If you want long, strong and healthy hair, it matters how you treat it. Not only are there habits that can stunt hair growth, there are also foods that are quite toxic for your hair. Depriving yourself of certain vitamins and minerals can lead to weak, damaged hair and hair fall. On the flip side, ensuring you practice good hair habits and eat foods that are good for your hair can make it strong, healthy and beautiful. Check out the 7 worst foods for hair growth so you can steer clear of them as much as possible!
5 Habits that Stunt Hair Growth
1. Overusing Styling Tools
It’s no secret that the repetitive use of hot styling tools on your hair can lead to damage and breakage. The high temperature strips away oils and proteins from the hair, disrupting the moisture balance and leading to hair thinning. Heat can restructure and restyle your hair pattern by breaking down hydrogen bonds in your hair. Using heat tools regularly can open up the hair shaft over time, leading to things like breakage, dry, brittle strands and decreased shine. Make sure to always use a heat protectant when using hot styling tools and try to use them as sparingly as possible.
2. Tight Hairstyles
Different types of braids, tight hairstyles and hair extensions can cause stress to the hair shaft, which can lead to hair loss. Make sure not to go overboard with slick ponies and tight braids. Braids that are too tight can lead to tensile stress, which occurs when there’s constant tugging on the hair follicles. Regular tensile stress can lead to hair loss conditions, such as traction alopecia. Give your hair a few days to recover and rest in between tighter hairstyles.
3. Sun Exposure
Although too much sun exposure doesn’t directly lead to hair loss, it does damage your hair, causing it to lose volume and break easily. The UV radiation from the sun can degrade the proteins that make up your strands. Make sure to also protect your scalp from sunburn, which could hurt your hair follicles due to inflammation.
4. Bleaching Your Hair
Bleaching the colour from your hair damages the cuticle, which causes the hair fibre to become thinner and more prone to breakage. Over bleaching leads to dryness and frizziness and can cause a lot of damage to your locks.
5. Poor Diet
The foods you eat (or don’t eat) have a direct effect on hair growth. If you’re lacking certain nutrients and vitamins, you may be preventing your hair from growing longer and stronger. A lack of iron, zinc, niacin, fatty acids, selenium, folic acid, antioxidants, biotin, protein and vitamins A,D and E in your diet can lead to poor hair health and even hair loss. Being low in one or a few of these can seriously stunt your hair growth.
7 Worst Foods for Hair Growth
There are numerous reasons sugar is detrimental to hair health. For one, protein is very important for your hair and sugar hinders the absorption of protein. A diet high in sugar can also lead to insulin resistance, which can lead to hair loss and even balding in both men and women. Sugar can also lead to poor circulation and once your circulation is affected it’s difficult for blood to reach all the way up to your hair follicles.
2. Starchy, Refined Grains
White bread, white pasta, cakes, pastries, and other refined grains are converted into sugar, which can cause your hair to thin. Stick to eating whole grains as much as possible for hair and overall health.
3. High Sodium Foods
High levels of salt can be detrimental to hair growth. Similar to sugar, sodium deposits can build up around the hair follicles and prevent important nutrients from entering your follicles. If your hair follicles can’t absorb these nutrients, hair loss can gradually occur.
High levels of mercury have been linked to hair loss and swordfish are very high in mercury. Mercury interacts with other mineral traces in your body, the main of which you need to worry about is zinc. Mercury and zinc don’t get along very well, which can lead to a zinc deficiency and in turn hair thinning and hair loss. Typically, the bigger the fish, the higher levels of mercury it has in it, so steer clear of swordfish, mackerel and even some tuna.
Alcohol slows the levels of zinc in your body, and zinc is known to be key for healthy hair and growth. Drinking alcohol also dehydrates you, which can lead to dry, brittle hair that’s prone to breakage. Alcohol also has a negative impact on protein synthesis, which can lead to hair getting weaker and becoming less shiny.
6. Carbonated Drinks
Carbonated drinks interact with the insulin in your blood and make it less responsive to sugar. This increases the sugar in your bloodstream, which can decrease circulation and lower the nutrient supply in your hair follicles. This can cause hair loss and unhealthy hair.
7. Greasy Foods
The scalp releases an oily substance called sebum, which provides moisture to the skin on your scalp as well as to your hair. When you fill up on greasy foods, sebum also tends to get greasy, which causes your hair to also look greasy and limp. With grease covering your hair follicle, it makes it difficult for your hair to grow and can result in hair fall.
To ensure your hair is as healthy and strong as possible, limit these foods and habits that can lead to hair loss.