Is Your Diet Affecting Your Hair?

There’s no debating that the body needs food for fuel. Dr. Miguel Mascaró, founder of the Delray Beach Hair Transplant Center in Delray Beach, Florida explains the connection between your diet, the nutrients you put into your body (or don’t) and their impact on the hair.

A healthy, balanced diet is key for overall wellness, and how you feed your body can have a significant effect on the look and feel of the hair as well. There is definitely a link between diet and hair thinning or loss, and calorie restriction can lead to a condition called telogen effluvium that prompts the hair follicles to enter a prolonged resting phase before they ultimately shed. When we cut calories, our body goes into “preservation mode” and diverts nutrients to vital organs that are necessary for survival. As a result, areas like the scalp get less blood supply and nutrients. Deficiencies of vitamins A, C and E are among the leading causes of hair loss because these are important antioxidants that help prevent damage to the hair follicles.

If a full head of healthy hair is among your goals for the new year, be sure to plan your meals accordingly. Here’s a short list of hair-friendly foods to fill up on…

Iron
Iron deficiency is a major contributor to hair loss—but red meat isn’t the only way to get your daily dose. Vegetarian sources include cruciferous greens such as kale, spinach and Brussels sprouts (which deliver hefty helpings of magnesium, calcium and potassium as well). An adequate amount of iron ensures a healthy scalp environment and promotes the production of sebum that lubricates the follicles, in turn allowing them to produce strong, healthy hair.

Eggs and dairy
The hair is comprised mainly of a protein called keratin, and the body needs nutrients like vitamin B12 and omega-6 fatty acids to produce it. Eggs and dairy products are rich in both, making these foods important for a good hair day every day.

Nuts
Nuts are a wonderful snack that can benefit your body inside and out (just limit your intake as not to overload on calories). High in protein, biotin and magnesium, eat a handful here and there or sprinkle them on top of a salad to optimize scalp health and boost hair production.

Fat
Fat has been the subject of a lot of scrutiny over the past few decades, but “good” fats are finally getting credit for their health benefits again. Avocadoes, olive oil, chia seeds, oily fish (like salmon), eggs and nuts are among the best sources of the omega fatty acids our cells need to thrive. And a word about cholesterol, which many people avoid… This type of fat is necessary for the production of a variety of hormones that serve many different purposes—including hair growth.