Foods that lead to hair loss
Jan, 17 2020 | By Dr. Sangay Bhutia (Hair Transplant Specialist in Delhi)
We have all heard the saying – we are what we eat. And this cliche seems to never get old. Our entire being is in some way connected with what we consume. Our desires and mental state often determine our food habits. It is not without a reason that we ‘stress eat’ or ‘binge eat’.
It should be no surprise that food we consume impacts not just our health and fitness, but also hair growth and even hair fall. Of course the reasons behind our well being in general and hair loss in particular are more complex. It is not always dependent on the food we eat. There are other variables and factors that can play a role. Genetics, hormonal changes, sudden illness, tobacco and alcohol consumption, lifestyle choices, lack of exercise etc. Moreover, our body takes preferential decisions to distribute nutrition within itself. Among the organs and other parts which help the normal functioning of the body, the scalp is often at the lowest end of the priority list. So for example, if there is a protein deficiency within our body, the scalp will be most affected. For the simple reason that when our body will rationalise protein nutrients our scalp will get whatever is left or at times, none at all.
But that is deficiency, what about specific food items that enable and lead to hair loss? Experts say that excess sugar, high fat and fried foods, along with a diet deficient in zinc and iron can also lead to hair loss.
Excess sugar in the body does does not allow complete protein absorption. And it is common knowledge how important protein is for scalp health. Moreover, an increase in blood sugar levels lead to shrinking of the hair follicles. The reason is simple: rising blood sugar and excess insulin raise levels of androgen which can lead to shrinking and weakening of hair follicles. So avoid sugary cereals, products with added sugars, and keep a check on your sweet tooth.
We also know that high fat and consumption of deep fried foods can lead to obesity, and various diseases of the heart. What is often not discussed is its impact on the health of our hair. Increased intake of fat (both saturated and monosaturated) leads to rise in Dihydrotestosterone, or DHT levels in the human body. DHT is considered to be one of the main reasons of hair loss in both men and women. So every time you look at a packaged product with high fat content, give it a miss. Not the best thing to do if you are susceptible to hair thinning and loss.
We did mention alcohol earlier but is important to stress upon the fact that regular and excessive alcohol consumption can lead to hair loss. Alcohol seriously impacts our liver and dehydrates the body. It does not allow proper digestion and makes our hair lifeless, brittle and weak, making it prone to hair loss. Both smoking and drinking excessively can constrict our blood vessels which means that it is difficult for them to carry essential nutrients to various parts of the body including the hair follicles.
A phenomenon that is being discussed very often is that of ‘stress eating’. In such a state, our emotions dictate what we eat and it is not necessarily determined by our needs. So there are times when a lot of patients talk about post break up habits, or eating habits caused by work-related or emotional stress. Excess alcohol, fried foods, and lack of discipline with food – all of it can potentially have a massive impact on general health. Needless to say, it also sets up our hair for its eventual fall.
To beat everyday stress, walking, running, cycling and other cardiovascular exercise really help. It not only combats stress but build immunity and improves the health of our hair and skin.
If you are experiencing hair loss and you think your diet is an issue. Then It is recommended that you meet an expert and personalise your diet and eating schedule as per your needs. As important it is to know what to eat, we suggest that you also know what not to.