Our eating habits directly influence the health of our hair. A deficiency of vitamin F (essential fatty acids), for example, causes a disruption in the keratin process of the scalp by stimulating the appearance of dandruff. Calcium deficiency causes hair to turn brittle, and lack of vitamin H, part B complex, alters the hair growth cycle by increasing the duration of the natural fall of our strands. These are just some examples of how the hair depends on sufficient amounts of nutrients to keep moisture and cohesion between its cells, giving them a healthy look.
A healthy and shiny hair depends on vitamins and minerals found in many foods. Your diet should be rich in protein (meat, fish, eggs, yogurt), vegetables and fruits, oleaginous seeds (almonds, walnuts, cashews), legumes (beans, peas, lentils) and whole grains (oats, flax, rye).
More critical than ingesting large amounts of a particular food, or vitamins such as zinc and copper, is to seek synergy between all the vitamins and minerals. The ideal diet should be as varied as possible, by rotating between different foods, to ensure that you are consuming sufficient amounts of all nutrients.
Any factor that reduces the levels of these nutrients in the body will result in changes in the strands. The hair can undergo various changes in terms of structure, color, consistency or appearance, in addition to possible fall-out, culminating in the destruction of the hair follicle.
Fruits and vegetables are must-haves for everyone, but sometimes, just relying on these ingredients is still not enough to obtain the required daily amount of vitamins for our body. In this case, your doctor may prescribe a pill or capsule that has in its formula a variety of vitamins.
Top Foods to Eat
A whole food, nutrient-rich diet is crucial to supporting healthy hair growth. There are food choices that can help to fend off hair loss, but these are some of my personal favorites:
Organic foods — Choose these foods because they’re free of chemicals. Chemicals can act as endocrine disruptors interfering with hair growth.
Pumpkin seeds — Pumpkin seeds are one of the top foods high in zinc, which is necessary for healthy hair health. Research has also shown that a zinc deficiency is linked to hypothyroidism and hair loss.
Wild-caught fish — Wild-caught fish like salmon are high in omega-3 fats, which decrease inflammation while supporting hair growth and hair thickening.
Green tea — Green tea helps promote detoxification and contains antioxidants that are essential to hair growth. It also may stop the conversion of testosterone into DHT.
Super seeds — Chia, flax and hemp seeds are high in fiber and healthy fats that can help aid hair growth.
Bone Broth — High in protein, collagen, and amino acids, bone broth the perfect food for encouraging healthy hair growth.
Top Foods to Avoid
Trans fatty acids — Unhealthy fats like trans fatty acids have been shown to increase inflammation and production of DHT, which can cause hair loss. Stay away from hydrogenated oils like corn oil and soybean oil, which are loaded with trans fats.
Sugar — Sugar plays a role in hormonal imbalances, contributes to insulin resistance, increases DHT and causes inflammation, all of which can lead to hair loss.
Processed foods — Foods that are highly processed are often loaded with unhealthy fats, sugar, and sodium, so they’re very counterproductive to healthy hair growth.
Alcohol — Alcohol can increase inflammation and cause liver toxicity, leading to hair loss. Heavy drinking, as well as smoking, have both been linked to increased risk of hair loss.
Caffeine — In small amounts, organic coffee and tea can be beneficial to health, but you don’t want to overdo it because too much caffeine can cause dehydration, hormone imbalances, and production of DHT.
Top Hair Loss Remedies: Supplements
B-Complex vitamins (1 tablet daily): B vitamins aid in healthy stress management. Biotin or B7 helps to thicken your hair naturally, and vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) supports your adrenal glands.
Zinc (8 milligrams daily for women/11 milligrams daily for men): One of the signs of a zinc deficiency is hair loss. Zinc also boosts your immune system and helps repair your gut.
Multi-Vitamins Complex for Hair, Skin, Nail. There are excellent formulas to helps to supplement what it's necessary for your Hair, Skin, Nails.
Protein Powder from Bone Broth (1–4 servings daily depending on body weight and individual needs): You can also get your daily dose of bone broth from a protein powder. Bone broth powder is rich in protein, collagen, gelatin, glucosamine, chondroitin and key minerals often missing in the average diet. These vital nutrients support and promote healthy hair growth as well as a wide range of additional health benefits.
Fish oil (1,000 milligrams daily): Fish oil helps reduce inflammation and thicken hair.
Ashwagandha (500 milligrams daily): Adaptogen herbs like ashwagandha help your body adapt and deal with stress, balance hormones and reduce cortisol levels (also known as the aging hormone), which all help encourage healthy hair growth.
Rhodiola (500 milligrams daily): Another excellent adaptogen herb to fend off stress and foster hair growth.
Top Essential Oils for Hair Grow
Rosemary is one of the top essential oils to enhancing hair thickness and growth. Rosemary oil is believed to increase cellular metabolism that stimulates hair growth. Research published in 2015 shows that Rosemary oil appears to work as well as minoxidil, a conventional hair loss treatment.
Rosemary essential oil has been shown to thicken hair, you can rub rosemary essential oil into your scalp 20 minutes before going into the showering. Essential oils of lavender, clary sage and cypress may also improve hair health.
In a study done at the University of Maryland, they took 86 people who were experiencing hair loss (alopecia areata an autoimmune disease) and had them massage their scalps with essential oils including lavender oil. They did this daily for 7 months, and at the end, those who used essential oils daily noticed significant hair regrowth.
Lavender, thyme, cedarwood, sage, and peppermint are other great options that may help increase scalp circulation. One recommendation to stimulate new hair growth is to combine three to four drops each of peppermint, rosemary, and sage in one tablespoon of olive oil (I also recommend coconut oil or jojoba oil). Then you just massage the mixture gently into the area(s) of concern one to two times each day.
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