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Can a Healthy Diet Help Prevent Hair Loss?
Hair loss and baldness is most commonly caused by factors you don’t have much control over: hereditary genetics, hormonal fluctuations, and age. While there’s no sure-fire way to prevent hair loss, a healthy diet with certain nutritional aspects may help.
Iron is important in the production of hemoglobin, which is the chemical that helps oxygen circulate throughout your body. Good circulation helps hair to grow quickly. Moreover, a side effect of iron deficiency (anemia) is hair loss. Iron is found in dark, leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale. If the mention of those vegetables makes you cringe, consider adding them to your diet in less conventional ways. Both make excellent stir fry ingredients, which is a far cry from the unappealing canned options. Mollusks, like oysters and scallops, provide a high amount of iron. Dried fruits also have a lot of iron in them, so keep bags of dried prunes, cherries, and raisins handy. If you don’t want to snack on them, use them on top of salads. Dried apricots can be used to create glazes for desserts.
Hair is primarily composed of protein, so it makes sense to restore the protein in your body for maximum hair growth. Foods that are rich in protein include eggs, beans, fish, and meat. But don’t go eating a ribeye every night: high-fat foods can raise testosterone levels, which has been linked to hair loss. If you choose meat as a source of protein, stick with leaner options like chicken, turkey, or sirloin. Cheese, yogurt, and healthy nuts like almonds also contain a lot of protein. Soy is a very healthy option that comes in plenty of different forms, such as soy milk, tofu, and edamame.
Zinc is essential to many of the body’s functions, including managing the hair follicle glands. Oysters and shrimp are very high in zinc—but be careful, because too much zinc can actually cause hair loss. Zinc is also found in tahini, a main ingredient in Middle Eastern hummus. Hummus makes a great, low-fat condiment alternative to mayonnaise and is also delicious with pita bread or chips. Chocolate also contains high amounts of zinc, but don’t use it as your main source of zinc—it also has high sugar levels. Opt for dark chocolate over milk chocolate, as it’s healthier and contains more zinc.
Vitamin B is essential to healthy hair and is commonly found in supplement form for people looking to restore their hair. However, consuming these nutrients through food rather than pill form is always the best way to go, since the vitamins will be closer to their original state. There are eleven members of the B vitamin family, but the most important ones to keep in mind for hair loss prevention are B5, B6, biotin, and folic acid. Vitamin B5, or pantothenic acid, is found in sunflower seeds, corn, and crimini mushrooms. Crimini mushrooms are extremely versatile and can be used to top pizza or stuffed with other ingredients. Vitamin B6, which also fights anemia, is found in yellowfin tuna, bananas, and turkey. Your best source of biotin is in nuts, like peanuts, almonds, and Brazil nuts. High levels of folic acid are found in healthy carbohydrates like whole grain bread and breakfast cereals.
Mung Bean Sprouts
Silica isn’t a popular term in the nutritional world, but it should be: without silica, all of those vitamins and minerals you’re ingesting can’t be absorbed. Silica is found in vegetables like avocados, onions, and cucumbers. Both alfalfa and mung bean sprouts have a lot of silica in them and can be delicious. Alfalfa sprouts make excellent toppings on sandwiches and salads. Mung bean sprouts are common in Southeast Asian food. Vietnamese pho soup uses heavy amounts of raw mung bean sprouts as a garnish. Foods that are high in dietary fiber like barley, flax seeds, and even wine contain silica.
Beyond Hair Loss-Fighting Foods
These foods might slow the onset of hair loss or be useful preventative measures. But if you’ve already lost hair, you probably just want it back as soon as possible. If you want to take a pro-active role in beating your hair loss, hair transplant surgery and laser hair restoration are the most popular options for surgical hair restoration. If you’d like to learn more about your hair restoration options, we can schedule you a free consultation with a hair loss specialist in your area.