If you’ve noticed an increase in hair loss and want to find out what’s causing it, many hair health experts suggest analyzing your diet first and foremost. Hair loss is inevitable with age for many of us, but a diet lacking enough protein can lead to thinning and weak hair in general.
We checked with experts on the importance of a protein-rich diet for healthy hair and how much you should consume daily if stronger, shinier hair is your goal. From Gene Will, hair expert and co-founder of NiaWigs Inc., Ganima Abdullah, hair expert and hairdresser at The Right Hairstyles, and Lisa Richards, registered dietitian and creator of the Candida Diet. Read on for tips, suggestions and insights.
How Protein Supports Healthier Hair
One of the major nutrients that has the most impact on the health of our hair is protein, explains Will. The importance of protein is that without protein, hair breaks down and becomes stiff,” she says. Keratin is “the unique protein found in our hair that keeps it healthy and helps the body get the nutrients it needs to maintain healthy hair.”
Protein makes up the entire structure of the hair, so protein deficiency can cause hair loss, she warns. It can lead to hair loss.Will emphasizes that hair is “a very delicate part of our body, so if it’s damaged and weakened, it’s more likely to cause hair loss.”
Richards agrees, strong hair is healthy hair, and is greatly influenced by the nutrients we consume throughout our lives. Keeping hair strong can be more difficult. Thankfully, Richards points out there are many things you can incorporate into your regular diet to help you reach your goal of strong hair. “Maybe they’re foods you already enjoy and just don’t eat on purpose or often.
Protein-rich foods to include in your diet
If you’re following a balanced diet and want to specifically target hair health, Richards says eggs and dairy contain essential nutrients known to prevent and even reverse hair loss. “Biotin, B12, protein, zinc, and omega-6 are all essential to the hair growth process,” she says, and they’re found in these foods. Biotin, in particular, “has been implicated in not only slowing but also reversing hair loss,” Richards adds. Other biotin-rich foods include “seeds and nuts, fish, and sweet potatoes.” These may be a “more ideal option” for those who want to follow an “anti-inflammatory or allergen-free diet that is not suitable for eggs and dairy products.”
Abdullah agrees, explaining that eating protein-rich foods actually boosts keratin synthesis. “Keratin is the protein that makes up most of your hair and nails. Getting more keratin into your body can help keep your hair and nails strong at any age,” she repeats. “Because keratin, which is made from the amino acids of collagen, is the main protein in hair, collagen can give the body the building blocks it needs to produce more hair. Rich foods include “yogurt, meat such as chicken and beef, legumes, and nuts.”
How much protein does hair need?
“One gram of protein per pound of body weight is a good protein goal,” explains Will. adds, “It all depends on your weight and diet strategy.” She concludes that suitable protein sources include “eggs, cheese, salmon, or lean meat.”Another of her pro tips for preventing hair loss is to “do a lot of chemicals.” Avoid products that contain Ultimately, “combine a proper protein-rich diet with regular exercise” to keep your hair healthy.