Sports coaches have a saying: ‘Control the controllables.’ In other words, forget about the referee or umpire, the weather, your opponent, and all those other elements over which you have no power. Instead, focus on your own performance because that is something you can control.
As in sport, so it is with hair. Our genetic inheritance determines a lot about the type of hair we have. It determines whether our hair comes out curly, straight, thick or fine. It determines whether we’ll experience pattern baldness and the age at which this will happen. While we can’t control those aspects of our hair, we can do something about the lifestyle and dietary factors that affect our tresses.
Take high-fat foods, for example. Did you know that eating this kind of food can contribute to hair loss? Read on to find out more!
The Link Between Hair Loss and Obesity
Studies have consistently shown a link between obesity and androgenic alopecia. Some of these studies have focused on women while others have looked at the link in men with pattern baldness. While the connection has been established, the reason for it has been unclear. A recent study published in Nature may change that. The study by Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU) looked at how a high-fat diet can affect hair thinning and loss, using mice as models.
The researchers discovered that obesity can reduce the number of hair follicle stem cells (HFSCs) by blocking their regeneration. Fewer HFSCs means fewer hair follicles, something that inevitably leads to hair thinning. A fall in the number of hair follicles is something which happens naturally with age, but obesity seems to speed that process up; just a few days on a high-fat diet was enough to change the hair on the mice under observation. The scientists also recorded increases in oxidative stress. This, too, has been linked with hair loss.
What Foods Should I Avoid?
You don’t need to be a nutritional expert to know that certain types of food and drink will make you obese if taken in excess. Foods containing too much sugar (cakes, desserts, fizzy drinks), alcohol, and high-calorie processed meals will all pile on the kilos if you make them your staple diet. The odd indulgence or treat is perfectly fine but eating sugary snacks and takeaway food every day is a recipe for trouble.
It’s not just the calories you have to watch out for, either. Diets high in sugar and processed food can cause insulin spikes and hormone surges. These can cause your sebaceous glands to produce excessive amounts of oil, leading to hair and scalp problems, including oily dandruff. Conditions such as dandruff and eczema cause irritation and itching. The sufferer will inevitably seek relief from the itch by scratching. It is this constant scratching that can weaken hair strands at the roots and cause them to fall.
One final consideration: if you’re eating too much high-calorie food, chances are you won’t be eating enough of the good stuff. There’s only so much room in your stomach, after all. A lack of the right nutrients, such as vitamins B12 and D, biotin, riboflavin, and iron, can cause hair loss. These vitamins and minerals are important contributors to the hair follicle growth cycle.
What Foods Should I Eat?
When it comes to eating the right things, the rule is simple: what’s good for your body and your overall health is good for your hair. So, replace sugary snacks with fresh fruit or nuts. Eat fresh food rather than processed meals whenever possible and save the takeaways for an occasional treat. Cut down on calorific desserts and fizzy drinks. Be moderate in your alcohol consumption.
In terms of food that is particularly good for hair, there are plenty of options. Eggs are a great source of protein and biotin, both essential for strong hair growth. Berries are great for tackling oxidative stress. A meal consisting of oily fish (salmon, herring, tuna, sardines, and trout) high in omega-3s, spinach and sweet potatoes will do wonders for your hair. Eat avocados nuts and seeds. Meat is good, too. There is no lack of choice when it comes to eating healthy foods that will benefit your hair.
Diet and lifestyle play a huge role in our general health. It shouldn’t be a surprise, therefore, that they’re also important when it comes to the health of our hair. Poor dietary choices can be a contributory factor when it comes to hair thinning and hair loss. Changing that, controlling this particular controllable, is within your power.
If you want to discuss the condition of your hair with an expert, Vinci Hair Clinic is here to help. We are one of the leading hair restoration companies in the world. We offer a free, no-obligation consultation to all our new clients. Book your appointment today – we have clinics worldwide!