If you’re starting to see bald patches appear, it may be time to change your diet. Alopecia areata is the medical name for a type of autoimmune disorder where the body causes its own hair to shed in clumps. The extent of this hair loss varies widely from person to person, with some seeing only bald patches while some see almost all the hair on their head fall down.
The exact cause of alopecia remains a mystery, with experts looking at a variety of factors such as stress levels, sub-optimal living or working environments, genetics, and poor diet. The last part is interesting, since even though diet may not always be a primary factor in the onset of alopecia, it is always a factor in its eventual elimination.
There are medical treatments for alopecia, targeting the scalp so that its immune defenses can be stemmed and hair allowed to grow back. Diet acts as an important support here, allowing the body to normalize and have a strong foundation for recovery. Here are some important tips you can follow.
Food & Nutrition Diet (Meal Plan) for Alopecia Areata
#1 Recommended Breakfast Diet for Alopecia Areata
Hair is protein, and for the body to have enough amino acids for protein synthesis it is important to consume healthy sources of protein. This means traditional breakfast fare such as eggs and bacon will do just well. If you are going for meat, though, it is always best to go for lean sources such as chicken, lean cuts, and fish.
Other breakfast-ready protein sources include milk — either regular milk or soy milk — and other soy products such as tofu.
#2 Recommended Lunch Diet for Alopecia Areata
Fish is an excellent lunch fare, both for its protein and for its omega-3 fatty acid content. Omega-3 fatty acids have been proven to help with hair regrowth, and is present in such food sources as salmon and tuna. They can also be found in some vegetables like broccoli and spinach, so having a side of stir-fried veggies (in olive oil) would be perfect.
If you have other types of vegetables on hand, throw them in, too. This goes doubly true for colorful vegetables such as carrots and bell peppers. Such veggies contain a good amount of antioxidants which greatly alleviate the effects of stress and a toxic environment, lessening its effects on the immune system.
#3 Recommended Dinner Diet for Alopecia Areata
Other protein-rich and/or omega-3-rich foods such as trout and herring would do well for dinner, combined with a good cup of vegetable salad for a balanced micronutrient profile. There aren’t many things restricted for alopecia (more on the restrictions later) so you should have more options for food types.
#4 Recommended Snack Diet for Alopecia Areata
Foods that are rich in Vitamin B are perfect for alopecia, since this vitamin helps in reducing the condition’s effects. Vitamin B can be found in nuts, and in many salad ingredients like lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, and more.
#5 Recommended Drinks for Alopecia Areata
Aside from water, which helps balance out immune response, consuming onion juice has been seen to improve hair regrowth and stop hair fall. Juices with aloe vera (whether in jelly or liquid form) have also been seen as beneficial for scalp health. Aloe vera contains many nutrients that strengthen the hair.
Green tea is also helpful in moderate amounts. It contains enzymes called catechins, which help prevent the conversion of certain hormones into follicle-blocking by-products. Excessive green tea drinking (more than 10 cups a day) however can pose harm, as the caffeine content may increase stress levels.
#6 Recommended Herbs for Alopecia Areata
Aside from aloe vera, there are several other herbal remedies available to those with alopecia. Saw palmetto, for example, helps prevent hair loss for both men and women. Ginkgo Biloba, on the other hand, helps correct blood circulation to the scalp and therefore helps stimulate the growth of hair follicles.
#7 Recommended Fruits for Alopecia Areata
Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruits are rich in Vitamin C, which is also an antioxidant. Aside from helping balance out the immune system, Vitamin C helps increase blood circulation to the scalp. Different berries, which contain bioflavanoids, also perform the same function.
#8 Recommended Vitamins for Alopecia Areata
Vitamin H is a little-known vitamin (more popular as “biotin”) which is part of the B-Complex family. This is the most influential vitamin when it comes to manufacturing skin, nails, and hair. Thiamine or Vitamin B1 is also important since it helps smoothen out immune system issues such as alopecia. Of course, a strong immune system is important so Vitamin C is also a must. A vitamin D deficiency may also be linked to alopecia areata.
#9 Recommended Minerals for Alopecia Areata
Zinc is an important mineral which is also an antioxidant. This protects the body from various byproducts of metabolism which tend to damage the cells and cause the immune system to go haywire. This mineral shines in tandem with Vitamin H, and it is recommended that both are taken at the same time.
#10 Discouraged Food for Alopecia Areata
The most important food to avoid for alopecia include inflammatory foods — and this can be a bit tricky since some people have different sets of foods that can inflame them. For example, casein may be an inflammatory food for many people with alopecia, so it is important to look for other protein sources. Some types of animal meat contain inflammatory acids. Saturated fats can also cause a similar inflammatory response.
In order to keep a healthy and immune-friendly diet, it is recommended that all refined foods be avoided. This includes sugary food, since sugar can greatly upset the body’s hormonal balance. Artificial ingredients may also trigger unusual immune responses. As much as possible, avoid food that is too fatty or greasy, and if you must fry, use healthy oils like olive oil.
Alopecia areata may look severe, but with proper management and help from professionals it can be turned around and defeated.
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