First of all, why are they called superfoods?
Do they have some kind of superpower?
Yes, they do!
Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines superfoods as foods rich in compounds considered beneficial to a person’s health.
In this article, I will tell you exactly what superfoods are beneficial to your hair.
When I started doing research for this article, I found some staggering statistics.
I found that more than 80% of men suffer from significant hair loss during their lifetime.
Moreover, almost 50% of women have their hair thinning and falling through their lifetime.
The causes of that can be:
- Hereditary reasons
- Psychological reasons.
If you, man or woman, are looking forward to preventing hair loss and not look like a peeled garlic one day in the future; then this article is for you.
Now, for the million-dollar question, what food should you eat to prevent hair loss?
1. Sunflower Seeds
2. Flax seeds
9. Red Bell Pepper
13. Lean Ground Beef
14. Lean Poultry
16. Greek Yogurt
18. Bok Choy
Before getting deeper into how these foods make your hair healthy and strong, let me
ask you this question…
What are the essential nutrients for healthy hair?
Your hair needs nutrients (Minerals and Vitamins) to be strong, healthy, and thick; these nutrients are:
Keratin (Protein that composes the hair structure)
Biotin (Promotes hair growth)
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
You will find that every food includes at least one or two of the mentioned nutrients.
Now, let’s dive in.
1. Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are rich in pantothenic acid, or Vitamin B5.
Pantothenic acid promotes hair growth and blood flow to the scalp.
The oxygenated blood then nurtures the hair follicles on the scalp (Hair follicles grow the hair), preventing hair loss.
According to a report published by The Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, deficiencies in pantothenic acid are directly connected to hair loss.
Sunflower seeds are rich in Vitamin B5; only one ounce, equivalent to 28 grams, provides 20% of your DV of Vitamin B5.
Other sources for Vitamin 5 can be:
· Grains (Cereals)
2. Flax seeds
Flax seeds promote hair growth; this is due to their rich content of Omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3 fatty acids reach the scalp and the hair shaft and nurture the hair follicles.
Omega-3 fatty acids also prevent hair loss by adding elasticity and preventing hair breakage.
The human body is a miracle; it can produce Vitamin D when the skin is exposed to sunlight, strengthening and increasing bone mass.
But the human body can’t derive the creation of these fatty acids on its own from sunlight.
You will have to derive these healthy fatty acids from what you eat, and Flax seeds are a great healthy option.
Other sources for Omega-3 Fatty acids are:
- Plant Oils (Flaxseed oil, Soybean oil, and Canola oil)
- Nuts and seeds (Such as flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts)
- Fortified Foods (Such as certain brands of eggs, yogurt, juices, milk, and soy beverages)
These sources are according to the NHS
Nuts are excellent sources for many essential nutrients that promote hair growth and prevent hair loss; these nutrients are:
• Vitamin E.
• Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.
As you can see, nuts are rich in essential nutrients that your body needs but cannot synthesize.
Biotin, also known as vitamin B7, can enhance hair health by stimulating keratin production, thus decreasing hair loss.
Vitamin E maintains hair growth and supports a healthy scalp because it has natural antioxidant effects.
These antioxidant effects reduce the damage to the hair follicles in a person’s scalp.
This is by reducing the amount of oxidative stress, which contributes to hair loss prevention.
As you can see, nuts can maintain healthy hair, preventing it from falling.
Salmon is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids.
As I’ve discussed before, Omega-3 fatty acids prevent hair loss by adding elasticity to the hair, thus preventing hair breakage. It also keeps the hair shiny and full.
Some skin conditions, including seborrheic dermatitis and folliculitis, cause the scalp skin to be inflamed. This inflammation can result in hair shedding.
Omega-3 fatty acids oppose the inflammation because it is anti-inflammatory, preventing the hair from falling all over the place
Oatmeal is rich in Beta-glucans, which are sugar compounds.
Beta-glucans are the source of soluble fibers.
Soluble fibers take part in reducing the high cholesterol levels and enhancing the skin conditions of the scalp.
Beta-glucans also mediate inflammatory responses that can result in hair shedding if not treated.
Moreover, they stimulate tissue repair and cellular growth, and both processes are essential for healthy scalp and hair loss prevention.
