Is your hair thinning or are you experiencing higher than average hair loss? Our hair is constantly rejuvenating itself and we normally loose between 50-100 hairs a day.
When we think of hair loss, we usually associate it with men as many become bald or experience some hair loss as they get older. However, hair loss and thinning hair affect many women throughout their lives and it becomes more common as we get older.
There are many reasons for hair loss:
- Hormonal changes after childbirth
- Hormonal changes like menopause
- Hereditary factors
- Underactive thyroid
- Adrenal exhaustion
- Certain medications
Let’s take a look at some key lifestyle changes we can make to help with thinning hair.
Stress is a key cause of Hair Loss in women
Long term, persistent stress causes so many problems and is the major cause of hair loss in women. Stress can cause Alopecia, a condition that causes hair to fall out in patches. It can result in total hair loss too. When we are stressed, our bodies do not absorb the nutrients they need to function properly.
Hair health depends on the circulation of the root of the hair and nutrients present in our blood. If we are constantly stressed, then our scalps will become tight restricting circulation and our hair follicles will be malnourished.
Hair comprises a protein – like substance called keratin and we need a healthy balanced diet to support healthy hair.
Foods that promote keratin production are eggs, onions, salmon, sweet potatoes, sunflower seeds, mangos, garlic, kale and carrots.
Look after your gut health
Hippocrates claimed that ‘all disease begins in the gut’, and he was pretty spot on. You may have heard the gut being referred to as ‘our second brain’. Get the condition of the gut right and you will experience much better health.
I live by this rule and will not stop stressing the importance of a healthy gut. A healthy gut can absorb all the essential nutrients from our food, which then feeds our bodies with the proper nutrients it needs to function, this includes our hair. If this is not happening then we will develop problems.
There are so many small changes you can make which will improve your gut health. Here are just a few:
Introduce more nutritious foods into your diet
When I work with my clients, I don’t like to tell them to eliminate any foods to begin with. This is the approach of so many diets and if you simply cut out the bad stuff, the chances are you won’t stick with it.
Balance is key. Begin by introducing more fruit and vegetables. It’s important to go for a variety of colours. Then add some legumes, nuts and seeds. The better you start to feel, the more you will want to cut out the bad stuff.
Once you are at the point where 80% of your diet is healthy, you can still enjoy your treats. You just have to be mindful of what you eat.
Protein is important for healthy hair, but you want the right proteins. Try to limit proteins such as red meat and full-fat dairy, especially if you are consuming these foods without enough fruit and vegetables. If you choose meat, then go for good quality organic meat that is free from hormones and antibiotics. Choose turkey, chicken, fish or eggs. Mix it up by incorporating plant-based protein into your diet. I choose both animal and plant-based protein.
Cut back on caffeine, alcohol, and sugar
Too much caffeine and alcohol can contribute to hair loss. they deplete essential nutrients and cause stress on our bodies. I recommend limiting caffeine drinks to only 2 a day and drinking a large glass of water per cup of tea or coffee and alcoholic beverage.
I am sure I don’t have to stress the importance of limiting your sugar intake, a diet high in refined sugar like pastries, cakes, biscuits and sweets will deplete the body of vital nutrients. But remember to be aware of hidden sugars high in carb foods like white pasta, white bread and white rice.
Enjoy your treats sensibly!
Reduce sodium-based salt. This should be done for general health, anyway. Go for Himalayan pink salt and nori flakes.
Foods that can help minimise Hair Loss
As mentioned above, good quality protein is needed for hair health. Include fish, organic white meat, eggs, and plant-based protein like quinoa, lentils, beans, chickpeas, peas organic tofu and tempeh in your diet.
Eat more iron-rich foods such as green leafy vegetables (spinach, watercress and curly kale) and egg yolks.
Essential fats are a must for healthy hair. Include more oily fish in your diet like wild salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel. Nuts and seeds like chia, hemp, flaxseed, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, almonds and walnuts, avocado. Flaxseed and olive oils. You need essential fats to avoid a dry scalp.
Other useful tips to nourish your hair
Include a good quality multivitamin in your diet. Choose one that is right for your age and gender. Men and women require different nutrients. You can find good quality vitamins in a good health shop.
B vitamins are essential for healthy hair. You can supplement on a B complex. Some swear that B vitamins are good for preventing grey hair. PABA, biotin, B5 and folic acid are all good anti-greying nutrients. With biotin, you will need 1000mcg daily. If you are already taking a B vitamin complex, check the contents before supplementing with extra B vitamins.
Exercise regularly! Working out will get your circulation flowing, increasing oxygen flow in the body.
If you are experiencing hair thinning because of the menopause, you can balance hormones by taking black cohosh, soya isoflavones and dong quai.
Thinning hair in men, due to excess dihydrotestosterone, can be balanced by taking saw palmetto 500mg daily and zinc 30mg daily.
Do not supplement on your own, especially if you are on medication. Always consult your GP and a professional such as a qualified nutritionist.
Another useful hint is to mix a little rosemary essential oil with jojoba oil and massage it firmly on the scalp. Apply pressure as you want to stimulate circulation. It’s good to do this before you go to bed. Massaging the scalp with remove dead skin cells and increase circulation.
I hope you have found the above useful. I am a qualified nutritional therapist and health coach, and I am passionate about working with women of 40+ to bring more vitality and energy into their lives.