To be healthy, hair needs a combination of nutrients. Minerals such as iron, magnesium, selenium, copper and vitamin E all contribute to hair health. These minerals work together to make important proteins that promote hair growth. It can be difficult to incorporate the appropriate amount of iron into the daily diet.
However, those who are deficient in iron can begin losing hair. Lean red meat contains high amounts of iron. as well as oysters, pork and fish. Many vegetables contain high amounts of iron, as well. The best vegetarian sources of iron include spinach, pumpkin seeds, lentils and beans.
Protein intake is another important factor when it comes to healthy hair. This nutrient is the primary component in a strand of hair, making it essential to the normal growth cycle. When protein intake is insufficient, it can cause hair to enter a resting phase where it does not grow and hair is shed. This can be a frightening prospect for those who begin to lose hair more quickly than normal. Fortunately, there is an easy fix for this problem. Increasing the intake of lean protein each day will reverse the effects of protein deficiency. Many foods contain protein, but most people do not eat the necessary amount each day. Lean beef, fish, soy, whole grains, chicken, beans and eggs are all sources of protein that will encourage healthy hair growth.
Vitamin D is another important nutrient that plays a role in healthy hair production. The sun produces vitamin D, but lengthy exposure could cause skin cancer. To increase vitamin D, drink fortified milk and orange juice. Many breakfast cereals are also fortified with vitamin D.
A doctor can order laboratory tests to determine if nutritional deficiencies are present. If iron or vitamin D levels are low, doctors can prescribe a supplement that will help restore these levels to a normal state. Some other factors can contribute to hair thinning or hair loss.
Many women shed large volumes of hair after pregnancy. Those who are on a strict, low-calorie diet may also find more hair in the sink than usual. Doctors contribute this to stress from weight loss. However, once weight stabilizes hair growth will return to normal. To avoid excessive hair loss, eat a well-balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals. Taking a multivitamin each day will also promote the growth of healthy hair.