Hair loss is one of those inevitable things that comes with aging, even for women. Although the problem is more common in men, hair can play a huge role in how we see ourselves, losing it can have an emotional impact on anyone who experiences it. An estimated 50% of women over 40 will have some form of female pattern baldness, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Many things beyond our control can contribute to thinning hair, including genetics and hormonal fluctuations associated with menopause, but a few lifestyle choices can affect how much hair you find down the drain. shower, especially when it comes to your diet. Read on to find out what type of food could be making your hair loss worse.
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We all know that a diet high in fatty foods is not good for us – it can lead to weight gain and problems such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure, which can lead to serious health problems in long term. But research from a 2021 study published in the journal Nature found that eating fatty foods, such as processed meat and anything fried, can also contribute to hair loss. The “good fats” found in things like salmon, nuts, and avocado can still be on the menu.
Your hair goes through a growth cycle during which it sheds and regenerates. That’s why you’ll still see hairs in the shower drain, even if you’re not losing hair. “The hair follicle naturally oscillates between growth and rest, a process fueled by hair follicle stem cells. During the growth phase, hair follicle stem cells activate to regenerate the hair follicle and hair,” reports ScienceDaily. These new bristles replace the ones you find in your brush – it’s all part of the process.
But the study, which was carried out on mice – as they are anatomically, physiologically and genetically very similar to humans – showed that “obesity-induced stress, such as that induced by a high-fat diet” can deplete hair follicle stem cells and disrupt this hair growth cycle. In an abnormal cycle, stem cells do not activate and new hair does not grow, which ultimately leads to accelerated hair thinning.
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The researchers, who were from Tokyo Medical and Dental University in Japan, also found that hair loss caused by poor diet was more likely to occur with age. Of course, hair loss in general occurs with age, but when combined with the constant consumption of fatty foods, it can make the problem worse.
Opting for a diet high in lean protein (your hair is made of protein, so it’s important to maintain your intake, reports Healthline) such as lean meats, beans and legumes rather than processed meat, cheese, pastries and other foods that are high in saturated fat is one of the keys to keeping your hair full as you age. A 2017 study published in the journal Practical & Conceptual Dermatology said that “nutritional deficiencies can impact both hair structure and growth”, so it is also important to consume foods rich in vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin C, vitamin D and vitamin D. iron, according to Healthline.
Beyond diet, your stress level can also affect your hair and, of course, how you take care of it. Investing in a quality shampoo and conditioner that’s right for your hair type is a start, says Healthline. But when thinking about your hair care routine, you also need to consider your scalp. A healthy scalp can mean the difference between dull and full locks.
One thing you can do to combat the stress in your life and improve the health of your scalp is a daily head massage. A 2016 study published in the journal ePlasty found that massaging your scalp for just four minutes a day can increase the thickness of your hair. This practice circulates blood around the hair follicle, which can stimulate growth. It also redistributes your hair’s natural oils which can prevent flaking and dryness, another cause of hair loss. Of course, there are also many products that can help with hair loss, but simple diet and lifestyle changes are a good place to start.
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