23 Foods that Prevent Hair Loss

23 Foods that Prevent Hair Loss
April 19, 2016 10:08 AM

Hair loss is analarmingly increasing problem for not just the older generations but also for teenagers and children. Our hair and hair style is a major part of our personality so hair loss or alopecia is hard to accept and deal with. In this post we shall take a detailed look at some foods that may prevent hair loss.

Contents

  1. Causes of hair loss
  2. Problems due to hair loss
  3. How to prevent hair loss?
  4. Foods that prevent hair loss
    1. Salmon
    2. Sweet potatoes
    3. Oats
    4. Strawberries
    5. Almonds
    6. Beans
    7. Spinach
    8. Eggs
    9. Apples
    10. Brussels sprouts
    11. Green peas
    12. Whole grain
    13. Sunflower seeds
    14. Carrots
    15. Broccoli
    16. Blueberries
    17. Pineapples
    18. Bell peppers
    19. Oranges
    20. Cantaloupes
    21. Tomatoes
    22. Tuna
    23. Walnuts
  5. The bottom line  

Hair loss is not only a physical problem,the stress of losing your hair can cause psychological and emotional problems as well. It’s a fact that given a choice no one would like to lose their hair. History has proven that society as a whole regard alopecia as a negative mark. While in men hair loss might be over looked or considered a part of growing old but in females’ it is considered devastating and a sign of loss of youth. Living with hair loss especially at a young age is emotionally challenging and can cause social shyness. Hair loss can be due to a spectrum of reasons and causes. While dealing with hair loss it important to tackle both the physical causes and the psychological reasons.

Causes of hair loss

Hair loss has been a problem for ages but it has reached an exceedingly high incidence in the last decade or two. Hair loss is a very serious problem not only because of the physical loss but also because it might cause low self-esteem and lack of confidence.

Medical drugs on the table

The causes of hair loss can range from anywhere between temporary hair loss due to a vitamin deficiency or to more complex health conditions like hypothyroidism. Hair loss is more common in males due to male pattern baldness. Thinning of hair is a more common complaint in women then hair loss but this does not make the problem less daunting for both the sexes (1). Following is brief overview of causes of hair loss:

  • Stress: Hair loss can be due to stress both physical (due to disease, injury or pregnancy) and emotional (job problems or marriage problems) (2).
  • Lack of proteins: Proteins are the source of nutrition and energy to the body. If there is a drop in the proteins in diet, the body ration protein by down regulating hair growth (3).
  • Genetics: Genetic can play a vital role in hair loss. Male pattern baldness is a combination of genetics and male sex hormones (4).
  • Anemia: It is one of the most common and easily fixable cause of hair loss in women aged 10 to 50. Anemia can occur due to low iron intake and that can lead to thinning and loss of hair (56).
  • Chemotherapy: Most the drugs that are used to treat cancer cause alopecia because these drugs target rapidly dividing cells like cancer cells and unfortunately hair cells (7, 8).
  • Overstyling: Excessive use of hair products and vigorous styling can damage the hair and lead to hair loss (9).

Problems due to hair loss

Hair loss is a problem but this problem can cause other serious problems. Hair loss not only affects a person physically but also physiologically. The main cause of all the problems associated with hair loss is the negativity in the attitude of society towards hair loss. Hair loss affects different people differently so you should not dismiss anyone’s distress over this. Hair loss in itself is not that big of a problem but all the hype on social media about looking perfect and flawless makes it a huge issue. Following are a few issue that can arise due to hair loss:

  • Low self-esteem: Due to the pressure of society physical beauty is one of the cornerstone ofself-esteem. Hair loss leads to low self-esteem, which can cause a drop in self-worth due to the negative opinion of the surrounding people.
  • Dissatisfied appearance: Hair helps give the face a proportional look and proper proportions give the face a better look. Loss of hair can lead to receding in hairline which causes a disproportionality in the face that causes people to be dissatisfied with their appearance.
  • Social teasing: The society as a whole takes hair loss as a joke unless it’s happening to them. People tease others with hair loss problems without even considering the affect there jabs would have on them. Hair loss is a serious problem and even if it’s only pointed out by others jokingly, it might lead to social shyness.
  • Inability of style hair: Hair and hair styles are a big part of our appearance and personality. Due to hair loss most people have to continuously wear their hair in the same style which causes boredom and displeasure with the style and look.
  • Depression: In some people hair loss can cause serious distress that can lead to depression. The distress and anxiety related to hair loss can lead to introversion. This depression mostly raises from the assumption that once they start to lose hair there is nothing they can do.

