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7 Foods That May Help Stop Hair Loss

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Everyone enjoys having a full head of thick and lush hair. So it can be extremely unsettling when you find more hairs clinging to your hairbrush or falling to the floor than you are used to. It’s even more disturbing when you realize you’re getting a little thin on top.

There are many causes of hair loss. While it is often hereditary, autoimmune disorders, certain illnesses and medical treatments can play a role, as well. Stress, poor sleep habits and over styling can also affect your hair’s ability to grow.

In particular, nutritional deficiencies are strongly linked to both the structure and growth patterns of your hair. And when you eat the right foods, they can act like fertilizer for your hair – producing hair that grows faster and thicker.

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1. Beans

Iron deficiency is one of the world’s most common nutritional deficiencies and is a well-known cause of hair loss. Both men and women who have low levels of this mineral are more likely to suffer from thinning hair than those with normal levels.

Certain beans have an extremely high iron content. A cup of chickpeas, for example, contains 12.5 mg of iron. Lima beans (4.5 mg/cup), navy beans (4.3 mg/cup) and lentils (6.6 mg/cup) are also excellent iron sources.

Other good vegetarian sources of iron include tomatoes, pumpkin seeds and spinach. Beef, chicken, clams and mussels top the list when it comes to animal sources.

2. Oysters

Zinc is responsible for biological activities necessary for a normal hair growth cycle. Research shows that people with male or female pattern baldness or whose follicles stop producing hair are low in this mineral. In one small study, zinc supplementation cured or improved hair loss in women.

Many foods like beef, pumpkin seeds and lentils contain decent levels of zinc. But the only food that can give you all the zinc you need in a single meal is oysters. One medium oyster contains eight to nine milligrams of zinc.

Eating just three ounces of oysters will give you about 28 milligrams of zinc. Three ounces of ribeye steak, on the other hand, will provide less than five milligrams.

3. Nuts and Seeds

Deficiency in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can trigger loss of hair on the scalp and eyebrows. However, a 2015 study found that when women supplemented with a combination of these fatty acids and antioxidants for six months, hair loss was reversed in most of them. Between 85% and 90% of the women reported a reduction in hair loss, improvement in hair diameter and greater hair density.

Some nuts and seeds with the most favorable omega-3 to omega-6 ratios include walnuts, macadamia nuts, flax seeds and chia seeds.

4. Mackerel and Salmon

Mackerel, salmon and other seafood also have excellent omega-3 to omega-6 ratios (although, it’s critical to opt for wild salmon over farm raised salmon). Just as importantly, they are healthy sources of protein, which is vital to the health of your hair. If you don’t get enough of it, it can result in slower hair growth, thinner hair and hair loss.

In particular L-lysine, an essential amino acid that helps build protein, is found in extremely high levels in seafood. This amino acid appears to play a role in iron and zinc uptake, which may help women who suffer hair loss due to deficiencies in these nutrients.

Meats, eggs, fish, nuts, seeds and beans are also good sources of protein.

5. Eggs

Evidence suggests that getting more biotin in your diet may help improve thin, brittle hair and activate hair growth. In a study released just a few months ago, all patients who received biotin supplements for either poor hair or nail growth showed clinical improvements, including patients with alopecia.

Egg yolks are loaded with biotin. And while you may fear egg yolk because they contain cholesterol, rest assured. Recent science shows very clearly that eggs do not increase the risk of arterial blockages or heart attack.

6. Carrots

Vitamin A activates hair follicle stem cells, moisturizes hair strands and protects it from being fragile. A deficiency can cause hair loss and thinning hair.

Beta carotene, which converts to vitamin A in the body, is the pigment that gives orange, red and yellow fruits and vegetables their color. Carrots with a deep orange color are one of the highest food sources of beta-carotene. Just one medium-sized carrot can provide you with 10,191 IU of vitamin A.

7. Kiwi

Vitamin C is essential when it comes to producing collagen, a protein that is absolutely necessary for hair structure and growth. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Dermatological Science suggests vitamin C can provide significant growth stimulation and extend the growth phase of hair.

While a tall glass of O.J. tends to be our go-to, one of the most convenient sources of vitamin C is kiwi fruit. Just two small fruits can offer 128 mg of vitamin C. Mango takes a close second, with about 122 mg of vitamin C in each fruit.

Other citrus fruits and dark green leafy vegetables are also great sources of vitamin C.

Sources:

Guo EL, et al. Diet and hair loss: effects of nutrient deficiency and supplement use. Dermatol Pract Concept. 2017 Jan; 7(1): 1–10.

Park SY, et al. Iron Plays a Certain Role in Patterned Hair Loss. J Korean Med Sci. 2013 Jun; 28(6): 934–938.

Park H, et al. The therapeutic effect and the changed serum zinc level after zinc supplementation in alopecia areata patients who had a low serum zinc level. Ann Dermatol. 2009 May;21(2):142-6.

Karashima T, et al. Oral zinc therapy for zinc deficiency-related telogen effluvium. Dermatol Ther. 2012 Mar-Apr;25(2):210-3.

Le Floc’h C, et al. Effect of a nutritional supplement on hair loss in women. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2015 Mar;14(1):76-82.

Patel DP, et al. A Review of the Use of Biotin for Hair Loss. Skin Appendage Disord. 2017 Aug;3(3):166-169.

Virtanen JK, et al.  Associations of egg and cholesterol intakes with carotid intima-media thickness and risk of incident coronary artery disease according to apolipoprotein E phenotype in men: the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2016 Mar;103(3):895-901.

Sung YK, et al. The hair growth promoting effect of ascorbic acid 2-phosphate, a long-acting Vitamin C derivative. J Dermatol Sci. 2006 Feb;41(2):150-2.


Dana Nicholas is a freelance writer and researcher in the field of natural and alternative healing. She has over 20 years of experience working with many noted health authors and anti-aging professionals, including James Balch, M.D., Dr. Linda Page, “Amazon” John Easterling and Al Sears M.D. Dana’s goal is to keep you up-to-date on information, news and breakthroughs that can have a direct impact on your health, your quality of life… and your lifespan. “I’m absolutely convinced that America’s misguided trust in mainstream medicine – including reliance on the government to regulate our food and medicine supply – is killing us, slowly but surely,” she cautions. “By sharing what I’ve learned throughout the years I hope I can empower others to take control over their own health.”


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