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