Nutrition plays an important part in hair loss, and extreme diets, rapid weight loss or poor nutrition can all result in thinning hair. There are many vitamins and nutrients that your body needs in order to produce healthy hair. If any of these are lacking, your hair shafts can become weak resulting in massive shedding of hair, also known as hair loss. Sometimes, simply altering your diet to include healthy foods can decrease the amount of shedding you experience. However, strong hair growth is also closely related to our general state of health and also to diet and fitness. A diet devoid of essential vitamins and minerals, especially protein and iron, can cause hair to fall out, become brittle or result in other hair problems.
Hair is comprised mostly of protein. To encourage hair growth, eat a diet rich in protein. This includes dairy produce, nuts and pulses (legumes). Also include sweet potatoes, artichokes, carrots, spinach, broccoli, asparagus and beetroot. Choose apricots, citrus fruits, kiwi fruit, berries and apples. Also eat plenty of oily fish and seafood.
Another important nutrient for hair health is silica; one of the most abundant minerals on earth, and also present in skin hair and nails. Silica has many important functions in the body and clinical trials have shown that silica helps to strengthen and thicken the dermis, and that silica therapy slows hair loss and the rate of graying.
Silica is found in the outer coverings of potatoes, green and red peppers, cucumbers, and also in onions and oats. Bean sprouts are also high in silica.
Vitamin E is important for healthy hair growth, and it increases oxygen uptake, which improves circulation to the scalp. Eat avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil on a regular basis.
If hair loss is due to thyroid dysfunction, eat more foods rich in vitamin A and iodine. Eat vegetables such as carrots or spinach in unrefined, cold-pressed seed oils such as flax, walnut or pumpkin seed and sea salt. Eat turnips, cabbage, mustard, soy beans, peanuts and pine nuts if there is a deficiency of iodine.
For anaemia, try adding iron-rich foods to your diet, such as egg yolks, dark, leafy green vegetables and lean red meat. Vitamin C improves the absorption of iron. Include a good serving of fruits and vegetables in your diet.
If your hair loss is caused by stress, eat more vitamin-rich foods, concentrating on vitamins C and the B group as these will boost your immunity.
Very fine and easily breakable hair may be caused by a zinc deficiency. Dry hair and an itching, flaky scalp may also be the result of zinc deficiency. Shellfish are good sources of zinc, as are red meat, pumpkin seeds, fish, egg yolks and mushrooms.