Our diet affects how our body works from the inside, but also affects how we look on the outside: Our skin, nails, and the scalp.
As the scalp is composed of millions of hairs, whose construction materials are metals, minerals and vitamins, easily one realizes that some components of our food are stored in our hair and affect their health.
How diet affects the scalp?
Healthy hair depends on the body’s ability to build healthy hair as well as the health of the skin and follicles. Helps the good condition of iron as well as vitamins C, B and zinc that play a role in the creation of red platelets and promote good nutrition and oxygenation of the hair.
Hair loss can be caused by severe virus diseases, diseases of the thyroid, surgery, a chronic illness, even from an extreme, unbalanced diet. The sudden reduction in energy, and in particular the proteins that take the body, which can be caused by malnutrition, strict diet and eating disorders (neurogenic anorexia etc), causing hair loss and stops further growth of hair on her head.
Good nutrition is essential for the health of hair, just as it is essential for the health of the whole body. In general, other micronutrients are antioxidants, which protect the environment of the hair, and others are structural components and contribute to their development.
What nutrients affect the nourishment of hair?
Vitamin A and carotenoids: antioxidants that produce healthy environment for the growth of hair.
Lack of vitamin A: Stops hair growth and in extreme cases leads to discoloration.
Contained in fatty fish, meat, milk, leafy green vegetables, carrot, apricots and peaches. Attention to large doses of vitamin supplements, because they are stored in the liver, are toxic and can cause hair loss and other serious health problems
Vitamin C: strong antioxidant and collagen ingredient that is found in all tissues of the skin.
Good sources are citrus fruits, kiwi, peppers, potatoes and seasonal vegetables.
Vitamin E: a powerful antioxidant that promotes circulation to the scalp, while it hardens the membranes of hair from the action of oxidants.
In good quality oils, seeds, nuts and green leafy vegetables.
Biotin (vitamin b complex): helps produce keratin, while reportedly plays a role in hair loss prevention but also in producing new hair.
In Brewer’s yeast, whole grains, egg yolks, liver, rice and milk.
Vitamin B12: essential for the health of the hair.
Good sources are lean meat, fish, poultry and eggs.
Minor but without losing sight of their role seems to be:
Niacin (vitamin B3): improves the circulation in the scalp.
Good sources are Brewer’s yeast, wheat, fish, turkey, chicken and meat.
Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5): prevents hair loss.
Good sources are wholegrain cereals, Brewer’s yeast, meat, offal and eggs yolks.
Vitamin B6: helps melanin production and prevents hair loss.
Contained in Brewer’s yeast, liver, wholegrain cereals, vegetables, giblets and eggs yolks.
Iron: metal necessary as it carries oxygen from the lungs throughout the body. Chronic iron deficiency can cause hair loss and is common in women of childbearing age, in the elderly and in people with poor diet.
Some research suggests that the strengthening of the organism with iron prevents hair loss in people with deficiency, while some research groups argue taking supplements.
Good sources are considered to be the liver, meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dried fruits and green leafy vegetables. The grant supplements should only be done with a prescription for avoiding toxicity.
Copper: prevents hair loss, as well as abnormalities in the structure and color of hair.
Contained in shellfish, liver, green vegetables, wholegrain cereals, eggs, chicken and beans.
Sulfur: essential component of hair.
Good sources are onions, garlic, eggs, asparagus, meat, fish and dairy.
Zinc: zinc deficiency can result in dry and greasy hair, hair that crumble easily and sparse hair. Also, the lack of zinc can deform the expression of some sex hormones and affect the health of the hair.
Contained in seafood and shellfish, red meat, sunflower seeds, Brewer’s yeast and spinach. The massive taking supplements can reduce absorption of copper, which also is associated with hair loss.
Finally, important for the health of the skin layers are the essential fatty acids Omega-3 and Omega-6 as they have a key role in reducing inflammation and protecting membranes. The essential fatty acids found in good quality oils, nuts, fatty fish and soybeans.
What is recommended?
A diet that is varied and rich in fresh vegetables and fruits and seeds, oils, fatty fish and lean meats is desired for hair health.
The Mediterranean diet contains all of the nutrients mentioned above, while the deficiencies and shortcomings, especially for metals, are rare.
This diet is considered most important for the prevention of several chronic diseases. As most chronic diseases affecting the health of the scalp, following the Mediterranean diet seems to play a role both now and in the future.
If you are experiencing problems with your scalp, you probably need to get some food supplements. Taking supplements should be done by expert medical staff monitoring in doses that do not exceed the recommended, especially if other health problems exist.