Nuts and Seeds
In several studies into male pattern baldness, a correlation was found between a lack of tocotrienols and beta-sitosterols, and hair thinning. Beta-sitosterols are abundant in pistachios, as well as in walnuts and other fatty nuts. In addition, fatty nuts contain elastin, which gives hair elasticity, and prevents it from breaking.
13. Bok Choy
Physicians often look at the state of a patient’s hair to determine how much ferritin and iron is in their blood. In many cases, dermatologists will advise their patients to add the iron-rich bok choy to their diet.
14. Orange Fruits and Vegetables
Beta-carotene protects the skin from excessive dryness, and your hair from thinning, by causing your scalp to produce more sebum, which is necessary in keeping the hairs healthy and shiny. Generally, any orange-colored vegetable is a good source of beta-carotene. Carrots, pumpkins, mangos and muskmelons all contain beta-carotene, and are recommended for people with weak and thinning hair.
15. Shitake Mushrooms
Whether your hair is thinning or not, gray hairs can make it look thinner. Copper is necessary in maintaining your natural hair color, even if you’re not ginger. In 2012, a study found that people who consumed lower levels of copper turned gray earlier in their life. The best solution is to consume the copper-rich shitake mushrooms.
Please note that if you’ve started a diet and you’re suddenly suffering from hair-loss, or if you’re at an age where hair-loss is natural, you can add these foods to your diet and keep your full head of hair.