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Nutritional Aspects
 

 

Alimentary aspect. Hair -like skin and nails- is constantly renewing itself and its metabolism and regeneration are directly related to food habits, in the same way that its beauty is essential to it. Besides, the hair follicles cells have a special feature: their reproductive speed is higher than other cells of the body. That is the reason why hair growth in humans is fast and it is conditioned to metabolism or endocrinal disorders.

Extremely greasy or dry hair, or what is worse, loss of hair, are usually signs of an internal body problem. Therefore, we can state that hair’s ‘looks’ are directly related to people’s food habits, since there is a direct relation between food nutrients and metabolism and between metabolism and hair follicles growth.

Nutritional deficiencies end up weakening the hair follicle structure, causing breakage and slow regeneration, which takes away the hair’s natural beauty. These hair disorders can be fixed by following an appropriate and balanced diet. Among the most important micronutrients we find vitamin A, vitamin B, biotin, vitamin C, copper, iron, zinc and chromium. The most important macronutrients are proteins. We cannot, though, forget about the importance of daily intakes of water (sometimes during intense exercise or while playing sports, the body can suffer temporary states of dehydration) which is present in all metabolic processes. The recommended amount of water –or liquids in general- per day is around 6 or 8 glasses.
Therefore, any lack of vitamins, minerals or proteins can lead to hair weakening, fragility and loss. The lack of iron in people with anaemia or with iron deficiencies, can also damage hair or even trigger its loss.
 


Macronutrients and hair loss (proteins and fats):


In certain types of low calories diets, the proportion of proteins is reduced below the daily recommended amounts, which can lead to weak hair that gets thinner and more opaque each day, losing its natural beauty. This translates into breakable hair with split ends and precocious loss. To keep a good biological-quality protein dose, daily diet should include enough amounts of eggs, dairy products and fish. The intake of fat is determined by the presence of fats of vegetal origin (nuts and olive oil) which prevent dry and breakable hair. Another indispensable kind of fats for hair growth is linoleic acid (present in sunflower oil and soy oil) which is essential for hair to grow strong and shinny. Sometimes, people whose diets include excessive percentages of fats or carbohydrates present eczema and itch on the scalp that leads to scratching and possible weakening of hair roots.

 

 

Micronutrients and hair loss: (Biotin, Folic Acid, Chromium and Zinc)


 
The association between biotin and folic acid is necessary for the metabolism of the tissues with quick multiplication cells, like most teguments: hair, skin and nails. For people on healthy diets, the biotin deficiency is rather rare. Besides absorbing it through food, biotin is also generated by the intestinal saprophyte bacteria. Biotin is found in eggs, liver and cereals. In addition to participating in the cellular multiplication of epidermal and hair follicles cells, the folic acid also acts on the formation of leucocytes and erythrocytes and in the synthesis of diverse neurotransmitters.

 

It can be found in vegetables, oranges, beets, broccolis, liver and some cereals. Many dermatologists are consulted by people who suffer from hair loss which is related to their alimentary habits.


For a diet to be adequate and complete there has to be a balance between the micronutrients (vitamins, minerals and electrolytes). Among the last group, the most important are Zinc and Chromium, because they take part in several biochemical processes of the organism. The shortage of Zinc in a diet can be caused by a low calories diet, by a deficit in the intestinal absorption, the excessive intake of alcoholic beverages or the intake of certain medications like diuretics. When the levels of Zinc in blood are below normal, the person can have dry and breakable hair prone to precocious loss. A Chromium deficit in a diet can cause disorders in the glucics and fats metabolism by altering the levels of glucose and cholesterol in blood. People with these problems can suffer from diffuse hair loss and an increase in blood sugar, like diabetic patients.

 


What to eat to prevent hair beauty weakening and its consequent loss


There are certain types of food which, if ingested adequately, at the right time and in the proper quantities and proportions, can improve and increase the follicular nutrition, leading to a stronger hair growth. Tegument, skin and nails, including the scalp, will also improve their ‘looks’ with an adequate diet. Vegetables, like salads and fruits, should represent a third of the food ingest a minimum of five days a week. For an energetic balance, the organism needs carbohydrates, which are abundantly found in vegetables, fruits and cereals. Proteins are present mainly in meat, eggs, milk, legumes and cereals. All dairy products ingested must be non-fat and low-calories. When it comes to high glycemic carbohydrates, potatoes, pastas and bread intakes should be reduced because they become glucose and stimulate the production of insulin. Regarding alcoholic beverages, they should be drank with moderation because their excess can decrease the levels of Zinc, folic acid and vitamins C and B. The amount of daily coffee should also be restricted because caffeine excess reduces the levels of vitamins C and B and the concentration of certain minerals like Zinc and Potassium. Extra-fat food, fried food, chocolates and creamy ice-creams are not recommended on a daily basis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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