How to prevent hair loss?

Hair loss is raising problem in the world and it can cause social shyness and low self-esteem. The main reason that people with hair loss suffer from anxiety and low confidence is because they think that once they start to lose hair it can’t be stopped.

Girl with beautiful black hair

The truth is that there are many ways to deal with the problems of hair loss (10, 11). Some of the ways to deal with hair loss have been around for centuries like regular hair oil massage, while drugs like minoxidil are relatively new. The treatment of hair loss depends on the underlying cause. Temporary hair loss can be due to anemia or vitamin deficiency that can be easily treated with proper diet and vitamin supplements. Hair loss due to dryness of scalp can be treated with a combination of hair oiling and conditioning. There are also many drugs available now-a-days that can be used to treat various skin conditions that might be causing hair loss. Hair can also be transplanted and there are various methods delivering very different results

In the rest of this post we shall take a detailed look at foods, which are known to prevent hair loss.

Foods that prevent hair loss

Hair loss is a nuisance just ask anyone suffering from it. Most people with hair loss problem will try any and everything to prevent further loss of hair. One of the simplest and easiest treatment to prevent hair loss is a proper diet which contains an abundance of vitamins, minerals and proteins. A proper diet not only provides nutrition for the growth and strengthening of hair but also helps treat underlying vitamin or mineral deficiencies that might be the cause of hair loss. Following are a few foods that have proved to be helpful in preventing hair loss (12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17).  

Salmon

Salmon is a type of fatty fish that is rich in omage-3 fatty acids, proteins, amino acids, vitamins D and B12. Salmon due to its rich nutritious content is really good for skin, hair, brain and blood vessels. Omega-3 fatty acid is a polyunsaturated fatty acid that promotes hair growth (18). Salmon is also rich in many vitamins and minerals that help nourish the body and that in turn helps the growth of hair. Salmon is also good solution to problems like dry hair, hair loss and hair thinning. For maximum benefits salmon must be eaten at least twice a week.

Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a rich source of beta-carotene, iron, copper, protein and vitamin C. All these minerals and vitamins help the growth of hair by providing nourishment. However the main nutritional factor in sweet potatoes is an abundance of beta-carotene. This beta-carotene is naturally converted into vitamin A by the body and vitamin A helps repair cells including hair follicles. Vitamin A helps with growth and damage repair of hair. The best property of sweet potatoes is that they don’t loss their potency for preventing hair loss no matter how they are cooked. So enjoy your sweet potatoes boiled, grilled or baked.

Oats

Oats are cereal grains that contain zinc, copper, potassium, magnesium, iron and phosphorus, these minerals help reduce hair loss problem (19). Oats are a vital source of fiber in diet. The fibers along with vitamin B in oats helps support healthy growth of hair. Eating a bowl of oatmeal is a great way to kick start the day but even if you don’t like oatmeal there are many snacks available in market these days that are made from oats like energy bars and biscuits. Making oats a part of your daily diet is a great way to avoid hair problems.   

Strawberries

Strawberries are a beloved fruit by many but the sad part is that they’re seasonal so eat all the strawberries you can while there in stock. Strawberries are rich in vitamin C that not only helps prevent hair loss but also helps with the absorption of iron within the body. Iron helps in proper growth of hair. Vitamin C also helps solve dandruff problem that might be exaggerating hair loss. Strawberries are also rich in silica, which is a mineral well-known for its ability to prevent baldness and promote hair growth. While buying strawberries it’s important to get fresh strawberries because the fresher they are, the more nutrients they will contain (20).

Almonds

The importance of almonds in foods that should be consumed for proper hair growth cannot be emphasized enough (21). Almonds have been used for decades for treating hair related problems. Almonds are rich in magnesium and vitamin D, both these not only promote hair growth but also prevent hair loss. Deficiency of magnesium is one of the important causes of hair loss, so eating almonds regularly can help stop hair fall completely. Almonds also contain zinc and proteins. Vitamin E in almonds helps treat split ends and gives hair a health shine.   

