Vegan, Vegetarian, Pescatarian, Paleo; what diet is the best for hair health?

It seems like every week there’s a new diet trend or fad promising to be the answer to all of life’s problems; dramatic, but true. With these ‘miracle diets’ claiming to aid in weight loss, mood improvements, skin health, digestion and energy, the BondiBoost Team got to thinking; what diet is best for hair health? 

 

1. VEGAN

A vegan diet completely voids the consumption of animals or animals by-products. Yep, a vegan diet means switching those bacon and egg rolls for a ‘faken and mushroom roll’ and T-bones for ‘Tofu Steaks”. 

It’s also worth noting that animal by-products extend beyond the obvious (like eggs, milk, butter, yogurt, honey and ice cream etc.), to other products with ‘hidden’ animal ingredients. These foods are items like jelly (contains gelatine from pigs), foods fortified with D3 (from sheep wool), certain food colorings, some alcohol, candy, Worcestershire sauce and fresh pasta (containing egg) etc.

 PROS FOR HAIR HEALTH CONS FOR HAIR HEALTH
  • Easy to consume lots of nutrients and vitamins that are great for hair health (Vitamin C, E, A).
  • These vitamins are easy to consume only if you are eating a whole foods vegan diet. Just like any other diet, you can eat ‘healthy’ or ‘unhealthy’ food choices (processed/not processed). If you choose to eat junk-vegan or unhealthily, you won’t be receiving these vital nutrients and vitamins needed for hair health.
  • A vegan diet is rich in foods containing high amounts of antioxidants, flavonoids and carotenoids. All of these nutrients help reduce inflammation. A reduction in inflammation is found to be the best way to combat AGA hair loss. 
  • A vegan diet is rich in foods containing high amounts of antioxidants, flavonoids and carotenoids.

  •  All of these nutrients help reduce inflammation. A reduction in inflammation is found to be the best way to combat AGA hair loss.
  • A vegan diet is rich in foods containing high amounts of antioxidants, flavonoids and carotenoids. All of these nutrients help reduce inflammation. A reduction in inflammation is found to be the best way to combat AGA hair loss.
  • Vitamin B12 is another vitamin that is near impossible to eat (naturally) on a vegan diet. B Vitamins are crucial for cognitive function and hair health. 

  • B12, a type of B Vitamin, is only found (naturally) in animals and their by-products. Some foods (like cereals) are fortified with B12, but otherwise, we would recommend getting a B12 injection or taking a supplement if wanting to go on a vegan diet. 

  

2. VEGETARIAN

As a vegetarian, you don’t consume any animals/meat. However, unlike vegans, vegetarians still eat animal-by products such as milk, eggs, cheese etc. 

 PROS FOR HAIR HEALTH CONS FOR HAIR HEALTH
  • Calcium is richly found in dairy products. Sufficient levels of calcium in the body are crucial to assist the absorption of iron, an essential nutrient needed for oxygen transportation in the body, aiding the creation of new hair follicles (hair growth).
  • Although more easily consumed on a vegetarian diet than a vegan diet, protein is still harder to consume enough of. Quantities of protein-rich food need to be sufficient and quite ample to absorb the recommended daily intake of protein required for hair health and growth.
  • The addition of eggs and dairy also increases the ease of consuming enough protein through your diet. Sufficient protein levels are needed for hair's overall health and strength.
  • The introduction of animal products also means the introduction of cholesterol back into the diet. It’s important to monitor your blood’s cholesterol levels and keep them at a minimum for hair health. High cholesterol levels have been found to potentially contribute to higher levels DHT, the number one factor contributing to AGA hair loss.
  • Vegetarian diets also require extra effort to make sure you’re consuming enough iron. A lack of iron, leading to a lack of oxygen in the cells, causes hair loss as hair follicles can no longer grow or survive.

 


3. PESCATARIAN

Pescatarians are just like vegetarians in the sense that they don’t eat meat from land animals. However, they do include seafood and fish in their diets.

 PROS FOR HAIR HEALTH CONS FOR HAIR HEALTH
  • The addition of fish and seafood, as well as eggs and dairy, dramatically increases the amount of protein you’ll receive through your diet. Sufficient protein levels are needed for hairs overall health and strength.
  • Heavy metal and pollutants in marine fish is a global issue; one of these heavy metals is mercury. 

  • At toxic levels, mercury causes free-radical damage. This damage has been proven to cause the hair follicle cells to break down; contributes to hair loss. 

  • Because, on average, pescatarians consume more fish and seafood than the majority of people, they need to be extra vigilant in ensuring they don’t contract mercury poisoning. 
  • Omega-3 is most easily and richly found in seafood sources like salmon, mackerel, sardines, cod liver, fish oil tablets and oysters. 

