Diet as a Hair Loss Treatment

diet and hair

Raw foods rich in nutrients and enzymes are more readily available to your body and can help prevent hair loss.

According to nutritionist and author Cherie Calbom, the common American diet actually consists of everything that starves hair follicles of what they need to grow. “When your body has to go into overdrive to supply body systems with necessary nutrients, the first areas to suffer are hair, skin and nails,” says Calbom, author of the classic Juicing for Life (1992). “Those are the least of your body’s worries when it is trying to feed bones, muscles, blood and organs what you need just to survive. But on a typical American diet high in fat, salt, sugar, meat and processed foods, hair doesn’t have a fighting chance!”

Michael Pollan, author of the recently released Food Rules, lays down the number-one fact that emerged from all his research: “Populations that eat a so-called ‘Western diet’ consisting of lots of processed foods and meat, lots of added fat and sugar, lots of refined grains, lots of everything except fresh vegetables, fruits and whole grains, invariably suffer from high rates of the so-called Western diseases: obesity, type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and more than a third of all cancers can be linked to this diet.” So how can you improve your odds of giving hair follicles what they need?

What to cut from your diet to prevent hair loss

“I have noticed a direct correlation in my practice over the years between people who have a high sugar and meat intake and hair loss and thinning issues, so if this is a problem for you, I recommend you cut out sugar immediately,” advises Calbom. She suspects that anything that is acidic in your body such as sugar, meat, coffee, soda, processed saturated fats, and highly refined grains, none of which the body can use for nutrients, hampers oxygen delivery from blood to cells, including hair follicles. When you alkalize the body into a better pH balance by cutting down on these substances and replacing them with fresh sources of nutrients your body can actually use, then oxygen is transported more efficiently to feed cells … and hair follicles are included in that delivery system.

Pollan provides good news when he reports, “People who get off the Western diet see dramatic improvements in their health. The effects of the Western diet can be rolled back, and relatively quickly.”

For healthy hair, add juicing to your diet now!

Calbom stresses that adding fresh fruits and vegetables that have been juiced using a macerating juicer is a quick way to get all the beneficial enzymes, phytonutrients and antioxidants into your body to help hair follicles (and the rest of your body) function at its best. “I’ve noticed that when it comes to hair loss, the dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, alfalfa and parsley, as well as others like green pepper and broccoli, have the largest effect on hair because they deliver nutrients hair needs to be healthy. These include vitamin E, vitamin C plus the B vitamins, with some of the strongest antioxidants, nutrients that seek out and destroy harmful, disease-causing pollution in our blood called ‘free radicals.’” In the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s newest study, scientists at the USDA Agricultural Research Service’s Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston have developed a way to rank the antioxidant value of fruits and vegetables using an analysis called ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity), and the foods listed at the top, including spinach, are the darkest in color, great for helping hair follicles.

In her book Calbom also suggests other dietary additions to provide the raw materials from which hair is produced:

  • Plenty of fresh foods rich in sulfur containing amino acids, specifically L-cysteine and L-methionine: broccoli, brussels sprout and cabbage in addition to eggs and legumes or a small 3-5 ounce serving of lean meat or poultry
  • The B vitamins choline, inositol and PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid): Eggs, wheat germ, oatmeal, brown rice, legumes, spinach
  • Essential fatty acids: Fish, fish oil, flaxseed oil, olive oil

Juice recipes for hair loss

Follow these recipes from Calbom’s Juicing for Life (or any of her many subsequent juicing books), which add apples or carrots for sweetening and antioxidant vitamin A fighting power. You won’t even taste the kale.

Hair Growth Cocktail

  • 2 dark green lettuce leaves
  • Handful alfalfa sprouts
  • 4-5 carrots, greens removed

Green Surprise

  • 1 large kale leaf
  • 2-3 green apples, seeded
  • Lime twist for garnish

Very Veggie Cocktail

  • Handful wheat grass
  • Half a handful parsley
  • 4 carrots, greens removed
  • 3 stalks celery
  • ½ cup chopped fennel
  • Half an apple, seeded

Potassium Broth

  • Handful parsley
  • Handful spinach
  • 4-5 carrots, greens removed
  • 2 stalks celery

Ginger Juice — Topical Hair Growth Tonic

Ginger root stimulates scalp from the outside, and you will feel the tingle.

  • 1- to 2-inch piece ginger, juiced

Pour the juice on your head and massage into scalp. Let dry 10-15 minutes; then shampoo.


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