Any form of hair loss can be distressing. Alopecia areata is that and more because hair loss may occur long before it may feel “socially acceptable.” And when hair loss affects a woman, there is no level of acceptability to be attained. Alopecia areata occurs when systemic inflammation temporarily incapacitates hair follicles. The immune system prompts this inflammatory response because of a false perception that the targeted follicles are harmful invaders.
This is classic autoimmune dysfunction, and it is something that science is still investigating. On our end, we work with patients to manage alopecia areata with professional medical treatments that support hair growth. In addition to inflammation-reducing corticosteroids and hair growth treatments like Rogaine, there is also value in exploring the link between healthy habits and healthy hair.
Inflammation on Your Plate
Alopecia areata is an immune problem, yet; but the direct issue is inflammation. Numerous studies suggest that certain foods can trigger inflammation in the body. Fortunately, there are also foods that can reduce inflammation. Recognizing which foods have a both a positive and negative effect on the body can give you the power to support hair growth.
To reduce inflammation, experts recommend avoiding animal protein and dairy as much as possible. This is because the saturated fats and acids in meat promote inflammation. In dairy, it is the casein protein that excite inflammation in the body. Fortunately, it is not difficult to obtain ample protein from plants. Common sources include leafy greens such as spinach and even cauliflower. The good news is that many of the same foods that provide protein also contain healthy amounts of calcium.
On the Flip Side
A healthy diet should not be focused on avoidance. Think of all that you can add to your plate to feed hair growth (and great skin, to boot!):
- Healthy fats from nuts, avocados, and coconut oil.
- Foods rich in vitamin B, including tomatoes, romaine lettuce, and carrots.
- Omega-3 fatty acids are in tuna and other fish, as well as Omega-3 supplements.
- Antioxidant-rich foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables.
Science continually shows that what we eat and how we manage stress plays out in our skin, hair, and other biological functions. For support with your hair and skin, contact one of our San Antonio dermatology offices.