Hair is a protein fiber (as are nails), which means you need to eat protein to grow new strands and keep the existing ones strong. Protein is also required to produce keratin, a key structural component of hair.
A smart choice is marine-based protein, like salmon, which has been shown to boost hair health in women thanks to its omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin content.
When used as a topical treatment, honey can improve the look of thinning hair. In a study of patients experiencing seborrheic dermatitis, which includes scaling, itching, and hair loss, those who applied a solution of 90% honey and 10% water to their scalp every other day for 4 weeks reported an improvement in hair loss at the end of the study.
Some of the most promising research on reversing female-pattern hair loss was released in January 2015 in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. Subjects in the study received a nutritional supplement containing omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids and antioxidants for 6 months. The results were overwhelmingly positive: After 6 months, 90% of the subjects reported a reduction in hair loss, 86% reported an improvement in hair growth, and 87% reported thicker hair.
To achieve similar results, eat nuts and seeds high in omega-3s and omega-6s, like walnuts, flaxseed, and oils such as grapeseed, sunflower, and sesame.
One study found that women with hair loss have significantly lower iron and vitamin D2 levels than age-matched controls. Spinach is a good bet because it’s rich in iron and high in vitamin C, which aids in iron absorption. Toss a spinach salad with hardboiled eggs or mushrooms, both of which are loaded with vitamin D, to give yourself the best shot at slowing hair loss.
Pumpkin, rosemary, and coconut oils all act as nectar to the scalp. In one study, researchers gave men with hair loss 400 mg per day of pumpkin seed oil or a placebo for 24 weeks. Those who took the pumpkin seed oil experienced a 40% increase in hair growth.
And there’s something to be said for oils even when you don’t eat them: When used as a pre-wash and post-wash grooming product, coconut oil has been shown to protect hair against protein loss, and rosemary oil has been shown to increase hair growth comparable to minoxidil, the main ingredient in Rogaine and with less scalp itching.
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