Hair loss is a stressful health challenge that I can relate to personally. I struggled with hair loss for years, and it’s one of the main reasons I decided to study integrative medicine.
For us women, hair loss is uniquely stressful. Hair is a part of our expression, beauty, and sense of self. Losing your hair can have a major effect on your mood and self-confidence.
Female hair loss is more common than you might think. Over the past decade, I’ve worked with thousands of women, many of whom have issues with hair that’s thinning or falling out.
The first thing I do with my hair loss patients is look at diet. What you eat has a big impact on your hormones and stress levels — two of the most frequent root causes of hair loss. A lot of times, eating the right foods can stop hair loss in its tracks. In this article, I’ll share my top five foods to prevent hair loss and build healthy, lustrous hair.
Eggs are one of the best foods you can eat for hair loss. Egg yolks in particular are a rich source of nutrients that support healthy hair. Egg yolks contain vitamins A, B6, B12, E, and K, as well as folate and biotin. These nutrients support protein synthesis in your hair follicles and may make hair less brittle, decreasing the chances of it breaking or falling out .
Egg whites are also helpful when it comes to hair loss. Often, women lose their hair because they aren’t eating enough protein . Egg whites are almost pure protein, and egg white protein is one of the most bioavailable proteins you can eat (it’s second only to whey protein).
Just make sure you cook your whites thoroughly. Runny or raw egg whites can actually decrease protein absorption and prevent you from taking up nutrients like biotin .
2. Grass-fed beef
Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency worldwide. It’s especially prevalent in women, partly because we lose iron-rich blood during our menstrual cycles.
Iron deficiency is also one of the most common causes of hair loss . Researchers don’t know exactly why low iron levels cause your hair to fall out, but they suspect it prevents cells in your hair follicles from replicating, causing thinner, weaker hair .
Grass-fed beef is one of the best sources of iron you can eat. Beef contains heme iron, which is significantly more absorbable than the iron in plants , and eating red meat several times a week will keep your iron levels high and prevent your hair from thinning or falling out.
3. Wild-caught fatty fish
Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, and anchovies are packed with omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are healthy fats that support your brain, skin, and, according to recent research, your hair.
Women with hair loss saw a significant improvement when they ate a combination of omega-3s and antioxidants daily , and a 2018 study found that omega-3s derived from mackerel sped up hair growth in mice .
For stronger hair, try eating wild-caught fatty fish at least twice a week. Make sure you choose low-mercury fish like sockeye salmon, mackerel, sardines, and anchovies. Avoid tuna, swordfish, orange roughy, and other high-mercury options.
4. Fresh berries
Stress is another common cause of hair loss, especially in women. Both physical and emotional stress cause inflammation, which can lead to something called telogen effluvium.
Telogen effluvium is hair loss caused by oxidative stress on your hair follicles. The stress causes your hair follicles’ growth cycle to cut short, making your hair fall out .
Antioxidants are powerful anti-inflammatory compounds that protect your cells from oxidative stress. They can reduce the impact of stress on your body and decrease cellular damage, which can save your hair.
Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries are all exceptional sources of antioxidants. Eat at least one handful of fresh berries every day to help keep your hair strong.
And if you’re going through a stressful time in your life, try using these tips for fast stress relief.
5. Colorful veggies
Brightly colored veggies are rich in antioxidants, as well as vitamins and minerals that keep your hair luscious. They’re also an excellent source of vitamin C, which stimulates collagen production and strengthens your hair, skin, teeth, and nails. Vitamin C is also essential for iron absorption, which further supports healthy hair .
Ideally, you want to eat at least six servings of vegetables a day. Good choices are:
- Sweet potato
Eat the right foods for healthier hair
When it comes to healthy hair, your diet is one of the most important things to get right. Eat plenty of the five foods listed above to prevent hair loss and keep your hair thick and shiny.
And for extra support, why not add Lush Locks to your supplement routine? I created it specifically for women who struggle with hair loss related to stress or hormone imbalances. Lush Locks is a potent combination of vitamins, minerals, herbs, and amino acids that support healthy hair growth. Try it out today!
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3) Guo, E. L., & Katta, R. (2017). Diet and hair loss: effects of nutrient deficiency and supplement use. Dermatology practical & conceptual, 7(1), 1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5315033/#__sec2title
4) Kantor, J., Kessler, L. J., Brooks, D. G., & Cotsarelis, G. (2003). Decreased serum ferritin is associated with alopecia in women. Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 121(5), 985-988. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14708596/
5) Hurrell, R., & Egli, I. (2010). Iron bioavailability and dietary reference values. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 91(5), 1461S-1467S. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20200263
6) Le Floc’h, C., Cheniti, A., Connétable, S., Piccardi, N., Vincenzi, C., & Tosti, A. (2015). Effect of a nutritional supplement on hair loss in women. Journal of cosmetic dermatology, 14(1), 76-82. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25573272
7) Kang, J. I., Yoon, H. S., Kim, S., Park, J., Hyun, Y., Ko, A., … & Kang, H. K. (2018). Mackerel-Derived Fermented Fish Oil Promotes Hair Growth by Anagen-Stimulating Pathways. International journal of molecular sciences, 19(9), 2770. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6164340/
8) Trüeb, R. M. (2009). Oxidative stress in ageing of hair. International journal of trichology, 1(1), 6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2929555/
9) Almohanna, H. M., Ahmed, A. A., Tsatalis, J. P., & Tosti, A. (2019). The role of vitamins and minerals in hair loss: a review. Dermatology and therapy, 9(1), 51-70. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6380979/