Here’s the science-backed nutrition that could help save your hair
Noticing more than the usual amount of strands in your bath drain? If so, you’re not the only one.
In the US alone, there’s somewhere around 80,000,000 men and women that gradually experience some form of pattern baldness, and this doesn’t even include those with conditions like diabetes, vitamin deficiencies, autoimmune disorders, or even things like stress and poor sleeping habits.
But even though the thought of dealing with thinning hair and bald spots can be a major downer, don’t throw in the towel just yet: there’s evidence showing that eating certain foods can actually beef up your puny hair.
By adding the following hair-promoting and nutrient-rich foods into your daily diet, you could very well see major improvements in just a few weeks.
Hair and nails are made of protein fibers, so if you want to keep growing new strands and maintain the ones you have, you’ll need to eat protein. Since hair follicles are mainly made up of protein, not getting enough protein in your diet can be a cause of hair loss.
Protein is also necessary for producing keratin, which is an important component to the hair’s makeup.
Salmon and tuna would be good examples of healthy hair-friendly proteins, as these foods have been shown to boost hair health by having high omega-3 fatty acids and other vitamins. Eggs also provide a rich source of protein and Biotin, which are both essential nutrients for hair growth.
Meat is another great source of protein, which is important for strong, healthy. Red meat is particularly rich in an easily absorbable form of iron, which is believed to aid hair growth.
Another excellent type of protein to add to your diet is collagen peptides. Derived from pasture-raised cows, collagen peptides contain the same amino acids as the proteins found in hair, skin, nails, bones, joints, and cartilage.
Taking a quality protein shake mix is an easy way to get a healthy dose of protein on the go and without hassle.
When it comes to combating and preventing hair loss, zinc is one of the best weapons to have in your arsenal. According to research, people suffering from alopecia have been shown to have significantly lower levels of zinc compared to healthy individuals.
Further research has shown similar findings. Among the 312 participants with hair loss in this study, all had much lower levels of zinc when compared to those with full hair. This was true no matter the cause or type of hair loss for each individual participant.
So luckily, supplementing with zinc and getting plenty of zinc-rich foods into your diet can be a simple and easy way to really put a curb on your hair loss. So what foods contain the most zinc?
At the top of the list is oysters, which contain more zinc than any other food source. Other good zinc-laden foods include spinach, walnuts, eggs, green peas, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, oatmeal, and chickpeas.
Certain oils, such as rosemary, coconut and pumpkin seed oils, can act like kryptonite to your hair loss. Research has shown that men who took 400 mg per day of pumpkin seed oil versus those who took a placebo saw a 405 increase in hair growth.
Using oils topically can also be very effective. Using coconut oil on your hair can actually prevent protein loss, while rosemary oil has amazingly been shown to produce effects similar to that of minoxidil, without the side effects.
One recent research study demonstrated hair growth in subjects taking a supplement containing laminaria japonica (a type of brown seaweed) and cistanche tubulosa (which is a plant found in traditional Chinese medicine). Volunteers saw 27% increase in thickness of hair, and a 13% increase in hair volume over a 16 week period.
The ingredients were also found to be effective in treating dandruff and inflammation of the scalp.
Honey can be a great tonic for the scalp and prevent hair loss when applied topically. There was one study in particular where patients with a scalp condition known as seborrheic dermatitis (which has symptoms like itching, flaking, and hair loss) were treated with honey diluted with 10% water directly to the scalp.
This treatment was applied every other day for a four-week period, after which an improvement in hair growth was noted.
Seeds are high in nutrients and are fairly low in calories. These nutrients are important for hair growth, such as selenium, zinc, and vitamin E.
Just a one ounce serving of sunflower seeds will provide nearly half of your daily vitamin E requirements. They also contain a variety of hair-healthy B vitamins.
Additionally, some seeds such as flaxseeds or chia seeds also contain omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, just two tablespoons ground flaxseed provide more omega-3 fatty acids than half of a 356g salmon fillet.
Keep in mind that flaxseeds contain a form of omega-3 fatty acids that the body does not use as efficiently as those found in fatty fish. They are nevertheless a wonderful addition to your diet.
Consuming a mix of seeds is the best way to get the most nutrients.