Anti-Inflammatory Foods for the Best Scalp Health
Are you dealing with hair loss, thinning, and other hair-related issues? You’re not alone. The solution is to target the problem at its roots, literally.
Hair strands are simply dead tissue, and the only part of our hair that’s alive is the root. So, maintaining your hair health and scalp health go hand in hand.
One of the most common issues that lead to hair loss is scalp inflammation which reduces hair growth and increases hair loss.
But did you know you can combat this common issue with changes in your diet? Read on to learn about anti-inflammatory foods for scalp health.
Understanding Scalp Inflammation
We need to know why it happens before we learn how to reduce scalp inflammation naturally.
Scalp inflammation is not exactly a rare condition and can happen to anyone. For example, it can occur as a symptom of microbial infections. Dermatitis and folliculitis are synonymous with inflammatory responses in the scalp.
It’s also possible that your scalp is inflamed because of an allergic reaction. Take a look at your haircare products, as you may be allergic to one of the ingredients. There may also be a mold infestation present in your home, causing this allergic reaction.
Other causes of scalp inflammation include autoimmune conditions and hormonal imbalances. For example, psoriasis and eczema can attack the scalp. Meanwhile, conditions like androgenetic alopecia are a result of hormonal fluctuations that trigger inflammation. For more information regarding triggers of scalp inflammation, please see this blog.
Anti-Inflammatory Foods for Scalp HealthHere are five types of foods for the best scalp health:
Protein intake is crucial for scalp health, providing essential amino acids for hair structure and growth.
Lean poultry is one of the best protein sources since chicken and turkey are low in saturated fats. You could also consider fatty fish like salmon and mackerel for omega-3 fatty acids. Lean-cut meats like beef or pork aren’t just a great source of protein but are packed with zinc and iron, too.
If you are vegan, you can get your share of protein from lentils, chickpeas, and black beans, which are rich in iron and essential amino acids. Add almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds to your diet, too, since they’re packed with omega-3s.
Soy-based products like tofu and tempeh also have potential anti-inflammatory effects.
Any diet is incomplete without the right leafy greens. That includes spinach, kale, and Swiss chard. Their abundance of vitamin C promotes sebum production, a natural scalp conditioner.
These greens also contain folate, contributing to cell division and promoting a healthy scalp environment. But wait, there’s more. Leafy vegetables are also antioxidant-rich, helping you combat oxidative stress.
You must also eat cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. Besides being antioxidant-rich, these greens contain vitamin C, which aids collagen production for healthy hair follicles. Their sulfur compounds assist your body’s natural detox to reduce inflammation.
You can also treat this condition with herbs and their essential oils. Rosemary, Indian gooseberry, sage, and peppermint are all great herbs for scalp inflammation.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are also must-haves in an anti-inflammatory diet for scalp health.
Almonds are rich in vitamin E, acting as an antioxidant to protect scalp cells from oxidative damage. Meanwhile, walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids that reduce inflammation. Flaxseeds and chia seeds are also packed with omega-3s and protein.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3s are absolutely crucial for scalp health, which is why any foods with these fatty acids are good for your hair. Found in fatty fish like salmon and flaxseed, omega-3s reduce inflammation and promote scalp circulation. They also maintain a balanced scalp microbiome.
You can also get omega-3s from basil seeds, eggs, Brussels sprouts, soybeans, oysters, caviar, pilchards, and leafy greens.
If you don’t prefer the texture of flaxseed and basil seeds in your food, use flaxseed oil and cod liver oil, as both can be used to make the best anti-inflammatory foods for scalp health.
Your diet needs fruits that are rich in antioxidants. That includes all kinds of berries, which contain vitamin C to protect scalp cells from oxidative stress. Citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits also provide vitamin C and promote collagen production.
Lastly, apples contain quercetin, an antioxidant that may reduce inflammation in the scalp.
How Anti-Inflammatory Foods for Scalp Health Work
Now that we know how to reduce scalp inflammation naturally, it’s time to move on to some more questions. How do these foods help with scalp inflammation? And what else can they do for our scalp health?
- Reducing Oxidative Stress: Many of the above-mentioned foods combat scalp inflammation by reducing oxidative stress. Their antioxidant properties neutralize the free radicals damaging your scalp cells. This is particularly true for berries (vitamin C), almonds and walnuts (vitamin E), and flaxseeds (omega-3s).
- Controlling Immune Response: Other than that, these foods control the immune response to prevent chronic inflammation. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli contain sulforaphane, which can regulate immune reactions. That’s also true for apples, which contain quercetin with immune-modulating properties.
- Maintaining a Healthy Scalp Microbiome: Lastly, anti-inflammatory foods support a balanced scalp microbiome. Probiotics in foods like yogurt and kimchi lead to beneficial micro-growth, preventing harmful bacteria. Meanwhile, omega-3s and essential nutrients contribute to better scalp balance.
An Anti-Inflammatory Diet Plan to Improve Scalp HealthHere’s a sample anti-inflammatory diet plan to get you started on your scalp health journey.
- Breakfast: Greek yogurt parfait, avocado toast, or oatmeal with nuts.
- Lunch: Salmon salad, quinoa and chickpea bowl, or miso soup.
- Dinner: Grilled chicken with broccoli, baked salmon with asparagus, or stir-fried tofu and vegetables.
- Snacks: Mixed nuts, berries, dark chocolate, or raw veggies with hummus.
Our team has been following The Galveston Diet by Dr. Mary Claire Haver. She is a board certified OBGYN specializing in menopause and peri-menopause. We have found her research to be very valuable in understanding anti-inflammatory foods and how it relates to overall health - not just for women.
We recommend her book as its easy-to-follow recipes are delicious and healthy. Remember, when we care for our systemic health, our scalp and hair health will benefit.Remember to stay hydrated with plenty of water throughout the day since dehydration can also enhance scalp inflammation. At the end of the day, enjoy a warm cup of antioxidant-rich green tea.
Scalp inflammation is a pretty common problem, but it’s just as easy to reduce. With the right anti-inflammatory diet, you can reduce inflammation in your entire body, benefiting your overall health.
To target inflammation in the scalp directly, consider adding one of our topical scalp treatments to your holistic routine. The natural plant-based extracts reduce inflammation, stimulate the follicles, lessen hair fall, encourage hair growth and enable your scalp to become a welcome environment for consistent hair growth. It’s all backed by science, so why wait?Order our overnight HAIRMETTO® Topical Saw Palmetto Oil and HAIRMETTO® Ecklonia Cava Styling Treatment and start your journey to a healthier scalp now. Enhance your results by ensuring your diet is packed with anti-inflammatory nutrients and give your follicles the best environment to thrive!