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Bad Medicine

Eating Right Might Give You a Better Hair Day

Many people don’t think much about the health of their hair — that is, until its starts thinning. If you're noticing a significant increase in the amount of hair lost per day, you might take comfort in the fact that you are in good company: Hair loss affects about 35 million men and 21 million women in the US alone.

This equates to two-thirds of the male population that will experience noticeable hair loss by the age of 35, and that number jumps to 85 percent by the time they reach the age of 50, according to the American Hair Loss Association.

Hair loss can occur for a variety of reasons. One permanent cause is genetic, but most people don't realize that other causes may be temporary and reversible. Temporary hair loss may be caused by extreme stress, severe illness or childbirth; but the cause that is most easily treatable is a change in diet, according to the AHLA.

Hair needs many vitamins and nutrients to stay healthy. Among them are protein, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc and vitamin A, but not too much: Excess vitamin A can actually cause hair loss, according to researchers at the University of Hawaii.

If you think diet may be the cause of your hair-related woes, try adding some of these hair-healthy foods to your recipes:

  • Beans – Great source of iron, zinc and biotin
  • Almonds, pecans and cashews – Rich in zinc
  • Dark leafy greens (such as spinach, broccoli and Swiss chard) – Contain vitamins A and C, which your body needs to produce sebum (to condition hair)
  • Carrots – Another good source of vitamin A
  • Walnuts& Salmon – Both rich in omega-3 fatty acids
  • Brazil nuts – High in selenium (promotes scalp health)

Healthy Bites appears on MyHealthNewsDaily on Wednesdays. Deborah HerlaxEnos is a certified nutritionist and a health coach and weight loss expert in the Seattle area with more than 20 years of experience. Read more tips on her blog, Health in a Hurry!

Deborah Enos, CN, also known as "The One-Minute Wellness Coach," is The Health Coach for busy, working people. She pares her good-health messages down to simple and fast bullet points that can impact lives in 60 seconds or less. Deborah serves as a board member of the American Heart Association.  In addition to writing the Healthy Bites column for Live Science, Deborah is a regular on FOX Business News, NBC and ABC, and is a frequent contributor to The Costco Connection, Parade Magazine, Self Magazine, Good Housekeeping and USA Today. Deborah is also The One Minute Wellness Coach for The Doctors TV Show.