Source: Head & Shoulders, Livestrong.com
The food we eat affects us in many ways than just providing fuel to our bodies – it influences everything from our skin, to our ability to fight disease, and the health of our hair and scalp.
Can your diet cause dandruff?
Well, to answer this we need to look at what dandruff is? And the relationship of our hair and scalp with food.
WHAT IS DANDRUFF?
A microscopic single-celled fungus called Malassezia lives on our head but does no harm. It survives by the natural oils present on our scalp. Leaving oleic acid as a by-product.
Unfortunately, most of us are sensitive to oleic acid. It can irritate the skin and increase the skin cell turnover.
When this happens, symptoms include:
· Itchy skin
· A red, irritated scalp
HOW FOOD AFFECTS THE SCALP
The most popular theory says that yeast heavy foods increase Malassezia, which leads to dandruff. But that’s not how it works.
Just because dandruff is caused by a ‘yeast,’ it doesn’t mean that eating or drinking yeast-heavy foods makes dandruff flaking worse. In fact, the yeast used for foods and the yeast on your scalp are completely different.
Also, the yeast that we take through foods remains in our digestive system, without much changing the microbes on our scalp.
A balanced diet rich in zinc, protein, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids keeps your scalp and hair strong.
B-COMPLEX VITAMIN DEFICIENCY
The Penn State University suggests that not consuming enough of vitamin B-complex may contribute to dandruff and hair loss. Animal products are the primary source of vitamin B12. For vegan or strict vegetarian dietary supplements may be required. Foods that have a high concentration of Vitamin B limit the proliferation of dandruff. Foods like bananas, avocados, beef, tuna, legumes, and oats are rich sources of vitamin B.
Low levels of zinc in the diet causes dull, unmanageable hair and hair loss. This mineral influence dandruff as well because eating foods rich in zinc can help treat dandruff. Dietary sources of zinc include oysters and other shellfish, red meat and poultry as well as some cheeses, including Swiss and Gouda. Legumes and whole grains also contain some.
OMEGA-3 FATTY ACID DEFICIENCY
Your diet should provide enough omega-3 fatty acids. If not, you may be at risk for developing dandruff. Omega-3s have several other benefits, including lowering risk of heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis. The primary sources of these essential fatty acids are oily, cold-water fish like tuna, herring, mackerel, and salmon. Food items like tuna, herring, mackerel, salmon, and flaxseed are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids. These foods are particularly recommended for dandruff sufferers which are accompanied by excessively dry, bodily skin. These fatty acids don’t make the individual gain weight. Instead, they help to keep the skin naturally moisturized and to cure dandruff.
The article in the Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine (2001) suggests that allergies or intolerance to certain foods may cause dandruff. Reduce the amount of seafood, dairy items and high-fat foods in your diet. Also, cut on citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruit until your dandruff improves.
Excessive sweating in the scalp is a cause of dandruff. It is because sweating increases the vulnerability of the outer layer of skin cells in the scalp, which makes them susceptible to being easily scratched-off. Spicy foods raise the body’s temperature. The sudden release of sebum from the sweat glands on the scalp further irritates the skin, causing a prickly feeling to develop.
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