Tuesday, February 24, 2015

11 Foods That Are Making Your Hair Fall Flat

By Emily Alford

If your hair has been looking a little flat and lifeless lately, it could be more than just winter hat head. The culprit behind your dull locks might just lie in your refrigerator.

Most of us are pretty superficial when it comes to hair — meaning we try to make our manes more presentable with superficial solutions, like conditioners and hair products. But really, when it comes to a great head of hair, the answer lies within. A poor diet is often the cause of all manner of hair calamities, from greasy scalps to brittle ends.

“Healthy hair is more than just the shampoo you're using,” says Carlene Thomas, registered dietitian and author of Healthfully Ever After.  “Healthy hair starts with a healthy diet. Eating sugary or nutritionally empty foods edges out the foods that can help you have that healthy hair: quality protein, B vitamins, and healthy fats.”

Some of the best foods you can eat for glossy, healthy hair, according to Thomas, are foods high in Omega 3 fatty acids, which the body needs for energy and cell production. “For glossy locks, don't skip the fat,” says Thomas. “Pick healthy fats like olive oil, fish, nuts, and avocado.”

Skipping meals is actually one of the worst things you can do for your hair. If you’re cutting calories in preparation for swimsuit season, don’t be surprised if you’re rewarded by a dry scalp and a thinning hairline. According to certified hair restoration surgeon Alan J. Bauman, hair loss is common this time of year in what he calls “February Follicle Fallout,” when New Year’s crash dieting leads to mass hair loss in many well-intentioned dieters.

But before you run out and stock up on super hair power foods, be sure to check our list of the foods that damage hair and seriously increase your risk of ponytail days.

Greasy meats like fatty bacon can actually lead to more oil production in the body, especially on the scalp, says Carla Rivera, hairstylist and co-founder of Hair La Vie. It’s best to blot your bacon or, better yet, skip it for leaner protein.

Too much sugar could be leading to more than just trouble with your waistline. According to registered dietitian and recipe columnist Michelle Dudash, “Foods with a high glycemic load may be associated with increased sebum production, which can lead to oily skin, and, therefore, oily hair.” Since most candy has a super high glycemic index, your intake could be taking its toll on your hair.

If you’re cutting down on calories by gorging on carrots, you might not be doing your hair any favors, says Michelle Dudash. Carrots are one of the best sources around for Vitamin A, but some studies have shown that too much Vitamin A can actually lead to thinning hair.

Cereal is often considered a meal in the United States.  Unfortunately, replacing protein with a starchy substitute might leave you feeling full, but it won’t do your hair any favors. Foods, like cereal, that are quickly broken down into sugar can increase the body’s androgen levels, which often leads to hair loss, especially in women.

French Fries
Not only can fatty foods lead to increased oil production, they often end up all over your face and hair, damaging your strands, according to Carla Rivera. “Anything that irritates your skin will bother your scalp, which can damage your hair follicle,” says Rivera.

Frozen Dinners
Frozen dinners are often preserved with salt, and too much salt means dried out, lifeless hair. “Consuming a lot of salty meals and snacks will dry your hair out and leave it weak, lifeless, and broken,” Rivera says.

Jasmine Rice
If you’re eating a ton of white jasmine rice, you may be taking in more sugar than you realize, according to Dudash. Jasmine rice has a higher glycemic index than most other starches, and consuming it in bulk could lead to more oil on the face and scalp, resulting in limp, oily hair.

Negative Calorie Foods
Sure, celery, cantaloupe, and other foods that require more calories to chew and digest than they contain might help your waistline, but heavy dieting isn’t doing your hair any favors. “By eating a diet that leaves you sickly, your body won't put the calories towards maintaining your glossy and healthy hair,” says registered dietitian Carlene Thomas.

Pasta and other starchy foods may be an easy way to get full fast but eating too much starch at the expense of protein could keep your body from producing the proteins it needs for shiny, healthy locks. “Your hair is actually made of a protein called keratin,” Rivera says. “Diets low in protein will leave hair limp and unhealthy. That bounce and shine most ladies want is not possible without a healthy dose of protein.”

Potato Chips
Chips are really more salt than potato, and an excess of salt can lead to dehydration. But dehydration means more than just feeling thirsty; it can dry out skin and leave hair brittle.

While mercury poisoning is actually pretty rare, even the trace amounts found in fish like swordfish could lead to thinning hair. To avoid mercury, the FDA recommends canned tuna and salmon instead.

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