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Nutrition to Fight Hair Loss

Today women can be beautiful with or without hair on their heads. When Robin Roberts of the TV show “Good Morning America” lost her hair due to chemotherapy, she walked the runway at an Isaac Mizrahi fashion show completely bald— and she looked sensational doing it!

Hair loss ranges from extensive and permanent (going bald) to mild and temporary (hair thinning). Genes have a great deal to do with hair loss, as do hormonal shifts. For example, while you are pregnant, the percentage of hair on your head that is in the growing phase goes up dramatically.

After childbirth, more follicles than usual enter the hair’s resting phase all at once. When hair cycles all at once, it all falls out at the same time. This can be alarming, but it is completely normal. Fortunately you still have the same number of functioning hair follicles, and the hairs rebalance their phases in a few months at most. While your hair is growing in, it will be thinner than usual, but this is temporary. A similar syndrome can occur after you stop taking birth control pills or switch types of birth control pills.

In addition to age and hormone shifts, causes of thinning hair include:
*Too much styling, straightening, curling, coloring, or blow drying. Hair loss due to overly tight hairstyles is called traction alopecia.

*Physical damage to the follicles, such as burning or scarring

*Illness (such as anemia or thyroid disease) or infection (including fungal infections)

*Disorders that interfere with the body’s ability to digest food and absorb vital nutrients

*Dropping pounds quickly and being undernourished

*Some medications (including chemotherapy)

*An autoimmune reaction called alopecia areata, in which the body attacks the hair follicles and hair falls out. Total hair lossis called alopecia areata totalis, while the loss of all the hair on the body is called alopecia universalis.

*Stress, either physical or emotional

Most causes of hair thinning are temporary, so with proper treatment hair will grow in again. Massaging the scalp can help stimulate blood flow to the scalp and may help hair grow in more rapidly.


To Fight Hair Loss or Thinning Hair
*Follow the nutritional guidelines for growing healthy hair; the lifestyle tips for lovely, luxuriant locks; and the healthy hair maintenance tips in this post.

*If your iron status is questionable, load up on iron-rich foods. Also consider cooking in iron pots.

*Make sure you are getting an adequate amount of protein and zinc in your diet each day.

*Take a multivitamin to ensure adequate intake of vitamins and minerals, however, be careful with supplements. Occasionally hair loss is caused by oversupplementing with individual vitamins or minerals.

*Avoid losing a lot of weight suddenly.

*Drink my beauty beverage, green tea. Some studies have shown that green tea may influence the serum levels of certain hormones that are linked to at least one form of hair loss, androgenic alopecia, which is common in women and men.

Iron’s Role in Beauty
Recommended Dietary Allowance
WOMEN: 18 mg (ages 19 to 50), 8 mg (ages 51 and above)
 MEN: 8 mg (ages 19 and above)

As you probably know by now, iron is a key beauty nutrient. The mineral plays important roles in the health of your hair and nails. There are two types of dietary iron: heme (derived from animal foods) and nonheme (derived from plant foods). The heme variety is easier to absorb; your body will take in up to 35 percent of the iron from animal sources. The nonheme variety is more difficult to absorb; your body takes in only 2 to 20 percent of the iron from plant sources. Vitamin C enhances your absorption of nonheme iron, while calcium can decrease it.

Five Good Whole-Food Sources of Heme
(Better-Absorbed) Iron
1. Chicken liver, cooked, 3 oz. 12.8 mg
2. Oysters, 6 cooked 4.5 mg
3. Beef, chuck, lean, braised, 3 oz. 3.2 mg
4. Clams, cooked, 1/2 cup, 3.0 mg
5. Turkey, light meat, roasted, 3 oz. 1.6 mg

Five Good Whole-Food Sources of Nonheme
(Harder-to-Absorb) Iron
1. Soybeans, boiled, 1 cup, 8.8 mg
2. Lentils, boiled, 1 cup, 6.6 mg
3. Blackstrap molasses, 1 tablespoon, 3.5 mg
4. Spinach, fresh, boiled, drained, 1/2 cup, 3.2 mg
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