Hair is constantly being renewed , and a loss of between 50 and 100 hairs per day, even 150, can be considered normal. A couple of times a year, coinciding with the beginning of spring and autumn, this fall is usually more noticeable and is mainly due to a change in the hair cycle , but also to other factors. “Apart from biochemistry, other factors such as stress, poor diet, the use of inappropriate products, hormonal changes, vitamin or mineral deficiency or damage from chemical treatments or excessive heat can affect hair loss” , explains the biochemist and cosmetologist of Bio Sakure Cristina Jiménez .
The expert points out that the hair cycle broadly consists of three phases: the growth phase or anagen , in which the hair grows 1 cm per month and lasts about three years; that of rest or catagen , in which the hair stops growing for one to three weeks; and, finally, the replacement or telogen , in which the hair falls out. Any healthy person has between 9 and 14% of hair in the telogen phase, so we should not worry excessively if we find hairs on the comb.
- 1 What nutrients are beneficial?
- 2 The importance of fluids for healthy hair
- 3 Foods to Avoid
- 4 What does hair need to be strong?
- 5 Other remedies to prevent hair loss after pregnancy
A loss of between 50 and 100 hairs per day, even 150, can be considered normal
But the fall is not the only evil that affects the hair. Lifeless, dry, fragile and brittle manes are also often a cause for concern and, in these cases, the good news is that a correct diet can help a lot to improve the appearance and texture of the hair. “It is important to make it clear that in many cases excessive hair loss is due to stress or hormonal factors on which it is difficult to act with a change in diet, but it is clear that food can help to have stronger hair, healthy and brighter. We are what we eat , and our diet influences everything: our skin, our hair, even our eyes, ”explains nutritionist Fátima Branco .
The expert points out that on many occasions we are alarmed for no reason at hair loss, since in most cases this loss is within normal parameters of about 100 hairs per day. However, certain changes in diet will help not only to prevent hair loss, but also to achieve stronger and more beautiful hair . We can start by introducing all these foods.
The superfood par excellence, inexpensive, versatile and easy to cook, it is a great ally for healthy hair, as it contains vitamin B , essential in cell multiplication and DNA formation. “Among the B group vitamins, the most important for capillary health are B7 or biotin, B9 or folic acid, B2, B5 and B6”, explains Branco, who points out that eggs have a high content in biotin . Folic acid or B9 is found mainly in green leafy vegetables, while the rest of the B vitamins are found in foods such as whole grains or brewer’s yeast. “A highly recommended gesture is to get used to taking a daily teaspoon of brewer’s yeast a day, which can be added to yogurt, for example ”.
Begins the era of citrus , and they are allies of our hair to being important sources of vitamin C . This “favors the formation of collagen, an important protein for the skin and hair, in addition to helping the absorption of iron, a mineral also essential for good hair health”, explains Branco. To strengthen hair, the nutritionist recommends taking a minimum of two pieces of fruit daily , and that at least one of them is always a citrus.
“Vitamin C favors the formation of collagen, an important protein for the skin and hair, as well as helping the absorption of iron, a mineral essential for good hair health”
A calcium deficiency can lead to more fragile and brittle hair, as it is a fundamental mineral in the growth and health of hair and nails , among other functions. Despite the fact that we find calcium in foods such as nuts or broccoli, Branco points out that milk and derivatives “are still by far the best source”, so that if there is no impediment such as allergies and intolerances, it is interesting to consume daily at minus two servings of dairy, since calcium is also essential in preventing diseases such as osteoporosis.
Nuts contain vitamin E , essential for hair, and also stand out for their high content of heart-healthy fats . “The most recent scientific evidence shows us that fats have a key role in cell membranes, which improves hair health when we include them,” explains expert coach in healthy habits Natàlia Calvet . Branco recommends not abusing them, as they are also highly caloric , and he prescribes taking a handful daily.
Along with tuna, cod, crab or lobster, this fish is a good source of methionine , a sulfur amino acid essential to prevent hair loss and keep it thick, strong and shiny . Both methionine and cysteine - another key amino acid for hair health – are also found in foods such as eggs and some meats, and are also usually found in some vitamin complexes to strengthen hair. “If we are going to buy vitamin supplements for hair, it is essential to make sure that they contain methionine and cysteine. If not, they will be of little use “, explains Branco
Both olive oil and nuts contain vitamin E , the deficiency of which can cause, in Branco’s words, “that the hair is drier, it falls more and even more gray appears.”
Its vitamin A content makes it a key vegetable, since the vitamins of this group “favor the oxygenation of the cells in the hair follicle,” explains Branco, who points out that we also find this vitamin in colored vegetables. red and orange. The pepper , in fact, also has a very high content of vitamin C , so its consumption is highly recommended for hair health. Calvet recommends, for its part, that “50% of the daily food intake be vegetables , which we should accompany with two or three pieces of fruit.”
“The deficiency of vitamin E that we find in olive oil or nuts can cause the hair to be drier, fall more and even gray more”
It has decisive minerals for good hair health, such as zinc, copper and selenium. Branco recommends alternating your consumption with legumes, meat, fish and eggs, while other foods, such as vegetables, fruit, nuts or whole grains (of which he recommends about two servings a day), should be daily consumption.
