When you deprive your body of the nutrients it needs for good health and vitality, the results can show up in sallow skin, limp hair, and a dull complexion. If you notice your hair or skin have become dull, dry, and lifeless, then poor dietary choices may be the culprit. The following are 11 poor dietary substances or choices that can show up as brittle, greasy, or even thinning hair.
As sweet and tasty as it may seem, excess sugar does you no favors when it comes to good health. A diet heavy in added sugar causes sharp rises and drastic falls in your blood sugar levels. This sugary roller coaster ride can leave you feeling exhausted. It also takes a toll on your tresses. When you fill up on sugary foods, such as sodas, fruit juices, and candy, you may not have an appetite for wholesome foods. This means you are depriving your locks of the foods that provide the nutrients they need.
10. Processed White Flour
Breads and pastas made from processed white flour have had the nutritious, fiber-rich portion of the grains removed. Filling up on these items provides your body with empty calories instead of the nutrition you need. Instead of delivering vitamins and minerals, these products convert into sugar. Stick to wholesome whole grains such as whole wheat, oats, and barley. Whole grains deliver minerals such as copper, selenium, and zinc, which contribute to shiny, healthy locks of hair.
9. Fish High in Mercury
Consuming fish that is high in mercury may not only cause hair loss but can damage your nervous system, digestive system, and immune system. The FDA recommends avoiding fish that may contain high levels of mercury. Furthermore, the FDA provides a list of healthy and unhealthy fish choices. Examples of fish to avoid include swordfish, king mackerel, marlin, and orange roughy. Instead, choose fish that are rich in the healthy, omega-3 fatty acids that will help keep your hair smooth and shiny. Healthy choices include anchovies, salmon, sardines, clams, tuna, oysters, and clams.
A slice of pizza may contain all four food groups. However, it may be served on a pasty, white crust. If so, it isn’t providing you with the ingredients you need for lustrous hair. If you crave a slice of pizza, choose one made with a healthy, whole wheat crust. Furthermore, avoid processed meat toppings such as pepperoni and ham. Processed meats do nothing to maintain luscious locks. Instead, they are high in sodium and toxic heterocyclic amines. Including nutrient-rich toppings such as spinach, mushrooms, red onions, and artichokes will provide vitamins and minerals for healthy skin and hair.
Pastries, cakes, cookies, and packaged bakery goods are loaded with sugar, white flour, and empty calories. These products will not contribute to healthy, glowing skin or thick, luxurious hair. Skip these items and nourish your body with fresh fruit when you are craving a sweet treat. Colorful berries are rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, and vitamins for healthy hair and skin. If you crave a cookie, bake healthy versions of your favorite treats at home. Oatmeal cookies made with oats and whole wheat flour can provide nutrition as well as satisfying flavor.
6. Fast Food
Indulging in greasy, fried foods will serve only to make your hair dull and listless and your complexion pale and washed out. Avoid the siren call of the drive-thru restaurant. Instead, treat your hair to the vitamins, minerals, and protein found in lean cuts of meat, leafy greens, and whole grains. Fast food is convenient, but it is not time-consuming to put together a tasty salad. Try a salad with spinach, strawberries, pecans, avocado, and a vinaigrette dressing. Keep tasty, wholesome snacks such as fruit, yogurt, and nuts on hand to make it simple to grab a healthy bite.
5. High-Dose Vitamin A Supplements
If you use high-dose supplements to make up for deficiencies in your diet, you may be doing your body more harm than good. A literature review in Dermatology and Therapy suggests that an excessive dosage of vitamin A can cause hair loss. Unless your doctor advises it, avoid taking high dose supplements and stick to food sources for your vitamin and mineral requirements. Vitamin A in proper doses can contribute to healthy hair growth. Spinach, sweet potatoes, carrots, and red sweet peppers are excellent dietary sources of vitamin A.
4. A Diet Lacking in Protein
If your diet is lacking in protein, your hair may become dry, thin, and brittle. You can obtain the protein your body needs from fish or lean cuts of meat. Plants can also be good sources of protein. Enjoy a handful of nuts, a dab of nut butter, or a serving of lentils. Quinoa is another excellent source of protein. Enjoy quinoa in a buddha bowl, added to soups, or mixed into a salad. This Kale, Quinoa, and Avocado Salad with Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette by Allrecipes is packed with plant proteins, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
3. Low Levels of Zinc
Hair loss can result from a diet deficient in zinc. Skip junk foods that only temporarily tickle your taste buds and fill your belly. These items can quickly leave you feeling droopy and lethargic. Good sources of dietary zinc include chickpeas, lentils, pumpkin seeds, and cashews. The Minimalist Baker has a recipe for One-Pot Chickpea Shakshuka that is brimming with flavor and essential nutrients. This recipe combines chickpeas with vegetables such as red bell peppers, tomatoes, garlic, and kalamata olives. Spices such as cumin, chili powder, cayenne, and cardamom add deep flavor.
2. A Diet Deficient in Iron
Sticking to bland foods can deprive your body of the iron it needs for healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen-rich blood to your scalp and skin as well as your organs and extremities. A healthy blood supply leads to healthy hair. Make sure to include iron-rich foods in your daily menu. Shellfish, spinach, beans, and seeds are good sources of iron. Red meat also provides dietary iron. Take care to trim away fatty portions of meat to prevent the negative effects of excess fat.
1. Excessive Alcohol Consumption
Overindulging in alcohol wreaks havoc on your liver as well as your hair. The dehydrating effects of alcohol can leave your hair brittle and dry. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that women drink one or fewer alcoholic beverages per day and that men consume only up to two alcoholic beverages. Keep your skin cells properly plumped up and retain the glossy shine in your hair by drinking plenty of water each day. You don’t need to chug eight glasses of water per day to keep hydrated. Simply listen to your body’s cues and drink when you are thirsty.