Other sources for Beta-glucans:
• Barley fiber.
• Oats and whole grains.
• Reishi, maitake, and shiitake mushrooms.
These other sources are according to Healthline.
Chicken is rich in Arachidonic Acid.
In a study conducted by the Annals of Dermatology on “The Role of Arachidonic Acid in Promoting Hair Growth,” it was proved that Arachidonic Acid, also known as Omega-6 fatty acid, can make the hair thick and healthy while stimulating hair growth, resulting in hair loss prevention while aging.
Other sources for Arachidonic Acid:
• Dairy Foods
Guava is rich in Vitamin C.
Vitamin C prevents hair from becoming brittle and fragile.
Vitamin C creates a protein called collagen.
This protein helps with hair growth and regeneration as it is a natural antioxidant that neutralizes the free radicals that damage the hair follicles and cause hair loss, according to Dr. Anzelone at NUTRAFOL.
Carrots do not just maintain your eyesight; they can also benefit your hair.
Carrots are rich in Vitamin A, so as are potatoes.
Vitamin A is the growth vitamin for body cells; all body cells need it for growth, including hair cells.
In addition, vitamin A keeps the hair healthy and moisturizes the scalp by promoting sebum formation (An oily substance) by the skin glands, according to an article by Healthline.
9. Red Bell Pepper
Red Bell Pepper is very rich in Vitamin C.
Red Bell Pepper can provide you with more than your DV of Vitamin C, only through just a half of a medium red bell pepper pack.
Here is an interesting study:
A group of women suffering from thinning hair was given an oral supplement of Vitamin C to see whether it will strengthen and thicken their hair again.
The study has shown that the oral supplement of Vitamin C has dramatically thickened their hair and made their scalp way healthier.
It is simple,
The healthier your scalp and the more nutrients you provide to your hair follicles, the more you prevent hair loss.
Other sources of Vitamin C:
• Brussels Sprouts.
These sources of Vitamin C are presented at the NHS.
Eggs are rich in a B vitamin called biotin.
Biotin increases the rate of hair follicles growth.
Additionally, it stimulates keratin production in hair; keratin is the structural building block of your hair.
And, the more keratin in your hair, the healthier it is, the less hair you lose.
The International Journal of Trichology has conducted a study on the “Biotin levels in Women complaining of Hair Loss,” and they have found that:
Of all the women collected with hair loss, 36% were accompanied by biotin deficiency.
Now, you might not want to skip that omelet breakfast again.
Other good sources of biotin will be:
• Lean Meats
This is according to the National Institutes of Health.
Lentils are rich in:
And the list goes on…
Lentils are also rich in folic acid; folic acid has a vital role in growing healthy cells, including hair cells.
The folic acid in the lentils restores the health of the red blood cells that supply the scalp with oxygen-rich blood.
The more oxygen-rich blood reaches the scalp, the healthier it becomes, the less you lose hair.
Other good sources for folic acid will be:
• leafy green vegetable
• Chickpeas and kidney beans.
This is according to NHS.
Oysters are crucial for hair health because of their zinc content.
Zinc aids the metabolic functions and the immune system in the body; it also has a major role in treating hair loss problems.
If you have zinc deficiency, you will even start losing hair from your eyelashes.
Zinc maintains the health and quality work of the oil glands around the hair follicles, contributing to hair tissue repair and growth.
According to this study, it was proved that zinc supplementation solves hair loss problems.
This is by simply helping the hair cells do their job more efficiently.
Other sources of Zinc will be:
13. Lean Ground Beef
According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, 4 ounces, equivalent to 113 grams, of 93%—lean beef crumbles can provide 20% of your DV of iron.
Iron promotes blood circulation, carrying oxygen to hair roots, resulting in faster and longer hair growth.
To identify the relationship between iron and hair growth, a study was conducted and published on the National Library of Medicine…
Briefly, this is how it went:
They found that the ferritin levels (Protein that stores iron in the blood) are significantly lower in patients with androgenetic alopecia (A form of hair loss in women and men), and alopecia areata (Autoimmune disorder where the immune system attacks the hair follicles)
After this discovery, it was proved that iron deficiency is linked to hair loss in both men and women (Women mostly).
Other sources of iron are:
• Red Meat.
