Diet for Preventing Greasy Hair and Oily Scalp
Got greasy hair? Your diet might be the cause of your overactive sebaceous glands (sebaceous glands produce the oils that make a scalp or hair appear greasy). Revamp your diet based on the following 5 tips and you may be surprised to see how fast you can get rid of 'chronic' greasy hair by simply changing your dietary habits.
#1: Be Sure to Eat Plenty of Foods Rich in B Vitamins
If your goal it to have lustrous locks that stay clean and fresh for longer, be sure to eat plenty of foods rich in B vitamins. B vitamins are a complex of vitamins that often work together and co-exist in the same foods. Evidence suggests that a sufficient intake of the B vitamins, particularly of vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), can help combat greasy hair by regulating sebum production. Furthermore, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), found in a variety of foods including beans, meat, poultry, fish, and some fruits and vegetables, can help control sugar cravings.
#2: Follow a Low Glycemic, Low Sugar Diet
Carbohydrates that have a high Glycemic Index (GI) rating are quickly broken down by the body and cause a rapid, large rise in blood glucose levels, which in turn triggers the pancreas to release large amounts of insulin. In contrast, low-GI carbs, which take much longer to digest, generally cause only a small, slow rise in the blood glucose and insulin levels. Insulin is necessary for the body to be able to use glucose for energy, but excess insulin in the bloodstream can lead to a sharp increase in circulating androgen, which in turn can increase sebum on the skin surface. Most non-starchy vegetables, legumes and fruit have a low GI rating while most refined carbohydrate-rich foods and sugary foods are rated high on the Glycemic Index.
#3: Watch Out for Fats But Don't Eliminate the Good Fats Completely
A high intake of dietary fat increases oil on the skin which can lead to greasy hair. However, it is important not to completely eliminate all fats from diet. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) — found in large quantities in such foods as nuts, seeds, fatty fish and unrefined whole grains — are necessary for the proper functioning of the body, and a deficiency in EFAs can also have negative impacts on scalp and hair health. These fats cannot be synthesized by the body and must therefore be obtained through diet.
In contrast, saturated fats — found in foods from animal sources like meat and dairy — should be avoided. The body needs saturated fats only in extremely small amounts, and it is able to synthesize its own saturated fatty acids when needed. Also trans fats, yet another type of fat, should be completely eliminated from diet. They exert no health benefits but contribute to greasy hair. Trans fats are formed in a chemical process that food manufacturers use to turn liquid oils into solid fats and to increase the shelf life of foods. They are most often found in vegetable shortenings, fried foods, hard margarine, cookies, crackers, chips, and baked goods.
#4: Step up Your Zinc Intake
Clinical trials have shown zinc supplementation to be effective at controlling sebum production. Zinc, which requires vitamin B6 for proper absorption in the intestines, is found in a variety of foods, the best dietary sources being oysters, red meat, and poultry. Zinc from plant sources such as nuts, legumes, and grains is of a different type than that found in animal sources and is not readily used by the body, although oats are a good source of zinc that the body can easily use.
#5: Limit the Consumption of Dairy Products
A high consumption of dairy products may cause greasy hair in some people. The impact of dairy on hair and scalp is believed to result from the hormones contained within milk. To produce maximum milk yields, cows are artificially re-inseminated almost immediately after giving birth. Although the calf is soon taken away, the cow continues to produce milk, while being pregnant with a new calf. As a result, the cow is simultaneously producing hormones that are meant to help her calf grow and hormones that are required to aid its pregnancy. The hormones contained in the milk of a pregnant cow may break into androgens, which can contribute to increased oil in the hair.
For further diet-related information on how to fight oily hair, see: