Just because hair loss is often a genetically inherited tendency doesn’t mean there’s nothing that can be done about it. In most cases, thanks to beauty of science, hair loss is a treatable condition and we’re continually learning ways to keep it at bay. When it comes to nutrition, moderation is the key and while there is no one food that can prevent hair loss, there are foods that you can avoid which would ordinarily rob the body of vital nutrients needed for healthy hair growth.
Refined carbohydrates such as cakes, biscuits and white flour are high in sugar and low in fibre which means any nutrients that have been ingested are often re-directed to facilitate the digestion of these typically nutritionally sterile foods. They could in fact also indirectly lead to hair loss as sugar is known to inhibit your ability to handle stress and stress is a major contributing factor that leads to hair loss. Switching to complex carbohydrates and high fibre options such as wholemeal flour, beans and bananas will aid digestion and improve the body’s ability to deliver nutrients to the blood stream and effectively, the hair follicles.
Consumption of high fat, fried foods and hydrogenated oils should be avoided at all costs. Studies have linked monounsaturated and saturated fat to increased testosterone levels which could potentially lead to elevated levels of DHT (a by-product that causes hair loss) while hydrogenated oils are thought to affect hair growth by suppressing essential fatty acids needed for healthy hair. Not just that, high-fat diets can lead to diabetes, coronary disease, and obesity.
When trying to avoid sugar laden foods it’s tempting to opt for the sugar free or ‘diet’ alternatives but the jury says these foods should be avoided at all costs. According to the FDA, the artificial sweetener aspartame can cause hair loss and thinning hair as well as a number of unpleasant symptoms such as arthritis, bloating, depression, impotency and sexual problems.
The growing demand for natural and organic foods isn’t without good cause. Hair loss can be triggered by certain food additives such as caramel colour, which may be processed with caustic chemicals, sulphites or ammonia. Even natural additives have been associated with hair loss.
Cochineal extract or carmine dye – a colour additive extracted from dried bugs and commonly used in fruit drinks, sweets, yoghurt and other foods – is thought to cause hair loss along with a number of life-threatening allergic reactions.
Clearly a poor diet can affect hair growth because the body will ration nutrients in a hierarchy of vital organs first and hair last, however more research is needed before these foods are indisputably linked to hair loss. Although improved nutrition alone will not prevent hair loss – unless the shedding is the direct result of nutritional deficiencies – it’s not going to do the rest of your body any harm and will undoubtedly support the proven medical hair loss treatments that stop hair loss and encourage re-growth.
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.