• Dried fruits- like dried apricots.
14. Lean Poultry
At first, I did not know the difference between lean poultry (And meat) and other types of poultry and meats.
So, I did a little bit of research and found…
The only difference is that lean meat and poultry have low-fat content, simple as tossing a coin.
Now, why is it good for your hair?
They are rich in proteins that the hair needs but also have low saturated fat.
And yes, hair does need protein.
Just like your muscles, without protein, your hair will come brittle and fall more rapidly than it can grow back.
To get the protein needed for your hair, go for the lean options like:
Barley is rich in Vitamin E.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant, which has a major role in skin protection; it absorbs the ultraviolet rays coming from the sun and protects the skin cells.
Additionally, Vitamin E can repair the damages on the scalp caused by the sun by reducing the damages caused by oxidative stress.
(Oxidative stress is simply the environmental conditions that can adversely affect hair growth like the sun and the moisture).
A study was conducted on the Effects of Tocotrienol (different Vitamin E supplements) on Hair Growth.
Hair growth improvement was observed in 34% of the people supplemented with Tocotrienol.
Barley is one of the best sources of Vitamin E.
Other good sources for Vitamin E will be:
• Wheatgerm (In cereal products)
• Nuts and Seed.
• Plant Oils.
16. Greek Yogurt
Greek Yogurt is rich in essential minerals for hair growth and hair protection.
The two most valuable minerals in Greek Yogurt will be Iodine and Selenium.
Both hormones are necessary for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland that secretes the thyroid hormones.
The thyroid hormones directly regulate the hair follicles’ functions.
Selenium kills free radicals and stimulates the regeneration of the antioxidants in the body like vitamin C, which reduces the damages caused by oxidative stress.
The second mineral, Iodine, contributes to the thyroid hormones regulation, maintaining healthy hair follicles and thus a healthy and steady growth of the hairs.
A healthy scalp and hair follicles cause a healthy growth of the hairs and prevent hair loss.
One cup of low-fat Greek yogurt can provide almost 34% of your DV of Selenium, in addition to 50% DV of Iodine.
Other sources for Selenium:
• Brazil nuts
Other sources for Iodine:
• Milk (Iodine content percentages differ from one product to the other)
Halibut is rich in Magnesium.
If you never want to hear “wear a hat, the reflection is hurting my eyes,” then you should pay attention to your magnesium levels, and this is why…
If your body lacks magnesium, Calcium concentration in your body will increase, leading to higher insulin levels.
And, as you may have guessed, the higher the insulin levels in the blood, the more vulnerable your hair is to fall off, according to the Indian Dermatology Online Journal.
Due to halibut’s richness in Magnesium, so do other types of fish, it will be wise for you to add it to your diet to prevent hair loss.
18. Bok Choy
Bok Choy is super rich in iron.
When Dermatologists treat hair loss, they often observe the ferritin levels to identify what your body is doing with the iron you ingest.
After eating Bok Choy, your dermatologists will find a spike in your iron levels.
This spike will guarantee the healthy growth of your hair and prevent hair loss.
Spinach is rich in:
• Omega-3 fatty acids
Any vitamin crucial for healthy hair is included within the nutritional content of Spinach.
A gifted dermatologist named Carolyn Jacob said:
“It’s important to make sure you don’t have a lack of something in your diet that could be leading to hair loss. We check protein levels, iron, iron storage, vitamin D, and a number of other labs to make sure you don’t have deficiencies.”
Spinach is also rich in Sebum, which acts as a natural conditioner for hair.
Beets are rich in nitrates.
The magical thing about nitrates is that when they break down in your body, they significantly increase oxygen-rich blood circulation; this is according to a British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology study.
The faster circulation of oxygenated blood results in a healthier scalp and hair follicles.
This causes faster and healthier hair growth, preventing hair loss.
Other sources for nitrates will be:
What you eat defines your physical and mental health.
These superfoods listed up there can make your hair thick, strong, and shiny as you age.
Being a 55 years old doctor, I can assure you that they are all legit.
Without any kind of hair disease, your hair can become brittle and fragile as you age, this is just the way our body goes.
Supplying your body with the necessary superfoods that prevent hair loss and make it strong can be the wisest move you take right now.
See you in the next one…