Although it should not be abused , Branco indicates that red meat is one of the best sources of iron that we find, and that despite the fact that many foods of plant origin also contain this mineral “its absorption is much lower”. In this sense, the nutritionist recommends vegans and vegetarians to be attentive to the consumption of iron and, always under medical prescription, supplement it if necessary, as it is essential for many other functions of the body.
Another versatile and inexpensive superfood that we have at our fingertips are legumes, which Calvet recommends including regularly in the diet thanks to their contribution of “B vitamins, manganese, iron and magnesium”. This last mineral, in fact, is key in hair health and is also found in foods such as sunflower seeds, bananas or oats.
What nutrients are beneficial?
The nutrients necessary to promote and support hair health are mainly proteins, essential amino acids , collagen , minerals and vitamins , indicates Gloria Montané, pharmacist . Among the vitamins you must consume the most important for the good condition of the hair are especially those of the B group, in the most significant these is biotin (B8), along with vitamin C . The presence of iron , copper , zinc and omega 3 is also necessary , adds Teresa Bonnin, pharmacist
Therefore, what foods should be consumed?
The experts establish in which foods the different essential nutrients can be found to show off hair in good condition:
- Vitamin A : can be found in eggs, liver, vegetables,fortified milk, and fish, sunflower, and olive oil . “The function of vitamin A is to avoid blocking the drying of the sebaceous glands, which are of fundamental importance to lubricate the hair follicle and therefore, the prevention and reduction of hair loss”, explains Bonnin.
- Vitamin B: foods that are high in vitamin B are fish, beef and pork, chicken, soy , eggs, legumes, nuts, and whole grains. The latter “are very important in insulin resistance, a hormone also related to male pattern baldness. In addition, it is a source of folic acid , which helps to oxygenate the blood of the hair follicles ”, indicates Bonnin.
- Also noteworthy within this group is brewer’s yeast , which is the natural nutrient that provides more B vitamins, along with a considerable amount of essential amino acids and other minerals, such as phosphorus.
- Vitamin C: in this group, lemon, orange, kiwi, spinach and broccoli stand out . These foods are involved in the synthesis of collagen , the collective tissue that makes up the hair and that helps in the absorption of iron, as indicated by Bonnin.
- The iron needed for hair to grow strong and healthy can be found in red meat, spinach, and vegetables. “This mineral is essential for the oxygenation of the scalp and hair pigmentation.” On the other hand, copper, present in shellfish, spinach and walnuts, is an important component for the synthesis of melanin in hair .
- Zinc is essential for hair growth and is found in meat and fish, asparagus, aubergines, potatoes, celery and figs. For its part, sulfur, present in white meat and in meats such as liver, almonds, eggs, fruits and vegetables , is essential to strengthen weak and brittle hair .
- The folic acid is obtained through cereals, nuts, whole grains, orange juice and wheat. Omega 3, present in olive oil, together with chocolate, sage and basil, play an antioxidant function due to the presence of polyphenols. Magnesium, essential for hair health and present in almonds, activates enzymatic reactions important for hair health .
These foods must be consumed within a balanced diet. In this way, “the hair is strengthened through blood circulation, which nourishes the hair bulb, the area where the hair feeds,” explains Montané. Therefore, it is important that the blood that reaches the base of the hair contains the nutrients it needs to grow healthy and strong. However, at the topical level there are pharmacy preparations, usually lotions and shampoos, that correctly convey the nutrients to their destination, the scalp, and which help to strengthen and stimulate its growth.
Bonnin indicates that the most appropriate thing is to combine all these elements in an adequate quantity each time it is eaten . It also recommends consuming a lot of vegetables and one or two fruits a day. And it emphasizes the interference of olive oil due to its antioxidant action.
The importance of fluids for healthy hair
Liquids are also an important aspect of balanced diets. ” Drinking water helps with hair problems by keeping hair hydrated and strong, ” says Bonnin. It is not necessary to consume special waters, the ideal is to ingest one or two liters of water a day. “However, it does not depend only on water or food or hygiene; to have healthy and beautiful hair we must act on all fronts at the same time to achieve our goal ”, points out Montané.
Foods to Avoid
On the other hand, there are foods that must be avoided so as not to damage the hair. Among them are: highly refined foods with excess saturated fat , fried foods, products with hydrogenated fats or refined oils . All of them are related to the increase in testosterone levels , which can enhance the increase in dihydrotestosterone (DHT) levels. “This means that the hair follicles shrink and grow thinner and weaker,” explains Bonnin.
It is also advisable to avoid carbohydrates with a high glycemic index , that is, fast sugars, since an excessive consumption of them creates cellular inflammation, which is harmful to hair health. Likewise, one must try not to carry out a restrictive diet that induces malnutrition and vegan diets with deficiencies of vitamin B12 and iron. Likewise, you should not consume carbonated or caffeinated beverages, as well as excess chocolate .
What does hair need to be strong?
