Are you worried that your plant-based diet is causing hair loss? This can be very disconcerting, especially you've never experienced hair thinning before. And if it occurred after changing the way you eat, it's reasonable to chalk it up to vegan diet hair loss. But here's the thing, while you are right to be suspicious of your diet, it's important to understand that any diet lacking in essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients can damage healthy hair, and even inhibit the formation of new hair follicles.
Yep — whether you're eating keto, vegan, paleo, or Standard American fare, if you are not getting enough nutrients you are likely to suffer hair loss (among other health concerns). The good news is that you don't have to choose between plant-based foods and healthy hair. You can restore life to your hair, and promote regrowth, by focusing on a well-rounded whole food plant-based diet.
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If you suspect vegan diet hair loss, don't panic! It simply may be time to re-evaluate your vegan diet. And no, I don't mean giving up on your plant-based lifestyle. I mean looking at the vegan foods you're eating and moving way from vegan junk food toward more whole plant-based foods.
What is a Whole Food Plant-Based Diet?
Not all plant-based diets are the same, nutritionally speaking. As plant-based has become more and more trendy the last decade, vegan junk foods are seemingly everywhere.
And look, no judgment here! There are so many delicious vegan products out there and they're an awesome bridge from the Standard American Diet to plant-based eating. That said, vegan doesn't always mean healthy and if health is what you're after, it may be time to focus on whole plant-based foods.
What is a whole food plant-based (WFPB) diet? The WFPB diet picks up where the vegan diet leaves off, nutritionally speaking. Junk food veganism, like any unbalanced diet, can lead to nutritional deficiencies, which can cause the vegan diet hair loss you're concerned about.
A WFPB diet, like a vegan diet, does not include meat, dairy, eggs, or other animal products. However, it also steers clear from refined and processed foods (including foods that contain refined sugar or white flour).
It's a nutrient-dense diet!
OK, speaking of nutrients, did you know hair is a protein? Yep!
Hair are protein filaments that grow from follicles found in your scalp's dermis. So when you think about it, it makes total sense that a diet lacking protein is likely to damage your hair's health and inhibit their growth. While there are plenty of myths about a vegan diet and protein, luckily, a plant-based diet can provide all the protein you need.
Experiencing vegan diet hair loss? You may need to add more protein-rich whole plant foods to your diet to restore your hair's strength and vitality.
Load up on these WFPB protein-rich foods:
Iron is an important mineral when it comes to hair health. Iron deficiency may not only play a role in hair loss, but it could actually cause hair to fall out in a fashion similar to that of genetic male- and female-pattern baldness.
Fortunately, hair loss related to iron deficiency is temporary and can be easily fixed by including more iron-rich foods to your plant-based diet.
Load up on these WFPB iron-rich foods:
- pumpkin seeds
- leafy greens
While a well-rounded WFPB diet can certainly promote regrowth from vegan diet hair loss caused by nutrient-deficiencies, there are certain WFPB foods that are especially great for healthy hair.
Avocado is a great source of biotin, an essential vitamin for healthy, strong hair. In addition, the potassium and magnesium in avocado, make hair appear smooth and shiny, and prevent breakage.
Cucumbers are rich in the mineral silica, which improves collagen production, resulting in beautiful skin, nails, and hair. They also contain pantothenic acid, vitamin K, magnesium, manganese, potassium, vitamin A, sulphur, niacin and zinc, all of which contribute to healthy hair, and less damage and breakage.
Berries are rich in antioxidants, which help protect hair follicles against damage from harmful molecules called free radicals. They are also great sources of vitamin C, which helps the production of collagen and reduces hair loss.
Spinach, and other leafy greens like kale, are rich in vitamin A, which keeps the scalp hydrated, contributing to a healthy hair environment. In addition, vitamins B and C in spinach help in accelerating hair growth by increasing the keratin and collagen levels in the scalp.
5. Sweet Potatoes
The beta-carotene that is converted into vitamin A in our bodies is necessary for hair growth. Make sure to include sweet potatoes in your WFPB diet, as they are rich in beta-carotene, promoting thicker, shinier, stronger hair. (Not to mention they're a bonafide superfood!)
- No matter what diet you're following, if you are not getting enough nutrients you are likely to suffer hair loss.
- If you're suffering from vegan diet hair loss, it may be time to switch to a whole food plant-based diet to get the nutrients you need!
- While a well-rounded WFPB diet promotes healthy hair, these foods in particular can lead to stronger hair: avocados, cucumbers, berries, spinach, and sweet potatoes.
Rafaela Michailidou is a Vegan Lifestyle Coach, and a freelance health and wellness content writer, with a Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.