Article by Tina Christoudias – Clinical Dietitian (BSc., MBA, R.D.USA)
With the arrival of autumn, many of us notice an increase in hair loss. It is normal for this time of year, but there are specific nutritional recommendations that we can follow in order to avoid increased and unnecessary hair loss.
There is still a lot of research that needs to be done in order to assess which vitamins and minerals affect the hair specifically, however, according to the Mayo Clinic and other recent studies, nutrition plays an important role in the health of our hair.
What should we eat in order to have healthy hair?
Protein – It has been proven that the essential amino acid l-lysine is associated with hair loss. In other words, people that supplement their diets with this amino acid experience less hair loss. We can find l-lysine in any food that contains protein such as meat, chicken, fish, eggs, legumes, nuts, and seeds. For those that don’t eat enough of the above foods such as vegetarians and athletes that have a higher requirement for protein, l-lysine can also be taken as a supplement. For adults above 13 years old, 12mg/kg/day is recommended. (Always seek a doctor’s supervision before beginning any l-lysine therapy).
Silicon – Some research from the University of Cincinatti, the Rayne Institute, and the St. Thomas hospital in London discovered that silicon increases the thickness, elasticity, and strength of hair. It is found in foods such as non-alcoholic beer and green beans.
Vitamins A and E – Vitamin A helps to produce a certain liquid which moisturizes the scalp and hair. With a decreased vitamin A intake, our hair becomes dry and it can break more easily. Foods rich in vitamin A include carrots, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, dairy products, and meat. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that improves blood circulation. This in turn carries more oxygen to the scalp. Foods rich in vitamin E include milk, nuts, and leafy vegetables.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) – Vitamin B3, like vitamin E, improves blood circulation. Foods rich in this vitamin include wheat germ, chicken, and fish.
Inositol – This is a carbohydrate that protects the root of the hair from damage and promotes hair growth. It is found in organ meats, bananas, brown rice, and raisins.
Just because the fall has arrived doesn’t mean we need to worry about our hair falling out. In general, a balanced diet improves the inner and outer health of hair. So, let’s eat well for strong and shiny hair!