By Jackie Furlong.

Alopecia is a condition that causes hair loss, either on the scalp or other parts of the body. It can happen to anyone, regardless of age, and it can be a very emotional experience. July is Alopecia Awareness Month, a perfect time to learn more about this condition and how nutrition can play a big role in managing hair loss in women.

What is Alopecia?

Alopecia is a medical term for hair loss. There are different types of alopecia, including:

Alopecia Areata: This type causes patchy hair loss and can happen suddenly.

Androgenetic Alopecia: Also known as male or female pattern baldness, this type is more gradual and often hereditary.

Telogen Effluvium: This type causes temporary hair shedding due to stress, illness, or hormonal changes.

Alopecia and Women

Hair loss can affect anyone, but it’s often more surprising and distressing for women. Did you know that about 40 percent of women experience visible hair loss by age 40? That’s a significant number, showing that this issue is more common than many people think.

The Role of Nutrition in Hair Health

Nutrition is crucial for maintaining healthy hair. Just like the rest of your body, your hair needs the right nutrients to grow and stay strong. Poor nutrition can lead to hair thinning, hair loss, and other scalp issues.

Foods to Eat for Healthy Hair

Here are some foods that are good for your hair:

Protein-Rich Foods: Hair is mainly made of protein, so it’s important to eat enough of it. Good sources include eggs, fish, chicken, beans, and nuts.

Iron-rich foods: Iron helps red blood cells carry oxygen to your hair follicles. Eat foods like spinach, lentils, red meat, and fortified cereals.

Vitamin C-Rich Foods: Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron and supports collagen production, which is vital for hair strength. Eat oranges, strawberries, bell peppers, and broccoli.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: These healthy fats can hydrate your scalp and hair. You can find them in salmon, walnuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds.

Biotin-Rich Foods: Biotin is a B vitamin that helps strengthen hair. Eat foods like eggs, almonds, sweet potatoes, and avocados.

Foods to Avoid

Some foods can negatively impact your hair health. Here’s what to watch out for:

Sugary Foods: High sugar intake can lead to insulin resistance, which is linked to hair thinning. Avoid candies, sodas, and sugary snacks.

Refined Carbs: Foods like white bread and pastries can cause blood sugar spikes, which may affect hair health. Choose whole grains instead.

Alcohol: Excessive drinking can lead to dehydration and nutrient deficiencies, impacting your hair. Drink in moderation.

Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies

Certain vitamin and mineral deficiencies can lead to hair loss. Here are a few key ones to keep an eye on:

Iron: Low iron levels can lead to anemia, a common cause of hair loss, especially in women.

Vitamin D: This vitamin helps with hair follicle cycling. Low levels are linked to alopecia areata.

Zinc: Zinc deficiency can lead to hair shedding and scalp problems. It’s important for hair growth and repair.

Biotin: Also known as vitamin B7, biotin deficiency can lead to hair thinning and loss.

Whole Food Supplements

If you’re not getting enough nutrients from your diet, whole-food supplements can help. Here are a few suggestions:

Multivitamins: A good multivitamin can fill in nutritional gaps.

Fish Oil Supplements: These provide omega-3 fatty acids for a healthy scalp.

Biotin Supplements: These can support hair strength and growth.

Vitamin D Supplements: These are especially important if you don’t get much sun exposure.

Alopecia can be challenging, but understanding nutrition’s role can make a big difference. You can support your hair health by eating a balanced diet rich in the proper nutrients and avoiding harmful foods. Talking to a qualified nutrition coach or counselor before starting any new supplement is always a good idea. Here’s to healthier hair and greater awareness this Alopecia Awareness Month!

Author Bio:

Through working with patients, Jackie Furlong found that most people were either unaware, confused, or misinformed about their eating habits to stay healthy and ward off illness and disease.

Jackie created the Food Health Score and the Eat Well, Feel Great Nutrition Program, which separates fact from fiction and provides the correct and essential nutrition concepts you need to achieve better health for yourself and your family.

Jackie has a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the University of Minnesota and is certified by the AFPA and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition as a Holistic Health Coach.

 

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