Signs of hair loss or thinning hair strike fear in the hearts of many men and women. This common problem ― more than 80% of men and nearly half of all women experience significant hair loss in their lifetime ― can begin as early as middle age.
“The average adult head has up to 150,000 hairs and loses up to 100 hairs a day, that’s why finding a few strands on your hairbrush is nothing to be alarmed about,” Dr. Steve Fallek, a board-certified plastic surgeon with offices in New Jersey and New York, tells Newsmax. “But as we age, the rate of hair growth slows so you aren’t replacing as many hairs as you were when you were younger.”
While aging and heredity are top causes of hair loss, stress, medication, thyroid disorders and even the foods you eat can affect the condition. According to Medical News Today, here are some culinary culprits:
• Simple carbohydrates. A study conducted in 2016 suggested that eating simple carbs, such as candy, cakes, and cookies, increases sebum production, an oily substance that attaches to hair follicles and harms hair health. Fallek advises adding more protein to your diet and cutting out junk food.
• Fish that are high in mercury. A 2019 case report on two women suffering hair loss found high mercury levels in their blood. The hair loss was reversed when they changed their diet. Eating fish two or three times a week is excellent for overall health, but stick to fish such as salmon and cod that are low in mercury.
• Alcohol. Hair is mainly made of protein called keratin which gives structure to your hair. Alcohol has a negative impact on protein synthesis and can lead to weak, dull hair. Experts add that excessive alcohol consumption can create nutritional imbalances that lead to follicle death.
• Diet soda. These beverages often contain aspartame which researchers say can also damage hair follicles. For many health reasons, including hair loss, it’s best to ditch the diet sodas.
• Fried foods and red meat. Some researchers have found that eating fried foods and red meat causes the overactivity of sebum and oil glands, which negatively affects hair health, according to Medical News Today.
To stimulate hair growth: Eat protein-rich foods, consume healthy fats, such as flaxseeds and walnuts, and include vitamin C-rich foods in your diet. These include leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, and strawberries.
Also, add B vitamins to your diet. Biotin is one of the best-known vitamins for hair growth, according to Healthline. It is often used in hair treatments and shampoos. “Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin that supports the growth of hair, skin and nails,” says Dr. Dendy Engelman, a board-certified dermatologist at Medical Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery, in New York, according to Prevention. Other B vitamins, such as folate and niacin, promote the growth of healthy hair. Leafy greens, whole grains, seafood, meat, and fish are food sources rich in B vitamins.
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