If you don’t eat this one food, you could be more likely to go bald

Put away the wigs, the hair plugs, and the overpriced growth creams. Science may have a more natural solution to this cranial conundrum—without bidding a not-so-fond farewell to your follicles. According to a growing body of research, vegan or vegetarian diets might be speeding up the process of your hair loss.

Dr. Hilary Jones, a British general practitioner, says that those who ditch meat might lack certain vital nutrients for healthy hair. Meats like beef, pork, and poultry provide high levels of nutrients required for hair growth (particularly iron!) which could accelerate the onset of baldness. Try these 9 ways to stop hair loss right now.

Related: Eat more of these foods to prevent hair loss

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Foods That Prevent Hair Loss
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Foods That Prevent Hair Loss

Len Glassman, a certified health nutritionist, trainer and owner of the Personal Best Training Center, offers up the necessary nutrients that will keep the hairs on your head there longer.

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VITAMIN A

An adequate intake of vitamin A is key to helping promote the growth and health of cells and tissues throughout the body, including the hair and scalp. Vitamin A gets delivered to our bodies in two ways: from plant and animal sources. Hair healthy plant sources include red, yellow and orange fruits and vegetables like carrots as well as some dark green leafy vegetables. Some heavy-hitter animal sources for vitamin A include liver, fish oil, eggs and fortified milk.

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VITAMIN B6, FOLIC ACID, VITAMIN B12

All three of these B vitamins are essential to the normal formation of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen from the lungs to tissues in the body, including the hair. Healthy and strong hair relies on a constant supply of blood and oxygen. A deficiency of these B vitamins is like cutting off the blood supply to your hair, leading to increased hair loss, damaged hair and slow re-growth. Best sources of vitamin B6 and B12 are protein-rich foods like meat, chicken, fish, eggs, pork and soybeans. Your best bet for sources of folic acid are leafy vegetables, orange juice, avocado, beets, broccoli, wheat germ and some fortified cereals.

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VITAMIN C

Vitamin C is essential to producing collagen, a connective tissue that gives structure by holding tissues in the body together, such as the tissue in hair. The human body is not able to store vitamin C for long periods of time, so don’t try to load up on it in an effort to make up for lost time; instead, make sure you eat plenty of foods containing vitamin C every day. The best sources of vitamin C are found in plant sources like oranges, berries, melons, peppers, dark green leafy vegetables and tomatoes.

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ZINC

Dandruff and hair loss are both conditions associated with a zinc deficiency. Zinc is a mineral that promotes cell reproduction, tissue growth and repair. Zinc also functions in the maintenance of the oil-secreting glands attached to our hair follicles. Good sources of zinc include foods of animal origin, including seafood, poultry, mussels, shrimp and oysters. Eggs and milk also supply zinc but in smaller amounts. Whole-grain products, nuts, seeds and legumes contain zinc, but in a form that is less absorbable by the body.

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LEAN PROTEIN

Hair is primarily made of protein, so it makes sense to eat protein-rich foods if you’re trying to maintain healthy growth. Without adequate protein intake, the body cannot efficiently make new hair to replace the hair that has shed. However, eating a steak every day isn’t going to help you. High-fat diets result in increased testosterone levels, which have been linked to hair loss—so steaks are not among the foods that prevent hair loss. Stick to leaner proteins such as fish (which has a myriad of health benefits beyond just maintaining your hair), chicken, soy products, low-fat cheese, eggs, almonds, beans and yogurt.

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WATER

Proper hydration is a key factor in healthy hair and in promoting good health. Every cell and every system in the body uses water to function properly, so don’t just wash your hair in it, drink lots of it. Other conditions that may contribute to poor nutrition and cause hair loss as a side effect include eating disorders such as anorexia. Anorexia can cause severe malnutrition and cause a high proportion of hair follicles to stop their growth cycle. Rapid weight loss is another reason for accelerated hair loss. Dropping weight too quickly and/or participating in a fad diet that is not nutritionally sound can cause imbalances in the body and result in increased hair loss.

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RAISE GOOD HAIR

Our daily diet holds the key to the health of your hair. Every day we can make it a priority to choose the best kinds of foods for healthy, long-lasting hair, a healthy scalp and the growth of new strong hair. So the next time your stomach growls, reach for more “hair-raising,” and vitamin packed foods to keep those follicles happy.

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“There are lots of factors causing hair loss in men,” Dr. Hilary Jones told Express. “It could be genetic, due to skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema, a thyroid issue but also because of nutritional deficiencies. Iron deficiency is a factor in hair loss since it’s necessary for hair growth.” Check out these other natural remedies for hair loss, or try this new, cutting-edge treatment that could end baldness for good.

A 2006 review of 40 years of research revealed a close link between iron deficiencies and hair loss. Plus, there’s more reason to munch on meat: A diet rich in iron could even restore your hair, Cleveland Clinic dermatologists say. “We believe that treatment for hair loss is enhanced when iron deficiency, with or without anemia, is treated,” study authors Leonid Benjamin Trost, MD; Wilma Fowler Bergfeld, MD; and Ellen Calogeras, RD, MPH, wrote.

The National Institutes of Health recommends a daily recommended intake of at least 8 mg of iron for men. And iron-rich foods don’t have to come from animals; spinach, beans, and dried fruit contain a healthy dose of the mineral, as well. But talk to your doctor before popping iron supplements, as an iron overload could be just as dangerous as a deficiency, experts say.

On the bright side, new research says that being bald can actually boost your attractiveness. So don’t count the bald guys out just yet!

Related: We're throwing it back to these wild hairstyles 

[Sources: Express, WebMD]

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