Can a healthy diet control hair loss
Nov, 29 2019 | By Dr. Sangay Bhutia (Hair Transplant Specialist in Delhi)
We are what we eat. That is the old saying we have been brought up on. But is that true? What role does diet play in our wellbeing? Is diet the only contributor? What are the other variables? And when it concerns our looks, especially hair loss and balding, can our dietary practices help? These and a lot many questions should be considered if you are experiencing hair loss: especially if it is premature. So let's dive right in.
Our lifestyles today are determined by not us alone. There are social pressures that we adhere to. So an extra drink or that cheesy pizza slice – no matter how much we resist – often lines our stomach. And not just that, eating out, trying new cuisines, street food, weekend parties, and canned food, all have become an intrinsic part of our day-to-day. In addition, tobacco consumption, drug abuse, alcohol, and smoking – make a good recipe for disaster.
People today – especially the youth – are spending hours binge watching films and shows, with fast food as an accompaniment. A sedentary lifestyle with lack of exercise and nourishment has become the order of the day. It is no surprise then, that people as early as in their late twenties or early thirties are experiencing premature balding and hair loss in addition to other health issues like obesity, back and neck pain, diabetes, and sometimes even heart disease. Apart from genetics, lifestyle and diet, it has been concluded, is a major reason for the growth of this trend.
But the question is: can a healthy diet control hair loss and premature balding? To answer this question, let’s try and understand some of the reasons for hair loss.
One of the most important and recognisable reasons for hair loss is genetics and family history. If your parents or grandparents have experienced pattern baldness, chances are that you might follow suit. Another reason could be hormonal imbalances, crash dieting, sudden illness, or a medical condition. Over and above, stress, side effects of medicines, lifestyle, can all potentially be reasons for hair loss and balding.
There is growing consensus among experts on how a healthy diet coupled with lifestyle choices can arrest the problem. However, it is important to find the right balance. And for this very reason, expert advice is supremely important.
So for general well being and hair loss in particular, what constitutes a healthy diet? Our body is a complex whole. To function at its optimum, it needs a good mix of minerals, vitamins, iron, complex carbohydrates, and a balance of proteins. Often, people think that a mix of fruits and vegetables constitutes a healthy diet. However, it does not necessarily includes all elements required for hair growth. For example, ferritin deficiency impacts the growth of hair cells, and red meat is very rich in ferritin. But vegetarians need not worry, food rich in proteins such as milk, curd, yogurt, cheese, nuts, lentils can cure that deficiency.
Often nutritional deficiencies reflect on the health of our hair, so if your body is deficient in protein then your hair will look weak and dull. Iron and zinc deficiency can weaken your hair as well and lead to hair loss. So we must listen to our bodies and read any signs of deficiency early. A lot of people experience hair loss because of iron deficiency or anaemia, a condition wherein the body doesn’t have enough iron to make red blood cells. Red blood cells carry haemoglobin to various parts of the body. When the body doesn’t have enough red blood cells, the available supply of haemoglobin is used for essential functions, and hair follicles are ignored, leading to hair fall. Similarly, hair fall can also be caused by lack of protein, which is the structural component of hair. Lack of protein in your diet can lead to hair going into the ‘resting phase’ and beginning to shed.
The good thing about nutritional deficiency related hair loss, however, is that, once people start eating a healthy, nutritious diet, it can help restore their hair and general well being.
Suggestions for a healthy diet includes green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, beetroot that are packed with minerals and fibres. Foods rich in protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and folic acids should become part of your everyday diet. But, if you continue with a sedentary lifestyle, then diets don’t take you very far. A healthy diet should be accompanied by a healthy lifestyle.