Hair Loss and Food: What You Should Know

By: Wendy Wu, R.D., M.S.

hair loss happy dietitian

Notice a little more hair gunk in the drain? Hair bunnies by your floor molding? There are many causes of hair loss. Some examples include genetics, stress, excessive hairstyling, diseases like diabetes, anemia, thyroid problems and lupus, major illness, medical treatments like chemotherapy or radiation, hair treatments like dying, perming, and bleaching, scalp infection like ringworm, hair-pulling disorder, hormonal changes due to pregnancy, certain medications for treating GOUT, depression, arthritis, heart problems, high blood pressure, taking or discontinuing birth control pills and finally, poor nutrition.

Remember! Losing 100 strands of hair a day is completely normal.

food and hair happy dietitian

How does poor nutrition affect hair loss you ask?

Since Hair is made up of protein, you need to eat a protein rich diet: Average Americans need not worry as most are getting enough protein. However, pregnant women, women lactating, child and adolescent growth periods and athletes need more.

So if you’re not pregnant, lactating or Jeremy Lin (heeHee) then you probably don’t need too much protein.

pregnant happy dietitian   lactating happy dietitian   jeremy lin happy dietitian

How much protein do I need a day?

Divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 to convert your weight into kilograms, then multiply by 0.80.

Ex: 120lbs / 2.2 = 54.5 kg x .8 = 44 grams (g)

Best protein sources include: skinless poultry, fish, seafood, lean meat, and low fat and nonfat dairy products.

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steak happy dietitian  dairy happy dietitian

Beans, lentils, soy, and nuts are incomplete proteins so they need a partner to be complete.

happy dietitian Grains + Legumes, Grains + Nuts/Seeds or Legumes + Nuts/Seeds make the perfect match!

Ex: Peanut Butter on Whole Wheat Bread

peanut butter happy dietitian

Rice and Beans

rice and beans happy dietitian

Whole Wheat Bread with Sesame seeds

ww bread sesame seeds

Hummus (Chick Peas + Sesame Paste)

hummus happy dietitian

Trail Mix (Nuts + Sunflower Seeds)

nuts and seeds happy dietitian

Let’s Calculate:

2 Tablespoons Peanut Butter = 8 g

1/4 cup Almonds = 8 g

3 oz Tofu = 7 g

1 large Egg = 6 g

1 Cup Milk = 8 g

3 oz Salmon = 19 g

6 oz Steak = 42 g

3 oz Oven roasted fat-free chicken breast, sliced, no bone = 15 gm

Get your Iron Boost:

Iron is essential for the formation of hemoglobin and certain enzymes, and for many proteins and enzymes that maintain good health.

Males 19 years and older need only 8 grams of iron per day.

Women 19-50 years need 18 grams of iron per day.

Best iron sources:

Red meat, Egg yolks, Dark, leafy greens (spinach, collards), Dried fruit (prunes, apricots, raisins), Iron-enriched cereals and grains (check the labels), Mollusks (oysters, clams, scallops), Beans, Lentils, Chick peas, Soybeans, Liver, and Artichokes.

red meat happy dietitian  happy dietitian

egg yolk happy dietitian


Other Factors:

-Inadequate intake of Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Calcium and Omega-3-fatty acids may also affect hair loss.

-Fad diets, Crash diets, and eating disorders may cause hair loss due to inadequate nutrient intake.

So in other words: Poor Nutrition = Hair Loss

It is best to consult with your physician if you are overly worried about hair loss.

5 thoughts on “Hair Loss and Food: What You Should Know

  1. I found this to be so interesting. I was losing my hair for so long and never thought it was my diet. Then I got diagnosed with celiac disease and stopped eating anything processed and boom my hair came back…and many other ailments went away as well,

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