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Hair Loss Nutrition

Could something as basic as hair loss nutrition really contribute to excess shedding of hair? Does nutrition have an important role to play in helping hair to regrow?

Problems caused by modern diets

Modern diets can be blamed for a number of nutritional deficiencies that may contribute to hair loss.

  • Refining of whole grains reduces the B vitamin content.
  • Overcooking of vegetables destroys B vitamins.
  • Most people have a lack of raw leafy greens in the diet.
  • The vitamins that have been ingested are directed to aid in the digestion of excess refined carbohydrates such as sugar and white flour that are deficient in B vitamins.
  • Stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine and alcohol rob the body of vital nutrients.
  • High levels of cholesterol are linked with the production of DHT which is a major contributor to male pattern type baldness.
  • Excessive salt intake may influence hair loss due to its tendency to accummulate in tissue.
  • Low fibre intake inhibits the digestion process thus reducing the bodys ability to pass nutrients into the blood stream.

These nutritional inadequacies affect all aspects of health and well-being but do they have any relevance to hair loss specifically?

The answer is yes - poor nutrition can cause hair loss because the body will ration out nutrients in the order of vital organs first, and hair last. Improved nutrition will not result in new hair growth, but it will minimize shedding and support other treatments that encourage regrowth.

Nutritional tips to put things right:

Eat adequate amounts of protein

Protein is composed of amino acids that are essential for the body to build new cells, including hair. Five amino acids are particularly relevant to hair growth - cystine, cysteine, methionine, arginine and lysine.

A consistently inadequate level of protein intake can cause growing hairs to move into the resting phase with shedding occurring a few months later.

It follows therefore that adequate amounts of protein rich food should form part of your daily diet. The best sources of dietary protein include lean meats, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, soy, nuts, seeds and grains.

You should get at least 15% of your daily calories from protein-rich foods.

Eat appropriate levels of useful carbohydrate

Carbohydrates provide energy for activity and help in the growth of body tissues, including hair. They are a major source of the B vitamins that are so vital to healthy hair.

We have already established the problems associated with the over-refining of nutritional carbohydrates, therefore you should place an emphasis on consuming non-refined carbs such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, brown rice and potatoes.

You should get about 55-60% of your daily calories from the carbohydrates found in these foods.

Achieve a healthy balance of dietary fats

Fat is utilized in energy production and can be obtained from both animal and plant foods.

For many years, fat derived from animal sources has been viewed as the cause of numerous health problems. More recently, views have emerged suggesting that the negatives attached to fat consumption may have been exaggerated.

The truth is, your body needs sufficient levels of fat to maintain good health. You should plan your diet on the basis that fat should be obtained from a mixture of lean animal and plant sources.

You should get about 25-30% of your daily calories from these sources.

Achieve the right nutritional balance

The amount of each food group you eat depends on your age, sex, state of health, exposure to physical activity and a host of other factors. If you wish to research this area further, you could refer to sources such as the Food and Nutrition Information Center.

When choosing your meals and snacks, base your choices on the following keys to healthy eating:

Variety - there is no single magic food and each offers special nutrients. You will do best by eating a variety of foods.

Moderation - Even junk food in moderation can fit into a well-balanced diet. Simply balance out excessive sugars and fats with better nutrient choices at the next meal.

Wholesomeness - Choose natural or lightly processed foods as often as possible. Natural foods usually have more nutritional value and less damaging additives.

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