Can a Plant-Based Diet Reverse Hair Loss from Alopecia?
Excessive hair loss or alopecia can be unsettling, especially when it’s sudden and unexpected. And as the recent Oscars spotlight on Jada Pinkett Smith’s struggle with alopecia revealed, emotions can run high around this sensitive and often under-the-radar condition many women confront. But understanding why your hair loss is happening and learning how to treat it is one of the most empowering steps any woman dealing with alopecia can take once she starts experiencing signs of hair thinning or loss.
While it’s perfectly normal for a person to shed between 50 to 100 strands of hair daily, if you’re seeing areas of balding, a thinner ponytail or more hair on your brush or in the shower, then there is likely a disruption in your hair growth cycle. In this case, the sooner you take action, the better—and a diet plan for alopecia that’s focused on plant-based foods, coupled with the proper hair-care protocol, is a great plan of action for helping to reverse hair loss. Yes, there is a connection between alopecia and your diet! Keep reading to learn more about the best foods to help alopecia and how to get your hair growth back on track.
Common Causes of Alopecia
Understanding the reasons behind your alopecia is so important in determining the best treatment plan for your hair loss—especially if your hair loss has begun to affect your confidence or your desire to be social. Here are some of the most common hair loss causes:
- Hormonal Issues – Hair loss often results when you are lacking, or have excessive amounts, of a specific hormone. Some hormonal issues that can have a major impact on your hair are thyroid imbalance, extremely high testosterone level, PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), insulin resistance and high cortisol, which is a stress hormone.
- Environmental Factors – Your hair loss may also be caused by overexposure to environmental risk factors. One such is heavy metal toxicity, especially lead and mercury that can contribute to hair loss. Overexposure to chemical treatments can also disrupt the natural hair growth process.
- Autoimmunity – This refers to a state wherein the immune system of your body attacks your own tissues. One autoimmune condition that may affect your hair is alopecia areata. This autoimmune disease affects not only the skin but hair growth, as well.
- Aging – It is common to begin losing some of your hair strands as you age. It usually happens slowly and in predictable patterns. For aging women, it may be characterized by thinning hair along their scalp’s crown.
- Micronutrient deficiency – Any deficiency in nutrients can also lead to hair loss. Among the deficiencies that might lead to thinning hair and hair loss are those linked to biotin, Vitamin B12, essential fatty acids, silica, zinc and iron. To help offset such deficiencies, it helps to include a hair fortifying vitamin or supplement like our Significant Other Hair, Skin & Nails Supplement + Retinol Boost in your diet.
- Genetics – Your genetics also play a role in hair loss, and this type of hair loss is known as androgenetic alopecia or female-pattern baldness. In this instance, an increase in hair-thinning DHT is the culprit.
- Stress – Stress is a big contributor of alopecia, so much so that this type of hair loss also has its own name! Telogen effluvium, or hair loss caused by stress, is typically temporary and reverses once the cause of stress is removed.
- Harsh Hairstyling – Also known as traction alopecia, women can experience hair loss when their hair is subjected to aggressive hairstyling for prolonged periods of time.
Can a Plant-Based Diet Help Your Hair Loss?
Now, the question is, can you reverse hair loss with a plant-based diet? And which specific plant-based foods can help alopecia areata and other types of alopecia? As the name suggests, a plant-based diet is an eating plan that excludes animal products and bi-products—these are foods to avoid with alopecia areata and other types of alopecia. A plant-based diet not only increases your consumption of whole foods, which are good for gut health as well as your entire body, but it also reduces the intake of processed foods, which brings healthful benefits regardless of whether or not you are dealing with hair loss. In fact, a study revealed that a plant-based diet can help to reduce the risk of androgenetic alopecia.
Beyond hair health, a plant-based diet plan for hair loss like alopecia areata and androgenetic alopecia can also promote a healthy scalp, which creates a healthy and nurturing environment for your hair follicles.
Another advantage of a plant-based diet plan is that it can help counteract the negative effects of stress. Stress can hamper our psychological health, cause chronic disease and it may also lead to systemic inflammation that can trigger hair loss. Regardless of the underlying cause of your stress, a plant-based diet plan has the ability to impact the health of your hair by helping your body to begin functioning optimally, which helps to speed up hair growth that was pushed it into the resting phase due to stress.
Opting for a plant-based diet that reduces inflammation and incorporating more whole-foods and plant-based foods into your eating plan, particularly those that are rich in magnesium, vitamins and antioxidants, contributes to your body’s overall health and the health of your hair. When your body is properly nourished and your mind is strong, thanks to a well-balanced diet plan, you are better able to cope with stress and stay focused, balanced and calm throughout the day—and get a more restful night’s sleep, too.
Your Plant-Based Diet Plan for Alopecia Areata and Other Types of Hair Loss
Now that we know all the benefits of eating a healthy plant-based diet for alopecia, and how it helps to slow and even reverse hair loss, let’s take a look at some of the key plant-based foods to promote your healthiest hair. Below are 10 of our favorite plant-based foods to help with alopecia areata and other types of hair loss.