  • Omega3s, an essential micronutrient of fat, are vital to ensuring your hair is elastic and supple all year round. The fatty acid chains in Omega3s are readily absorbed by the body and prevent dry/flakey scalps.

 

4. PALEO

The paleo diet, also referred to as the ‘caveman diet’, revolves around the predominant eating of foods presumed to have been available to humans during the Paleolithic era.


Paleo’s don’t eat processed food at all and base their diet on the whole, unprocessed paleo foods. They include meat into their diets but as a general rule don’t eat dairy, gluten or grain-food like rice, pasta, bread etc. (as this is considered processed).

 PROS FOR HAIR HEALTH CONS FOR HAIR HEALTH
  • Protein is readily found and consumed due to the reintroduction of meat back into the diet. 

  • Your hair is predominately made up of its own unique protein called Keratin. So, naturally, the hair will thrive off extra protein consumed through the diet—this aids in balancing hair’s moisture and keeping the strength of your locks intact. 
  • Paleos, while they don’t cut out entirely, tend to restrict the number of carbohydrates they eat. Carbs are your hair follicles preferred source of energy, and they use them for hair-growth.

  • Limiting the amount of carbs you consume could affect overall growth and health.
  • This meat-heavy diet also means that iron is readily available and easily absorbed. 

  •  Iron is a key nutrient in preventing hair loss and encouraging hair growth. Iron is used by the body to transport oxygen in the blood to cells. These same cells are the cells used in the creation of new hair follicles.
  • Paleo also tends to be ‘meat-heavy’, with many paleos consuming meat at every meal; this could lead to a spike in cholesterol intake/levels. 

  • High cholesterol levels have been found to potentially contribute to higher levels DHT, the number one factor contributing to AGA hair loss.
  • The introduction of meat also means Vitamin B12 is more readily available through the foods you eat. 

  •  B Vitamins help create red blood cells, which carry oxygen and nutrients to the scalp and hair follicles. These processes are important for hair growth.
  • People in the West often obtain their calcium from milk, cheese and yoghurt. Those following the paleo diet are at risk of inadequate calcium consumption. 

  • Sufficient levels of calcium in the body are crucial to assist the absorption of iron, an essential nutrient needed for oxygen transportation in the body, aiding the creation of new hair follicles (hair growth).

 

5. KETO

The Keto diet, scientifically referred to as “Ketogenic” diet, is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. People who are on the keto diet eat little-to-no carbohydrates at all, limiting their daily intake to just 1/2 a cup. When in a ketogenic state that body burns fats as it no longer has carbohydrates to use as energy (carbs being your bodies preferred source of energy).

 PROS FOR HAIR HEALTH CONS FOR HAIR HEALTH
  • Protein is readily found and consumed due to the fatty sources of protein such as salmon, meat, eggs and dairy.

  • Your hair is predominately made up of its own unique protein called Keratin. So, naturally, the hair will thrive off extra protein consumed through the diet—this aids in balancing hair’s moisture and keeping the strength of your locks intact. 
  • Because the Keto diet effectively cuts the entire carbohydrate food group out of your diet, your hair will not receive the vital benefits carbs provide it.

  • Carbs are your body's preferred source of energy for growing and replacing cells. Without sufficient carbohydrate levels, you may notice or experience an increase in hair loss.
  • This predominate fat diet is also extremely high in omega-3.

  • Omega3s, an essential micronutrient of fat, are vital to ensuring your hair is elastic and supple all year round. The fatty acid chains in Omega3s are readily absorbed by the body and prevent dry/flakey scalps.
  • Vitamin C is readily and most commonly found in fruits such as kiwis, oranges and berries. The Keto diet tends to cut fruit from the diet as is too high in carbs.

  • Vitamin C is a key component used by the body to create a protein known as collagen. Collagen’s amino acids help strengthen the skin that contains your hair roots and build hair proteins, making them essential for hair growth.
  • The Keto diet is also quite rich in foods containing cholesterol. High cholesterol levels have been found to potentially contribute to higher levels DHT, the number one factor contributing to AGA hair loss.

 

Conclusion? Final thoughts? What diet is best for hair health?

At the end of the day, no diet is the clear winner. Everybody’s needs and requirements are so different, and no singular diet will suit all. We recommend eating a balanced diet, whatever label you wish to use, that provides sufficient amounts of all nutrients and vitamins. As long as you’re eating and absorbing adequate quantities of protein, fats and carbs + micronutrients, your hair is going to thrive. 

Pssst! Want an extra BOOST of nutrients to get those #hairgoals on track? Shop the complete range of BondiBoost Hair Growth products for a bonus kick of essential hair-loving nutrients to your daily routine.


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