Healthy hair growth relies on a number of different factors, from genetics to diet and lifestyle. Research has shown that malnutrition can lead to a range of hair loss conditions and related problems, from brittle and weak strands to a receding hairline and thinning hair.
Most cases of hair loss cannot be entirely prevented or cured solely by eating a healthy diet, but striking the right balance of nutrients is essential for maintaining a healthy head of hair and avoiding the problems associated with a poor diet. This is especially important for vegetarians, as their diets may not include the same levels of protein, iron and other vitamins and minerals that many people get from meat.
Below are some tips to help vegetarians incorporate essential nutrients into their diets:
Hair is composed almost purely from protein, so healthy hair growth depends on a steady dietary intake. If there is too little protein in your diet, your body will struggle to grow hair. Vegetarians should ensure they eat foods high in protein such as egg yolks, kale, peanuts and beans. You can also consider tofu, lentils and Greek yogurt.
Omega-3 fatty acids nourish the scalp to encourage healthy hair growth. These acids are also believed to increase the tensile strength of each hair, helping to prevent breakage. To ensure you are getting enough Omega-3, eat more Brussel sprouts, kale, flaxseed and walnuts. Pescatarians may also enjoy salmon, tuna and other types of oily fish.
Good blood flow to the scalp is essential for delivering other nutrients to the scalp and hair follicles. Iron is essential for transporting oxygen to cells around the body, so keeping levels high will help maintain hair health. Foods like leafy greens (particularly darker varieties), whole grains and beans are essential for vegetarians who do not eat iron-rich red meat. Pescatarians should also consider shellfish such as mussels, oysters and clams.
Essential for tissue repair and regrowth, zinc helps keep scalp and hair cells healthy. Zinc also plays an important part in regulating hormones, including testosterone, which can play a part in some hair loss conditions. Foods that contain zinc include wheat germ and chickpeas.
Magnesium is used by the human body for 300 biochemical reactions including hair growth. A lack of dietary zinc can also result in hair falling out. Nuts (almonds and cashews), brown rice, lentils and spinach all contain zinc, as does halibut for fish eaters.
Sebum, an oily secretion made by your hair follicles, is essential to keeping hair strong and healthy. The production of sebum is reliant on both vitamins A and C, so getting a good dose each day will help keep hair healthy. As well as citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruit, lemons), consider eating more spinach, chard and broccoli.
We have developed our own dietary supplement at The Belgravia Centre called Hair Vitalics, which has been specially formulated to improve the quality of the user's hair. We often prescribe Hair Vitalics as part of our clients’ hair loss treatment programmes, as we have found it to be very effective in boosting hair loss stabilisation when used alongside a prescription treatment course.
The Belgravia Centre is a world-renowned group of a hair loss clinic 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 from anywhere in the world for home-use treatment.
View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world's largest gallery of hair growth photos and demonstrates the level of success that so many of Belgravia's patients achieve.