These are excellent vegan and vegetarian sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. Aside from Omega-3, chia seeds also have plenty of antioxidants and fiber. This plant-basedfood is a nutritional powerhouse, which also has complete protein. And chia seeds are versatile, too. You can add them to smoothies, cereals and puddings—and if you love sweets, then you can also add them to your baked goods!
Rich in iron, folate and magnesium, spinach is indeed one of the best sources of B-vitamins, which are vital for hair health. This dark, green, leafy veggie also has a high vitamin C content that helps maintain and protect your hair follicles’ cell membranes as well as support collagen production.
If you are looking for a low-calorie plant-basedfood that can help your hair loss problem, then you can never go wrong with pumpkin. It’s low-calorie and low-fat. Apart from that, it is rich in iron and beta-carotene, an essential vitamin for strengthening and growing hair. Other nutrients that you can get from pumpkin are vitamin C and vitamin E—both of which help in repairing the cells of your body and preventing them from damage.
Similar to other plant-basedfoods, this healthy fruit has polyphenolic compounds that have antioxidant properties designed to minimize cellular damage. Grapes also contain oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPC) that can prevent the production of dihydrotestosterone, a major cause of hair loss. OPC can even stimulate hair follicle growth. A cup of this fruit daily is also a huge help in keeping your tissues protected from the negative effects of inflammation.
You may also want to include flax seeds in your diet. With the high polyunsaturated fatty acid content of flax seed, it is possible for it to provide nourishment to your scalp. It can even prevent your scalp from getting too dry. Add ground versions of these flax seeds into your yogurt or smoothie to make it even healthier. You can also make your own flax eggs and use it as a substitute for real eggs in your baked goods. Just add a tablespoon of this seed to about three tablespoons of water. Leave it to thicken for around five minutes. It is a vegan alternative to a regular egg, allowing you to get all its goodness, especially when it comes to the health of your hair.
Famous for being good for the mind and heart, avocado also works well for those who are dealing with hair loss. It can improve the health of your hair through its healthy fats, which can add moisture to your entire body, helping to prevent hair breakage, strengthen your strands and make them grow longer. Avocado also contains vitamin E, a strong and powerful antioxidant designed to boost hair health. Moreover, it has biotin, which also supports the health of your hair. Is it any surprise why avocado is often the star ingredient in DIY hair masks?
An excellent source of protein for anyone following a plant-based diet, protein is essential for increasing your body’s collagen levels, which is extremely useful for the proper growth of your hair and its strength. Almonds are also high in vitamin E, which can improve your hair’s moisture and elasticity, making it more resistant to dryness and breakage.
Kale is another highly nutritious plant-basedfood that’s essential for any diet plan for alopecia. It’s rich in B vitamins and iron, which are very important for healthy hair strands, and it’s also an alkaline food. This means it can help prevent body acidity, which may negatively affect your hair and nails. By regularly including kale in your diet plan for alopecia, you can promote alkalinity within your body.
One of the strongest advantages of cucumber is that it has silica, a mineral that aids in healthier hair, nails and skin. It also increases the level of collagen in your body, which is important for strengthening your hair strands and preventing damage and breakage. Cucumber is also famous for its natural cooling properties. It aids in keeping your body cool, especially during the summer when your hair is at risk of damage due to being overexposed to heat.
Another plant-basedfood you can add to your diet plan for alopecia is acai. It has high Omega-3 fatty acid content, which can help boost moisture levels in your skin and hair, thereby preventing dryness and breakage. It also has antioxidants that can keep your hair looking great over time. The presence of B vitamins and protein in acai is also good for those who suffer from hair loss due to a deficiency in B vitamins.
Other foods to incorporate into your plant-based diet to help improve the health of your hair and reverse hair loss are legumes, hemp seeds, whole grains, tofu and leafy greens. Ensure that your diet is rich in Omega-3, iron, protein and zinc, too.
Hair Products to Help Boost Volume and Thickness
The perfect complement to your diet plan for alopecia? The right hair-care products designed to help add volume and fullness to thinning strands while also fortifying hair follicles with essential hair-strengthening ingredients.
Our Superpower Fortifying Hair & Scalp Serum contains a powerful blend of ingredients including caffeine and niacinamide to nourish the scalp to promote thicker, healthier hair.
Our Lift Me Up Hair Thickener is designed to wrap around thinning hair strands to lift hair at the roots while nourishing the scalp and follicles for healthier, thicker-looking hair instantly and over time.
And there’s no substitute for the volumizing boost that our Wake Up Call Volumizing Shampoo and Conditioner give fine, thinning strands. Together this duo hydrates, strengthens and adds manageability without adding weight—and they’re clinically proven to reduce breakage by up to 98%!
Tell us: Have you tried a plant-based diet plan for alopecia? Share your experience in the comments below?
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