If there’s one problem that each and every woman has faced at some time or the other, then it has to be hair loss. Not only is this problem extremely common, but it is also one that can cause serious stress and make you try innumerable things in the hopes of shooing the problem away. But what if you were to find out that the main reason for hair loss could actually be very closely related to the food you eat, and that there could be certain foods in your very diet that could actually be causing or even aggravating the hair loss.
Even though this problem sounds extremely scary, the good news is that, because this problem is related to your diet, it can be controlled and even repaired to a great extent, by simply avoiding certain foods that cause hair loss, and including more of the ones that increase hair growth. To give you a better idea of what we mean, we spoke to nutritionist and diet coach, Ryan Fernando to walk us through the relation between food and hair loss as well as tell us exactly the kinds of foods that cause hair loss. Read on to find out all the deets…
What is the relation between food and hair loss?
If you are wondering how exactly what you eat affects your hair and how eating certain foods could be the reason why you are losing so much hair, then here’s what Ryan has to say, “The human body is made up of cells and each cell has a turnover rate, meaning that it has a shelf-life. After a certain number of days, weeks or months, those cells in the human body begin to die. So in this way, human hair has a growth cycle phase called anagen and it lasts for 60 months or five to six years, after which the root will fall out. During this growing period, it is very important that you eat what is known as the basic building blocks or raw material for the cells in your hair. If your food contains the right amount of protein, carbohydrates, fatty acids and vitamins and minerals, then you meet the prerequisite amount of raw materials for the growth of hair.
But since hair is actually a dead matter, caring for it from the outside by using products that contain vitamins and minerals, vitamin C, amino acids won’t really show any results because the follicle is dead and the rejuvenation of cells is not possible. Therefore, you need to regress and reverse to the time when the hair is growing out of the follicle and give the best quality food to your body.”
Foods that cause hair loss
Now that you know the relation between food and hair loss, here are five common types of foods that cause hair loss and should be avoided as far as possible according to Ryan Fernando.
“Sugar drastically affects hair loss because it affects the human body from the inside and serves as a free radical. The free radicals attack the body and create a lot of internal damage. Sugar also accelerates your ageing process and increases insulin resistance, which creates a lot of hormonal imbalance. All these factors end up having an indirect effect on the quality of the cell production in your body. This ends up affecting your hair growth and cellular health”, explains Ryan. To combat this issue, it is very important to keep cut out sugar and increase antioxidant-rich foods like lemon, oranges, etc.
Frequent binge drinking might sound like a lot of fun, but it could be one of the sneaky reasons why you are noticing so much hair fall. Ryan says, “Alcohol is another form of pure sugar and it works by going straight to your stomach and eroding your intestinal lining. This in turn reduces the effects of vitamins, minerals, nutrients and micro-organisms that live in your intestine. Consuming copious amounts of alcohol results in malnutrition and malabsorption of these nutrients, which will, in turn, reduce the quality and growth of your hair.”
3. Junk foods
Who does not love a quick take-away dinner, simply because it’s cheap and convenient? Junk food comes from two perspectives – it is either created very fast and very cheap. Or it is made using really cheap quality and poorly sourced ingredients. A lot of restaurants produce food that is junk, not organic and contains a lot of pesticides, insecticides, sugar and oil. These are not the raw materials your hair follicles are asking for. Your hair follicles need proteins and fats that are of good quality and have a high biological value – basically good fatty acids and amino acids.
4. A low protein diet
As we know, hair is made up of a protein called keratin and if you further break keratin, it is made up of amino acids. We get amino acids from the protein we eat. So, when someone consumes a low protein diet, the human survival genes kick in and one of the first things your body does, is to forgo the nutrition that it is diverting towards skin and hair. This means your hair stops getting the vitamins and nutrients from the food you eat and eventually starts to fall out.
5. High glycemic index foods
High glycemic index foods mainly mean foods that are high in sugar. To be more precise, high glycemic index foods are those foods that release high amounts of sugar into your body at one go. These foods have an indirect impact on high free radical damage. High sugar also attacks the carbohydrates, RBCs and WBCs in your blood and increases free radicals. If this affects your body regularly in high quantities, then obviously, it stunts your hair growth to a large extent.
FAQs about hair loss
Q. How can eating the right foods regrow lost hair?
A. Is it possible? While regrowing lost hair may not exactly be possible with food, eating a balanced diet definitely prevents the quality of your hair from deteriorating. In the words of Ryan Fernando, “The first strategy is to eat a balanced diet with a lot of natural fruits and vegetables and less processed chemicals. Secondly, be aware of the kind of food you are putting into your body. To improve your hair strength, start with improving the quality of protein in your diet. Research has shown that certain marine-based foods like fish and seaweed are known to have compounds in them, known as amino acids, that improve the construct or provide the raw material for building your hair”, explains Ryan.
Q. What are the nutritional supplements that can improve hair quality?
A. “Collagen supplements with grape seed extracts, because it is another molecule that helps in hair growth. So, a combination of collagen, which is nothing but a protein, (it can be improved by drinking bone broth soup and also gelatinous foods). This delivers a good amount of protein, that helps in delivering good quality hair. But since sweets with gelatine like jelly is riddled with sugar, it is advisable to consume gelatine in a savory form rather than sweet.”