I don't know about you, but I lose so much hair every day... sooooo much hair. Sometimes when I'm vacuuming, I question how I have any left on my head. When I comb through my hair after a shower or run my hands through my hair during the day, I'm typically horrified by how much falls out into my hand.
Unfortunately, as we age, our hair naturally becomes thinner. Our hair follicles go into a resting phase and the remaining hairs become shorter. Did you know that after you pass the age of fifteen, your thickest hair has come and gone? Just think... by sixteen, your hair is considered over the hill?!
But what do we do if we want to battle thinning, breaking hair? Of course, we can wash our hair less frequently to avoid over-drying our hair, but for those of us who don't love to use dry shampoo, are there any other options?
Well, the good news is that we can combat hair loss naturally by controlling and incorporating certain types of food into our diets.
Because hair follicles are made mostly of protein, it's important not to restrict protein from your diet if you're worried about hair loss. In fact, some doctors even recommend that women eat a little bit of low-fat, red meat or lean poultry like chicken or turkey a couple times a week. And did you know that our bodies absorb up to three times more iron from animal sources? Since iron is also important in combatting hair loss, eating a 4-ounce serving of lean red meat can help by providing close to 20% of our daily value of iron.
Some women have mineral deficiencies that cause hair thinning and loss. It's not uncommon for women to have a lack of something in their diets that lead to their hair loss. Spinach and other green leafy vegetables offer nutrients that our hair needs like folate, iron, and vitamins A and C. Spinach also contains sebum, which is a naturally occurring conditioner for hair.
Sunflower seeds contain vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), which helps with blood flow to your scalp. A B5 deficiency can be connected to hair loss in some women. Having just one ounce of sunflower seeds offers 20% of your daily value of B5.
Because hair loss can also be a result of inflammation that is causing hair shedding, eating foods rich in Omega-3's help because they are naturally anti-inflammatory. Salmon and cold-water fish like sardines and mackerel are all natural sources of Omega-3.
Something else I learned is that female hair loss can often be associated with insulin-resistance. Eating oats or oatmeal can combat this because they are rich in beta-glucans, a type of soluble fiber, which helps improve the body's insulin sensitivity.
Eggs are another food that can be essential for new hair growth because they contain biotin, a protein hair needs to grow. In a study done by the International Journal of Trichology, 36% of women who were experiencing hair loss were identified as having a biotin deficiency. Almonds are another good source of biotin.
Lentils contain folic acid, along with protein, iron, zinc and biotin, and folic acid is important in restoring red blood cells. Red blood cells help to supply our skin and scalp with oxygen, which is important for healthy hair.
Incorporating berries into your diet helps not only with hair growth thanks to vitamins and antioxidants, but they also help promote a healthy immune system. Additionally, vitamin C can be found in many berries, which is what your body uses to produce collagen, a strength-building hair protein.
Avocados are another green food that are good for your hair because they are full of vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids that are needed for healthier hair.
Hair loss and thinning hair is just one more thing that we have to deal with in the never-ending battle against time and age, but it's good to know that we can combat it by simply adding healthy foods to our diet that having naturally occurring vitamins and nutrients we may be lacking.