Hair fall is a common problem that affects men and women equally. It is also one of those problems that people tend to ignore at first until they see a significant difference in their hair thickness. Although there are several external factors like excess use of chemicals, hard water and increased exposure to polluted environments that are linked with hair fall, more often hair fall is associated with poor nutrition. There is plenty evidence that associates hair fall problem with insufficient intake of micronutrients like zinc and copper. It has also been reported that people with imbalanced and unhealthy diets lacking essential vitamins during their youth suffer greatly from hair loss compared to those consuming healthy and proper diets.
So, if you want to prevent hair fall and restore hair growth, simply increase your intake of foods rich in vitamin A, E, K, B. Also, adding foods rich in minerals such as selenium, sulphur, phosphorous, magnesium, copper and zinc can further support your effort to promote hair growth.
Here are a few foods that serve as good sources of these nutrients. You can start including them in your daily diet immediately to see positive results.
1. Sulphur-rich foods: Sulphur is often called the beauty mineral as it is found abundantly in hair and nails. It is known to maintain healthy blood circulation and reduce inflammation. There are several protein sources such as meat, eggs and fish that are also a good source of sulphur. Nuts, legumes and root vegetables like onions also contain sulphur in fair amounts to boost hair growth.
2. Vitamin A rich foods: Vitamin A is essential to hair growth since it helps in keeping the scalp healthy and moisturised with the production of sebum. Good sources of Vitamin A include carrots, sweet potatoes and leafy vegetables like spinach and kale.
3. Vitamin C rich foods: Similar to vitamin A, vitamin C also serves as an antioxidant to keep your scalp healthy. It also enhances absorption of iron which is required to boost hair growth and prevent hair fall. Vitamin C is also required for the production of collagen known to support the capillaries that supply hair shaft with nutrients. Some of the good sources of Vitamin C include fruits like kiwi, oranges, papaya, strawberries, guava and blackberries as well as vegetables like broccoli.
4. Vitamin E rich foods: All nuts and seeds including almonds, pistachios, walnuts, sunflower seeds and flaxseed contain good fats and vitamin E, both of which are required for stimulating hair growth. Other sources of vitamin E include avocados, peanuts and spinach. Without sufficient vitamin E, your hair tends to lack lustre and becomes brittle over a period of time.
5. Vitamin K rich foods: Vitamin K is a powerful antioxidant. It is known to carry out regeneration of hair stands. It also plays a role is preventing calcification of the scalp. There are several sources of vitamin K rich foods including mustard greens, spinach, broccoli, kale, soybean, kiwi and peas that you can include regularly in your diet.
6. Zinc-rich foods: Deficiency of zinc is common in people who suffer from hair fall. Zinc plays a crucial role in tissue repair and growth of hair cells. It also keeps the hair follicles healthy. Although there are supplements that help resolve this deficiency, zinc is naturally found in several foods including lentils, beans, oats, spinach and pumpkin seeds.
7. Calcium-rich foods: Calcium is another mineral required to supplement hair growth and maintaining it. You can easily add small amounts of yogurt, cottage cheese from time to time to your daily diet to strengthen and promote hair growth. However, prevent over consumption of calcium to avoid calcification of the follicles.
8. Vitamin B3/Biotin rich foods: Biotin is a nutrient that is important for production of keratin, a protein found in hair strands. Naturally without biotin, you won’t have sufficient hair strands, making hair loss evident. You can find biotin in several natural foods including eggs, beans, peas, lentils, mushrooms, bananas, broccoli, nuts and seeds and avocados.
As you can see, most of these foods serve as a rich source of more than one of these nutrients essential for preventing hair fall. But if your hair fall persists, it is advisable to seek expert consultation as, sometimes, it is a combination of external and internal factors that need to be addressed for effective prevention of hair fall.
Dietician Arti Jain
Nutrition and Weight loss Consultant, Founder and Chief Nutritionist of Diet4Health
MSc (Dietetics), PG Dip(Nutrition), Diabetic Educator (USA), International Sports Nutrition (California), Genetic Diet Expert