The diet that you follow has a direct impact on your body and mind – and scalp.
For example, there are certain types of food you need to consume in less quantity or cut out totally from your diet to control hair fall. These include refined flour, sugar, meat, fish with high mercury content, and greasy food. Smoking and alcohol consumption also play a role in this condition.
You must have them in smaller quantities or avoid them entirely if you want to control your hair fall. (1)
Foods That Contribute to Hair Fall
Here’s a list of foods that are increasing your hair fall:
1. Refined carbohydrates
A diet rich in simple carbohydrates stimulates excess sebum production by the sebaceous glands.
Sebum is good for the hair, but excess amounts of sebum attract microorganisms and cause a breakdown of triacylglycerols and output of a higher amount of fatty acids, which in turn cause scalp inflammation.
Instead, consume a low-glycemic diet consisting of full-grain bread, rice, whole-grain pasta, veggies, and fruit to combat hair loss. (2)
A high intake of sugary foods induces the pancreas to increase insulin production in the body. Such an increase in insulin levels harms the blood vessels responsible for nourishing the scalp, thus leading to hair loss. (2)
There’s nothing bad in grabbing a cup of coffee in the morning, but excessive consumption of it can lead to hair fall.
Researchers found that chronic coffee consumption increased the concentrations of the hormones testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the body. DHT weakens the hair follicles and causes hair to fall out. (3)
4. Fish with high mercury content
Fish is known to have benefits for the hair, but consuming fish with high levels of mercury can lead to hair fall.
A case of a woman experiencing hair loss was investigated, and it was found that she had high mercury levels in her blood due to eating fish. She was suggested to stop consuming the fish causing the alopecia, and her hair loss improved after.
Examples of mercury-rich fish are shark, tilefish, king mackerel, bigeye tuna, and Chilean sea bass. Opt for seafood low in mercury levels such as shrimp, salmon, oysters, and scallops. (4)
5. Meat and fried food
While we all love to binge on fried food because it is so yummy, it comes with a hefty penalty for your health. From causing obesity to cardiac problems, it can also affect your scalp and hair.
Excessive consumption of meat and fried food is the cause of hyperactivity of the sebum glands that can lead to more production of the DHT hormone responsible for hair loss. (5)
6. Soft drinks
Foods with artificial flavors, additives, and artificial sweeteners are responsible for forming free radicals in the body. Hence, you should avoid drinking soft drinks such as colas to prevent hair loss. (5)
7. Chinese food
Ouch! This is going to make someone angry. Yes, Chinese food containing MSG has been proven to cause hair loss.
MSG can have harmful effects on the scalp, including an increase in oxidative stress and protein modification, which increase hair loss in some people. (6)
To control your hair loss, you must quit smoking because it contains nicotine, which is known to lessen the blood flow to the scalp hair follicles through vasoconstriction.
The resulting limited blood supply leads to a higher number of free radicals in the hair roots that damage them. (5)
9. Alcohol consumption
There’s still some more bad news for long-term alcohol consumers; apart from affecting your heart, liver, kidneys, and brain, alcohol is now proven to cause alopecia areata, a type of hair loss that causes bald patches on the scalp.
Alcohol is also one of the causes of atopic dermatitis because it contains metabolite acetaldehyde, which generates large amounts of histamine to be released in the body, resulting in skin redness, itching, and inflammation. (7)
What Does the Science Say?
Researchers have found a link between nutritional imbalance and hair structure and growth.
Moreover, not consuming the right amount of nutrients can lead to hair loss problems. For instance, acute telogen effluvium (TE) is caused by sudden weight loss or inadequate protein intake, and diffuse alopecia is caused by a deficiency in niacin intake.
General Queries on Foods That Are Increasing Your Hair Loss
What foods can help improve my hair fall problem?
Some foods you should make a part of your diet to curb hair fall are kale, spinach, pumpkin, sesame seeds, and ragi. Dark green leafy vegetables are nutrient dense and prevent the problem of hair loss.
A diet rich in proteins such as egg whites, rajma, soyabean, lentils, tofu, and cottage cheese is also extremely beneficial for hair fall.
What fruits are the best for hair loss problems?
Fruits rich in vitamins C and E such as apricots, grapes, and oranges contain antioxidants that protect the hair follicles from free radicals and help absorb iron from the diet. These fruits are exceptionally good for combating hair loss. (1)
Following a balanced diet prevents deficiency of nutrients that are crucial to the hair-building process. You will need to start cutting out all the harmful foods mentioned above from your life to reap a rich crop of hair.
- Guo EL, Katta R. Diet and hair loss: Effects of nutrient deficiency and supplement use. Dermatology practical & conceptual. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5315033/. Published January 31, 2017.
- Goluch-Koniuszy ZS. Nutrition of women with hair loss problem during the period of Menopause. Przeglad menopauzalny = Menopause review. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4828511/. Published March 2016.
- Sarobo C, Lacorte LM, Martins M, et al. Chronic caffeine intake increases androgenic stimuli, epithelial cell proliferation and hyperplasia in rat ventral prostate. International journal of experimental pathology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3521899/. Published December 2012.
- MP; PJBW. Reversible alopecia associated with high blood mercury levels and early menopause: A report of two cases. Menopause (New York, N.Y.). https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30939539/.
- Rajput RJ. Controversy: Is there a role for adjuvants in the management of male pattern hair loss? Journal of cutaneous and aesthetic surgery. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2956962/. Published May 2010.
- Niaz K, Zaplatic E, Spoor J. Extensive use of monosodium glutamate: A threat to public health? EXCLI journal. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5938543/. Published March 19, 2018.
- Minokawa Y, Sawada Y, Nakamura M. Lifestyle factors involved in the pathogenesis of Alopecia areata. International journal of molecular sciences. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8835065/. Published January 18, 2022.