Not only does autumn strip trees of their leaves, but this season can also lead to the shedding of our luscious locks! A fifth of UK women over 25 currently suffer hair loss or hair thinning and almost one in ten have suffered some form of hair loss in the past.
Our hair grows from between two to six years, and usually 90% of our hair is growing while the other 10% is ‘resting’ before it falls out. Then the individual hair follicles will rest, before starting this cycle again, and on average this takes place in July*, so by autumn the hair is in the process of falling out.
We asked Shona Wilkinson, Head Nutritionist at www.nurticentre.com for some top tips on which foods are high in nutrients to prevent hair loss, and keep our locks luscious, whatever the weather!
Not only can selenium benefit the skin during healing, following burn injuries, but it also helps to keep your hair nourished, but what foods are high in this? ‘Brazil nuts and wheat germ are a great source of selenium. Other foods rich in selenium are whole grains (barley, wheat, rye, buckwheat, oats and brown rice), fish, seafood and lean meats, sunflower seeds and other nuts such as pecans and almonds. However, sometimes soil in certain areas can be low in selenium, so organic Brazil nuts or a good quality supplement can be a great way to improve the condition of your hair,’ explains Shona.
If you have low zinc levels in your system this can lead to the deterioration of the protein structure that makes up the hair follicle. This weakening of follicles can in turn cause hair shedding and hair loss. ‘Oysters, pumpkin seeds, ginger root, pecans, Brazil nuts, oats, almonds, turnips and garlic are all great sources of Zinc, and are another great way in keeping your hair in tip-top condition,’ says Shona.
If you have low iron levels from your diet, you can develop an iron deficiency, which can lead to thinning hair. ‘Essential sources of iron are pumpkin and squash seeds, liver, millet, almonds, prunes, Brazil nuts, beet greens, Swiss chard, dates, lentils, brown rice and broccoli. These foods really do help to keep your hair healthy!’
Alternatively, you can replenish your iron deficiency and increase your levels of Zinc by taking Women’s Multi Source of life Garden by Nature’s Plus (Whole Foods £29.00), which will assist in keeping your hair strong and healthy.
Hair is largely made up of keratin which is a protein containing the amino acids, cysteine, lysine, arginine and methionine. Of these, lysine and methionine are essential, meaning we must get them from our diet, as we cannot ‘make’ them ourselves.
Shona states key foods, which are rich in these amino acids:
Lysine – brewer’s yeast, chicken, dairy, fish lamb and parmesan
Methionine – beans, beef, dairy products, eggs, fish, garlic, liver, onions and sardines
Cysteine – beans, beef, brewer’s yeast, chicken, cottage cheese, eggs fish, garlic and liver
Arginine – almonds, beans, carob, cashews, chocolate, dairy products, garlic and peanuts
Foods high in biotin
Not only can biotin improve the health of your skin, but it is also a great way to keep your hair strong and revitalised! “Biotin contributes to the maintenance of normal hair, as it plays a role in the production of keratin. You can increase your biotin intake by eating brown rice and legumes, such as soybeans and lentils.
If you have the ‘midday munchies’ the perfect biotin fuelled snacks are nuts and seeds, such as walnuts, pecans, almonds and sunflower seeds. You could also kick start your day with porridge made with whole oats and sprinkled with nuts and seeds to boost your biotin intake, to get that gorgeous and glossy hair growing,” explains Shona.
Try Women’s Multi Source of life Garden by Nature’s Plus (Whole Foods £29.00) to increase your biotin levels, helping you combat against possible hair loss.