Healthy hair always starts from within. If you are stressing about your hair because it feels thinner and less shiny and bouncy in recent months, there could be a few culprits at bay. Stress, hormonal changes, and factors like taking certain medications are prime contributors to hair loss. But the foods that you are both eating and NOT eating also play a major role in the state of your mane. Dr. Yoram Harth, board certified dermatologist and medical director of MDhair, recommends that you stop eating these foods ASAP if you have thinning hair because they could actually make the problem worse. So, while you’re stocking up on healthy fat sources at the grocery store (looking at you, avocados), try to avoid these foods that won’t actually do your hair any favors.
Sugar and large amounts of refined carbohydrates can cause insulin resistance, leading to obesity and diabetes, Dr. Harth said. And when it comes to healthy hair, Dr. Harth reminds is that inflammation reduces the blood flow to hair follicles, which may cause hair loss and thinness.
A cocktail now and again won’t cause hair fames, but Ingesting large amounts of alcohol can affect protein synthesis, according to Dr. Harth. “The reduced quality of keratin, the main hair protein, can lead to thinner and dull-looking hair,” Dr. Harth said.
“Diet sodas usually contain an artificial sweetener called aspartame, which can damage hair follicles,” Dr. Harth said. “You should avoid diet sodas altogether if you have been experiencing hair loss lately. Drinking water, tea, or coffee is the best alternative. For people looking to sweeten their drinks, stevia is an excellent alternative to aspartame.”
Like sugar, processed food and junk food cause insulin resistance. “Bread, cookies, and cakes made of refined flour and sugar can cause spikes in insulin and DHT, negatively affecting hair follicles and leading to thinner hair,” Dr. Harth said. “An excellent alternative to processed and high-glycemic food is a diet rich in leafy green, a high-quality protein from eggs, chicken, or beef.”
Before you say, “But isn’t salmon one of the best things you can eat for healthy hair?” Yes — there are plenty of great fish picks that contain important nutrients. But large fish like mackerel, swordfish, shark and some varieties of tuna are rich in mercury that can, in the long term, cause more hair loss, according to Dr. Harth. “A good alternative is smaller fish like sardines or taking marine collagen peptides made of wild deep sea water cod or pollock,” Dr. Harth said.
There’s no substitute for following a diet rich in proteins, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. But knowing which foods to avoid is also key when it comes to getting the healthiest hair possible.
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Author: Lisa Cupido
Lisa Fogarty is a lifestyle writer and reporter based in New York who covers health, wellness, relationships, sex, beauty, and parenting.
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