Healthy hair is a great marker of overall health. Experts agree that a healthy diet with the right mix of protein, iron, and other nutrients like vitamin E, selenium, copper, and magnesium can help improve the health, look, and feel of your hair.
With genetic hair loss, you lose your hair gradually, and hair loss increases with age. Non-genetic hair loss occurs when once healthy hair suddenly and noticeably begins falling out. A typical scalp has about 120,000-150,000 strands of hair, and sheds about 50 to 100 strand per day. Most people don’t even notice that small amount.
Any vitamin deficiency will cause hair loss. At any given time, about 90% of your hair is in the growing phase. For each individual hair, this growing phase lasts 2 to 3 years. At the end of that time, hairs enter a resting phase that lasts about 3 months before they are shed and replaced by new hair. If you don’t get enough protein and nutrients in your diet, a disproportionate number of hairs may go into the resting phase.
Good vegan and vegetarian sources of iron include fortified cereals, soybeans, pumpkin seeds, white beans, lentils, and spinach. The problem with iron from non-animal sources is that the body absorbs iron less efficiently from plants. Talk with your doctor about your diet and ask for an iron test so your doctor can check on whether you should consider taking an iron supplement.
You also need to take notice of food allergies. And I’m referring to about actual, blood-tested allergies to certain foods, not simply a food intolerance. When your body has a true allergic reaction, your immune system can act violently, sending signals throughout the body to ward off attacks. It is very rare, but in certain cases, these issues can contribute to scalp problems and Alopecia Areata. If your doctor says to avoid particular foods due to true allergies, heed this advice. Common food allergies include fish, shellfish, dairy, soy, wheat, peanuts and tree nuts such as almonds, brazils, cashews and walnuts.
Do you feel your diet effects your hair growth or loss? Share your story in the comments below.