To show off healthy hair and prevent its loss, it is necessary to ingest vitamins A, B and C, and minerals, such as iron, copper, zinc, biotin and folic acid. Let’s see, next, what these substances contain and how they act on the hair.
This vitamin is essential in the prevention of all scalp and hair problems due to dryness, such as dandruff, dry hair, premature hair loss, etc. And is that vitamin A is very important in the production of sebum , a substance that prevents these phenomena from occurring.
Many foods contain vitamin A. For example, all dark green leafy vegetables and orange, green or yellow fruits. For example, carrots, broccoli, cabbage, spinach, cantaloupe, apricot, and mango.
Dairy products such as milk, butter, and cheddar also contain vitamin A, as do some animal foods, such as beef, chicken, turkey, and fish.
Keep in mind that smoking can inhibit the absorption of this vitamin. The same happens if you are taking some kind of medicine.
Specifically, vitamin B6 plays a fundamental role in the production of hemoglobin. This substance is responsible for transporting oxygen to the different cells of the body. Therefore, its intake is a guarantee that the hair, its hair follicles, receive adequate oxygen and look healthy.
The foods richest in vitamin B6, which also provide high levels of protein, are liver, chicken, pork, fish, bananas, potatoes, dried beans, whole grains and the vast majority of fruits and vegetables.
The folic acid is a vitamin of B complex, essential for the proper functioning of many parts of the body. And it is that it has an indispensable role in the production of the body’s red blood cells.
Folic acid is found mainly in green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, broccoli, chard, asparagus, cauliflower, and watercress. Legumes and whole grains are also a good source of folic acid. As for fruits, some with the highest content of folic acid are oranges, strawberries, melons and bananas. Beets and avocados are also rich in this vitamin.
Vitamin C is essential for the production of collagen , a fundamental component of hair. Therefore, the lack of collagen can cause significant damage to the hair and accelerate its breakage and fall.
The foods richest in vitamin C are citrus fruits, such as oranges, lemons and grapefruits. Also rich in this nutrient are red peppers, mango and kiwi.
This vitamin is essential, in particular, for the health of the skin and hair. And it is that vitamin E is responsible for the blood reaching the scalp and also absorbing oxygen. Hence, it is one of the main substances for the well-being and health of the hair and scalp.
Vitamin E is mainly found in vegetable oils from corn (wheat germ, sunflower, corn, etc.), nuts and seeds , such as sunflower. The vegetables with the highest vitamin E content are spinach and broccoli. Likewise, whole grains are also rich in this vitamin.
Biotin is essential for healthy hair and nails. It is also known as vitamin H or vitamin B7.
It is a water-soluble nutrient that promotes cell division and growth. Hence, its important role in the good condition of many tissues in the body. It is, especially, a great hair nutrient, as it helps stimulate hair growth and stop hair loss. It also provides strength to brittle hair.
Biotin is found mainly in beef liver, as well as in eggs and oily fish, such as tuna, salmon, sardines and herring. As for legumes, peas are the best source of biotin. Nuts are also an ideal option, since, in addition to biotin, they contain vitamin E. As for fruits, bananas, tomatoes and strawberries are the fruits richest in biotin.
Also, a teaspoon of brewer’s yeast a day, dissolved in some liquid, is one of the best nutrients for hair.
Iron is a very important mineral for hair health, as it helps maintain healthy hair follicles.
The foods richest in iron are red meats, such as veal or beef, as well as liver and blood sausage. Shell shellfish such as cockles, clams, and mussels also contain large amounts of iron. Other sources of iron are nuts, such as walnuts, cashews, pistachios, or almonds, and some seeds, such as sesame.
As for vegetables, the richest in iron are green leafy ones, such as watercress, chard or spinach. Spirulina algae is also one of the foods richest in iron.
Copper acts as an antioxidant in the body and helps prevent hair loss .
It contains, among others, foods such as walnuts, hazelnuts, cocoa, mushrooms, soybeans and legumes.
Zinc is another mineral whose role is essential for healthy hair and nails .
It is present in asparagus, aubergines, chickpeas, bananas, figs or wheat germ, mainly.
Other remedies to prevent hair loss after pregnancy
- But, in addition to following a balanced diet , where the aforementioned foods are included, there are another series of factors that influence health and hair loss, which we must take into account.
- On the market, we can find nutritional supplements, in capsules or tablets, specifically formulated to prevent hair loss. These products, taken for the prescribed time, help the hair not fall out and stimulate the roots and strengthen the hair fiber.
- It is very important to use a mild and suitable shampoo. During pregnancy, the secretion of oil from the scalp increases, so the hair needs to be washed more frequently. To do this, you should use a shampoo suitable for daily use that is as less aggressive as possible.
- Also, you have to treat the hair gently. Dry it and comb it gently, avoiding rubbing it roughly with the towel so as not to damage or weaken it.
- Do not abuse the dryer, flat irons or curling iron. Using them in excess damages the root and causes its subsequent fall. The hair must be dried at a safe distance (about 20 centimeters approximately) and avoid high temperatures.
- You have to avoid updos and tight pigtails. Prolonged use of extensions or the use of rubber bands, hooks or the like cause hair loss.