Best Foods to Help Prevent Hair Loss
The health of our hair is mostly an inside out approach. While losing a couple of strands is normal, when our hair starts to fall or shed in bunches, it mostly means an underlying nutrient deficiency or lifestyle factors like excessive stress, poor sleep or habits like smoking and drinking. Many times, the condition of our hair and skin can also be an indication of our inner body state. Hence, nutrition plays a pivotal role in reversing hair loss.
Here are my top picks when it comes to foods that prevent and help manage hair fall:
- Curry leaves: A common spice in the Indian kitchen that is great for general health, particularly hair. It serves as a rich source of beta-carotene, proteins, iron, calcium, vitamin C and phosphorus. Not only do curry leaves prevent hair fall, but they also prevent premature greying.
Best consumed: Curry leaves can be added as a tempering to a variety of dishes, chutneys, or buttermilk. A few leaves can also be added to your daily vegetable juice or chewed as is.
Curry leaves are also an excellent superfood for topical application of the hair. This is why most Ayurvedic and herbal hair oils will have this powerful leaf in its ingredient list. Try this magic hair oil, which has worked wonders for many!
- Beetroot: A great root vegetable, beetroot can boost blood circulation towards the scalp thanks to the presence of nitric oxide, which acts as a vasodilator. It also helps in fighting free radical damage by providing antioxidant support. Oxidative stress is one of the primary causes of hair fall.
Best consumed: Beetroots can be consumed as a juice, soup, in a salad, in the form of roasted vegetables or a stir fry! Try Beetroot Poriyal (South Indian Stir Fry).
- Protein-rich foods: Keratin is the key structural protein that our hair is made up of. However, both over-consumption and under-consumption of protein can lead to hair fall. Ensure that you include good quality and quantity of proteins in your diet.
Best consumed: The combination of rice and lentils is a perfect source of protein, and it can do wonders for the hair. Other sources of protein-rich foods are nuts, seeds, organic and hormone-free eggs, chicken and fish. These foods are also rich in biotin (vitamin B7), which is another essential nutrient for hair health.
Try this Natural Protein Booster or protein and biotin-rich, Hummus! Hummus is rich in vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin B7, vitamin E, vitamin C, zinc, iron and protein, making it great for the overall health of one’s hair, skin and immune system.
- Iron-rich foods: If the red blood cell count or haemoglobin is low in our body, the chances are that we may suffer from hair fall. Thus, one should look at including iron-rich foods like dates, nuts and seeds, garden cress seeds, moringa, spinach, lentils and lemons in the nutrition plan.
Best consumed: Iron-rich foods are best consumed in combination with vitamin C. For e.g., sprinkling lemon juice over green leafy vegetable dishes. Another point to be noted is caffeine and tannins inhibit iron absorption. So, it is best to maintain a gap between meals and tea/coffee.
- Onions: Onion contains catalase, an enzyme that not only prevents hair fall but also premature greying. Onion is also rich in sulphur which is the main ingredient of melanin.
Best consumed: Drinking onion juice, or having it as a part of a salad is the best way to consume onions. Its juice can also be directly applied to the hair.
Having said this, there is no magic food or supplement that can stop hair fall. The approach towards addressing hair fall has to be holistic in nature; ensuring we cover all aspects of nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress, and keeping a check on the number of chemicals in day-to-day items that we are exposed to.
Also watch: Simple Tips for Healthy Hair & Scalp
My name is Luke Coutinho. I am neither a God nor a Guru. I am not a healer or a doctor or a cult leader. I am Luke Coutinho and I practice in the field of Integrative Lifestyle Medicine and Life Coaching. When one hears the word “medicine”, one immediately thinks of the pharmaceutical world, allopathy, chemotherapy, radiation, antibiotics and other drugs used by conventional doctors and medicine. I am not a practitioner of Alternative Medicine either.