A new study has shown that adding more fruit and vegetables, as well as other plant-based foods, to your daily diet can reduce the risk of developing diabetes by 23 per cent.
The research, which was published by the Journal of the American Medical Association in July 2019, was carried out by teams from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School in Boston, USA.
According to the study authors, people would do well to include more plant-based foods in their usual diets, though following a completely vegan diet was not examined in this particular project.
There are many benefits associated with healthy eating and including a range of different fruits and vegetables in your daily meals, including helping to prevent thinning hair from Telogen Effluvium, which can occur as a result of dietary deficiencies or certain illnesses – including diabetes. Additionally, good nutrition is important for healthy hair and maintaining the normal functioning of the hair growth cycle.
Here we look at a few hair-friendly, plant-based foods which are both delicious and nutritious…
The stereotypical millennial‘s dietary staple of avocado toast is actually a great way to introduce a number of vitamins, minerals and amino acids that are great for keeping hair healthy and helping it to shine.
As well as being a good source of vitamin E, potassium, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid and magnesium, this popular fruit is also rich in two B-vitamins: vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and vitamin B7, often known as biotin.
Vitamin B6 has been shown to aid the regulation of hormonal activity, combat fatigue and help prevent pernicious anaemia – a cause of hairloss related to certain vitamin and mineral deficiencies – and is also found in chickpeas and bananas.
Biotin, meanwhile, is a powerhouse vitamin when it comes to supporting the maintenance of normal healthy hair growth. It cannot be produced by the body so must be consumed through food – the best choice – or food supplements. Raw cauliflower, almonds, sweet potato and spinach are all great plant-based sources of biotin.
The recommended daily intake of B vitamins varies depending on the specific type. Again, it is best to check with your doctor or a professional, licensed nutritionist or dietician if you wish to establish your personal dosing requirements.
Zinc-rich foods such as blackberries, raspberries, pomegranate seeds and avocados support the normal functioning of both the hair growth cycle and the immune system.
Not only can a lack of zinc lead to hair loss, but it can leave you more open to catching a cold or flu, as well as developing hormonal imbalances and/or acne.
In the UK, the daily recommended intake for zinc is 7 milligrams (mg) for women and 9.5mg for men.
Recent studies have shown that men with Male Pattern Baldness have lower levels of zinc. The same has also been found in women with Female Pattern Baldness.
Just two Brazil nuts per day should be enough to meet the recommended daily intake of selenium – a key nutrient known to support the maintenance of normal hair growth.
It is advised in the UK that, on average, women need 60 micrograms (mcg) per day, whilst men need 75 mcg per day, but the more people weigh, the higher the dose may need to be. Always consult your doctor or a qualified dietician or nutritionist to find the optimal dose for you, if you are unsure.
It is important not to regularly overdose on selenium as this can lead to a condition called selenosis, which can also cause temporarily thinning hair.
Dark green vegetables
Dark green vegetables, especially leafy varieties, such as kale, spinach and broccoli, are a good plant-based source of iron. Iron is important for healthy hair as it plays a crucial role in good blood circulation, carrying oxygen to the hair follicles.
Dried apricots, quinoa, lentils and chickpeas are also high in iron.
The current UK recommended daily intake for iron is 8.7mg per day for men and 14.8mg for women.
Iron deficiency and iron-deficiency anaemia are both known to cause hairloss from Telogen Effluvium. Additionally, research has shown women with genetic hair loss often present with lower levels of zinc and iron.
An average serving of mango provides approximately 20 per cent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A. For adults aged between 19 and 64, this is 0.7mg per day for men and 0.6mg per day for women.
It aids normal sebum production which helps to keep the scalp and hair properly lubricated, like a natural moisturiser preventing them from becoming too dry.
Mangoes, like many tropical fruits, do have naturally high sugar levels, but vitamin A can also be obtained from carrots, orange-flesh sweet potatoes, dark green leafy vegetables and red peppers.
However, it can inhibit hair growth and lead to shedding where there is an excessive vitamin A intake, so this is something to be mindful of, especially if you are taking multivitamins or other vitamin A-containing food supplements in addition to including it in your diet. Pregnant and menopausal women are particularly cautioned about being wary of their vitamin A intake.
Hair loss from dietary deficiencies or illnesses
The type of hair loss indicated in each case above is Telogen Effluvium, or – where, for example, an underlying health issue, such as a nutritional deficiency or form of anaemia is undiagnosed for a significant period of time – the chronic form, Diffuse Thinning.
Both can be quite alarming initially as they cause up to 30 per cent of hairs from all over the scalp to shed intensely, as the underlying issue temporarily disrupts the hair growth cycle.
The shedding becomes apparent approximately three months after being triggered and should last for no longer than roughly six months in the case of regular Telogen Effluvium, but it will last for at least six months if it is Chronic Telogen Effluvium; treatment can be sought to help accelerate the recovery process in both instances.
This can involve the use of appropriate topical hair loss solutions and, where required – which would be determined following a professional consultation – the use of additional hair growth supporting products. This can include Hair Vitalics for Men or Hair Vitalics for Women highly-targeted food supplements, developed by Belgravia hair experts. Whilst unsuitable for strict vegans due to one element being taken from the wool of live, healthy sheep, they are suitable for people simply following a plant-based diet, wether they are meat-eaters or vegetarians.
The Belgravia Centre is an organisation specialising in hair growth and hair loss prevention with two clinics and in-house pharmacies in Central London, UK. 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 world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world’s largest gallery of hair growth comparison photos and demonstrates the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time to arrange a free consultation.