Beans

It is difficult for vegetarians to get the adequate nutrition they need for proper growth of hair (22). But beans provide a great alternative to gain the nutrition they need. Beans are rich in vitamin E that helps repair damaged hair follicles and promote hair growth. Vitamin E helps improve blood circulation to various parts of the body including scalp, which in turn provides hair with nutrients it needs for growth. Beans also contain an abundance of antioxidants that prevent hair fall. Vitamin B and zinc are also a component of beans and help reduce hair fall. You can add any type of beans (black, soy or chickpeas) you like to your diet to help deal with the problem of hair loss. 

Spinach

Spinach is a super great superfood. Adding spinach to your diet in any form (soup, juice, salad or pasta) can lead you to lovely locks. Spinach is rich in various nutrients and antioxidants. This green leafy vegetable is a great source of iron, calcium, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin E and omage-3 fatty acid, all these vitamins and minerals help you get on the road to healthy hair. Iron helps with growth of hair and magnesium is an important secondary mineral that helps prevent baldness (21).  

Eggs

The primary building block of hair is protein, so it’s important to add sufficient quantity of protein to your diet (21). However that does not mean that you should eat a lot of meat that is high fat protein. Egg is a great source of leaner protein that helps nourish the hair for proper growth and also is good for the overall health. Egg also contains various B vitamins that help fight hair fall. Incorporating egg in your daily diet is easy and a great way to treat hair loss. Eggs can be eaten alone as boiled, baked, and fried or it can be added to numerous dishes.     

Apples

An apple a day keeps not only the doctor away but also hair loss (23). Apples are full of fibers that give strength to hair. The antioxidants in apples help fight free radicals that damage hair cells and thus prevents hair fall. Apples are also full of vitamins and minerals that help your overall health and provide hair care. If you don’t like to eat an apples alone you can add it in a fruit salad, smoothie or sauce. When buying apples try to avoid the really shiny ones because that means they have been waxed and that’s not good for health.  

Brussels sprouts

Brussels sprouts are a good source of vitamin C and vitamin K. They also contains magnesium, folate, copper and omage-3 fatty acid that helps nourish the hair and prevent hair loss. Mineral silica is often associated with hair growth and its supplements given to people that experience sever hair loss (24). But instead of silica supplements you can eat Brussels sprouts because they are an excellent source of silica. Silica helps absorb other nutrients and this lead to better nutrition for hair growth. Eating raw Brussels sprouts have more benefits then cooked. 

Green peas

Green peas contain iron and zinc that helps nourish the scalp and hair follicles for the healthy growth of hair (20). Peas contain B vitamins like Vitamin B6 and folate that help with formation of red blood cell that in turn supply nutrients to the hair for growth and strength. Vitamin C deficiency can lead to brittle hair that can easily break. Vitamin C is important for the formation of collagen (hair is made of collagen) that gives strength to hair and prevents hair fall.    

Whole grain

Whole grains are packed full of vitamin B, antioxidants and most importantly fibers. The fibers in whole grain help with the formation of hair. The antioxidants helps fight hair fall. The trace minerals in whole wheat are zinc, silica, iron, copper and magnesium. Iron helps with the growth of hair and silica helps absorb other nutrients in the body. Eating whole wheat can improve hair and overall health. Whole wheat can be incorporated in diet easily in forms of snacks made from whole wheat like biscuits and energy bars.  

Sunflower seeds

Sunflower seeds can be a little tricky to incorporate into diet but adding a small amount of them in your diet can help improve hair health (25). Sunflower seeds should not be eaten excessively because they contain a lot of calories and fat. A handful of sunflower seeds sprinkled on salads or cooked vegetables is enough to get the benefits of the magnesium, potassium, calcium and copper present in them. Sunflower seed are full of vitamin E and vitamin B that help fight hair fall. 

Carrots

Carrots are rich in beta-carotenes that help with formation of vitamin A within the body. Vitamin A is vital to promote hair growth and it also helps support the scalp. Eating carrots helps improve blood circulation that in turn helps hair to grow strong and lush (26). Carrots are a great remedy for dandruff, dry scalp and brittle hair because they are rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, folate and copper. Drinking a glass of carrot juice a day is a great way to improve hair and body health.  

Broccoli

Broccoli contains many vital nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, niacin, zinc and silica. All these nutrients help promote maintenance of hair follicles and healthy hair growth. The vitamins in broccoli help strengthen the hair at the roots. Silica helps prevent hair fall and zinc helps with new growth of hair. The antioxidants in broccoli help fight free radicals that might damage the hair. The unique fatty acid composition of broccoli helps impart luster and shine to the hair. 

