Are you eating your way to bad hair?

Most of us spend a lot of time thinking about how food impacts upon our bodies – but have you ever stopped to consider what your diet might be doing to your hair? It’s all right to treat yourself from time to time, but a consistently poor diet is a serious no-no for healthy hair!


"[…] month, we looked at four foods that are damaging your hair, from sugar..."

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Read on to discover the four food groups that might be damaging your hair…

1. Sugary foods

Jessica Wu, dermatologist to the stars and author of Feed Your Face explains, “just like sugar is bad for the skin…foods that are sugary are bad for your hair and nails.”

Over-indulging in your favourite sweet treats encourages your body to produce more insulin and increases the levels of the male hormone androgen in your system. Androgen then causes the hair follicles to shrink, which leads to hair thinning and hair loss.

To back this up, Nancy Appleton, author of Lick the Sugar Habit, says that excess sugar consumption can actually interfere with the body’s production of Vitamin E, a vitamin which plays a huge part in growing and maintaining healthy hair.

If you’re suffering from thinning hair, try cutting down your sugar intake.


2. Salty foods

Unfortunately for us salt addicts, research by the Mayo Clinic suggests that even the delicious bag of crisps hidden away in the cupboard could have a negative impact on your quest for healthy, manageable hair.

An occasional treat won’t hurt, but you should aim to keep your sodium intake below 2,300 mg a day (1,500 mg for those 50 and over) to achieve strong hair and maintain a healthy body. If you regularly consume more than 2,300mg of sodium per day, you may find that your hair is prone to weakness, breakage and shedding.

Be aware that sodium isn’t just found in junk food, but also in breakfast spreads such as Vegemite, condiments (like soy sauce) and even in cheese.

3. High-glycaemic foods

Foods with a high glycaemic index are quickly broken down into glucose by the body. As with sugary foods, this process causes the body to increase levels of the hormone androgen. In turn, this hormone causes hair loss by narrowing your hair follicles and making it more difficult for them to absorb nutrients.

High-glycaemic foods are generally foods that are high in starch and refined sugars, such as cakes, breads, white rice, potatoes and fruit juices.

Fortunately, research suggests that a low-glycaemic diet can have the reverse effect and combat hair loss. Low-glycaemic foods includes oats, beans, legumes, vegetables and whole grains.

4. Low-protein diets

As our hair is literally made of protein, diets that restrict protein intake may cause hair to become dull, weak and prone to breakage. Protein deficiencies can also be responsible for puffiness around the eyes and brittle nails.

Jessica Wu explains that vegetarians or those with eating disorders are most at risk. Although meat is a good source of protein, there are many protein alternatives available, such as tofu, spinach and lentils.

If you’re suffering from dull hair or experiencing hair loss, the cause might just be your diet. Try not to over indulge in these four food groups that can damage your hair and you may see an improvement in your hair health. You might lose a sneaky inch off of your waist too!

What are your best tips for strong, healthy hair?

Bethany Tyndall writes makeup blog Beauty Junkie.