If you dread trips to the hair salon and cringe every time you pass a mirror, there’s a pretty good chance you’re concerned about hair loss. Making sure certain foods are in your diet will help keep your scalp healthy, happy and hopefully, full of hair. Below are a list of crucial nutritional elements you need in your diet to combat excessive hair loss and hair thinning.

Vitamin B

Hair loss occurs when the diet is inadequate in the B vitamins - especially B6, biotin, inositol and folic acid, together with the minerals magnesium, sulfur and zinc. The B vitamins, especially B5 (pantothenic acid and B3 (niacin) are especially important for hair growth.

In laboratory animals it was found that certain essential amino acids are found to control the thinning and thickening of hair. For example, when rats were fed a diet deficient in magnesium, they lost their hair in bunches. The situation was even more serious with some other B-vitamins. When rats were fed a diet low in biotin (Vitamin B7) or inositol (Vitamin B8), they became hairless! This nutrient-deficient condition was luckily found to be reversible. When the rats were fed a diet that was rich in B vitamins, it resulted in the complete restoration of hair.

Iron

Anemia (iron deficiency) is one of the most frequent causes of hair loss. Iron plays a key role in manufacturing hemoglobin, the part of the blood that carries oxygen to your body’s organs and tissues. When your hemoglobin is at a healthy level, oxygen is properly dispersed. This means your scalp is getting a good flow of blood, which will stimulate and promote hair growth. Adding more iron to your diet does not mean you have to feast on liver day in, and day out. Remember that dried fruits (like raisins and cherries) are packed with iron. So is spirulina, eggs, dark green-leafy vegetables (such as kale) and whole-grain cereals are all high in iron. Also note that Vitamin C improves the absorption of iron, so make sure fresh fruits and vegetables are always on your shopping list.

Protein

Hair is comprised mostly of protein. To encourage hair growth, adhere to a diet rich in protein. Recommended supplements for this purpose include brewer's yeast, wheat germ and two tablespoons of granulated lecithin. Along with protein, these foods are also high in B vitamins, an important nutrient for hair. Beans and seafood are also a great source of protein.

Zinc

Zinc plays a key role in many of the body’s functions, from cell reproduction to hormonal balance, and all these functions affect hair growth. Perhaps most importantly, zinc manages the glands that attach to your hair follicles. When you’re low on zinc, these follicles become weak, causing strands to break off or fall out. To combat this problem, eat zinc-heavy foods such as seafood, nuts, and oysters. It is especially important for men who suffer from hair loss to address their zinc levels.

Silica

Another important nutrient for hair health is silica. Studies in the former Soviet Union have shown that silica therapy slowed hair loss. Organic silica added to shampoo was found to help prevent baldness, stimulate healthier hair growth and assure beautiful shine, luster and strength. Silica can also be taken orally of course to help the body from the inside out.

Silica is found in the outer coverings of potatoes, green and red peppers and cucumbers. Bean sprouts are also high in silica. Raw oats provide silica.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is also important for healthy hair growth. Try to eat plenty of vitamin E rich avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil on a regular basis.

If hair loss is due to thyroid dysfunction, eat more foods rich in vitamin A and iodine. Eat vegetables such as carrots or spinach with unrefined, cold-pressed seed oils such as flax, walnut or pumpkin seed and sea salt. Take turnips, sea-vegetables, cabbage, pine nuts and millet if there is a deficiency of iodine.

You may have heard that stress can cause hair loss. Excessive physical or emotional stress, like that associated with injury, illness or surgery, can cause also contribute to hair loss. So make sure you address this in your search for healthy hair.

By Malcolm MacMillan

Sources: www.cwimedical.com and www.holisticonline.com