Blueberries

Blueberries contain vitamin B that is beneficial for the growth of hair. Blueberries also contain a chemical compound called proanthocyanidin that promotes the growth of hair by helping with formation of keratin. Vitamin B 12 in the blueberries plays an important role in preventing premature grey hair. Blueberries contain an abundance of fibers, potassium, folate and vitamin C that not only helps improve hair growth but is also beneficial for health. 

Pineapples

The health benefits of pineapples are as amazing as its appearance. Pineapples contain plentiful vitamin C and magnesium that helps growth of hair and stops hair fall. Pineapples help hydrate the skin including the scalp that in turn provides support for healthy hair growth. Adding pineapples into your diet can help you attain glowing skin and healthy hair. You can eat pineapples alone or you can add them to your fruit salad, yogurt, and ice-cream.

Bell peppers

Bell peppers contain a large quantity of vitamin C, beta-carotene, phytochemicals and carotenoids that due to their antioxidant activity help fight hair fall. Bell peppers increase blood circulation to the scalp, which helps with the nourishment of hair follicles. They also prevent hair follicles against DHT (dehydro testosterone). The vitamin C and silica in bell peppers helps strengthen hair because of collagen formation.    

Oranges

Oranges are rich in numerous different vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, vitamin B1, folate, vitamin A, copper, calcium and potassium. We all know that oranges are a citrus fruit that is well-known for containing vitamin C. Vitamin C helps collagen synthesis that in return help with hair growth and strengthening. Oranges contain antioxidants like flavonoids that help fight off free radical and stop hair loss. 

Cantaloupes

Cantaloupes are composed of many nutrients like beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamin A, vitamin B and caffeic acid. The beta-carotene is transformed within the body into vitamin A that helps growth of health hair. Vitamin B and folate give nutrition to the hair follicles and help reduce hair fall.  

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are very nutritious fruits that pack a mage health punch. Tomatoes contain vitamin C, lycopene and proteins that helps nourish hair and prevent hair fall. The lycopene in tomatoes helps retain moisture so it can help with dry scalp and dandruff. Tomatoes contain antioxidants that helps fight cells that might damage the hair follicles and cause hair fall. The vitamin C and beta-carotene in tomatoes help supply nutrients to the scalp for hair growth. Tomatoes can be easily incorporated into diet in form of salads, sauce, and pastes or added to any dish you like. 

Tuna

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients that the body can’t produce by its self so we have to get them from external source.

Sources of omega 3 fatty acids

Tuna is chock full of omage-3 fatty acids that helps add strength and elasticity to hair. Omage-3 fatty acid in tuna acts as a natural conditioner for hair. Tuna also contains magnesium, potassium, proteins and a variety of B vitamins that play a vital role in growth of hair. It doesn’t matter if you use fresh or canned tuna because either way it’s a power food for the hair.   

Walnuts

Walnuts are full of omage-6 fatty acid and B vitamins like B6, B9 and B1, these help condition the hair for better growth. Walnuts also contain zinc, iron, healthy fat and proteins. Eating walnuts daily will not only help maintain hair growth but also helps nourish the brain. Zinc in walnuts helps deal with the problem of hair fall. But it’s important to remember that walnuts contain selenium that can be harmful in high dose, so a handful of walnuts are enough to tide you over for a week.

The bottom line  

Hair loss is a great cause of physiological stress and public shyness. Hair loss can cause a person to suffer low self-esteem and body image issues. Hair loss is becoming exceedingly common in this day and age due to all the environmental pollution and the junk food we consume instead of a proper healthy diet. There are numerous cause of hair loss ranging from stress to anemia. The treatment of hair loss should not only include medicines and home remedies but also a proper diet. There are many vitamins and minerals in fresh produce, nuts and meats that help strengthen your hair. A proper and nutritious diet can help do wonders for alopecia. Proper hair care, medicine and a good diet can not only help stop hair loss but it can also help restore shine, strength and luster to your hair. To cap it all it’s important to state that your hair or any other part of your body does not define you, you and your soul define you. Never let the society that is full of faults and flaws get you down or make you dissatisfied with yourself. Love yourself and take care of yourself just as good as you take care of the people you love. 

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Written by: Michal Vilímovský (EN)
Education: Medical student, 3rd Faculty of Medicine, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic
Article resources:

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Published: April 19, 2016 10:08 AM
Next scheduled update: April 19, 2018 10:08 AM
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