I am sure many of us have experienced this. Looked down after a shower and wonder why there are so many strands of hair, or combed through and shock ourselves with how much hair has been caught in it! One may stop to think, is the food that we have been consuming or sun exposure? Are we washing our hair the wrong way, or the shampoo that we are using? There are many possibilities we can think of and today, we look into the intake of salt, and its possible relationship with hair loss.
But first, let us understand the various types of salts we consume and how much is too much.
Table of Contents
Types of salt
Table salt is known to be the most commonly used salt in cooking. It is fine and has a uniformed crystal size, hence making it easy to measure and mix with other ingredients. Table salt is also often fortified with iodine, an essential mineral that is important for thyroid function. However, some people prefer to use other types of salt for their unique flavours and textures, such as sea salt, kosher salt, or Himalayan pink salt.
Common types of salt and their approximate sodium content per 1 gram (g) serving:
- Table salt: 387-408 mg sodium per gram
- Sea salt: 375-414 mg sodium per gram
- Himalayan pink salt: 368-420 mg sodium per gram
- Kosher salt: 280-360 mg sodium per gram
- Celtic sea salt: 380-450 mg sodium per gram
These values may vary depending on the brand and source of the salt. Do keep in mind that regardless of the type of salt, excessive intake of sodium can be harmful to health.
Some evidence to suggest that consuming too much salt in your diet may contribute to hair loss. Salt is a mineral that is necessary for various vital functions, but too much of it can lead to dehydration, high blood pressure and other health problems, including hair loss.
How much Salt is too much?
Whilst there is not much evidence to establish a Recommended Dietary Allowance or a toxic level for sodium (aside from chronic disease risk), the American Heart Association suggests a daily sodium intake of no more than 1 teaspoon of salt. For some with high blood pressure or certain medical conditions, lesser amounts may be recommended.
As there is only a recommended amount of daily sodium intake, one should be aware of the signs that you have consumed too much salt:
- Frequent urination
- Swelling in the hands, feet, or ankles
- High blood pressure
- Fatigue or weakness
- Nausea or vomiting
- Shortness of breath
- Confusion or irritability
- Seizures (in severe cases)
An excessive amount of salt in your body can cause hypernatremia. It is a medical condition that occurs when the body loses too much water, causing the concentration of sodium in the blood to rise. Symptoms of hypernatremia can include the above. In severe cases, hypernatremia can be life-threatening and requires quick medical attention to restore the balance of water and electrolytes in the body.
Salt and Hair Loss: How it can be related
Firstly, when too much salt is consumed, your body tries to eliminate the excess by increasing urine output. This in turn can lead to dehydration, which can affect the health of your hair follicles. Dehydration can cause hair to become brittle, dry, and prone to breakage, which can ultimately lead to hair loss.
Additionally, excessive salt intake can also cause an increase in blood pressure, which can reduce blood flow to the scalp. This reduced blood flow can cause the hair follicles to weaken, affect the growth of hair, and ultimately can lead to hair loss.
This said, it is worth noting that hair loss can also be caused by other factors, such as genetics, hormonal changes, and certain medical conditions. However, reducing your salt intake is one potential way to improve hair health and reduce the risk of hair loss.
Hair Loss: Types of food to avoid
To reduce your salt intake, try to avoid processed and packaged foods, which are often high in salt. The amount of salt in processed food can vary widely depending on the specific food item and the brand. However, many processed foods are high in salt as it is commonly used as a preservative and flavour enhancer.
Here is a table comparing the approximate sodium content in some commonly eaten processed foods:
|Processed Food||Approximate Sodium Content (mg)|
|Potato Chips (1 oz/28g)||170-200|
|French Fries (Medium Serving)||270-470|
|Canned Soup (1 Cup/240ml)||600-1200|
|Deli Meat (1 oz/28g)||250-400|
|Pizza (1 Slice)||500-800|
|Bread (1 Slice)||100-200|
|Instant Noodles (1 Packet)||800-1800|
|Frozen Dinners (1 Serving)||500-800|
|Cheese (1 oz/28g)||100-200|
|Pickles (1 Medium Pickle)||500-1000|
Sodium content can vary depending on the brand and specific product, so it is important to read nutrition labels to determine the exact amount you are consuming.
Instead, opt for fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Fresh foods are low in sodium, so incorporating more of these into your diet can help lower your overall sodium intake. Additionally, fresh foods often have a more pronounced flavour as compared to processed foods, so you may find that you do not need to add as much salt to your meals to make them taste good.
When cooking with fresh ingredients, there are options to use other flavourful ingredients and seasonings to enhance the taste of your food without relying on salt. For example, herbs, spices, and citrus juices can add a lot of flavour to your meals without adding salt. Last and most importantly, preparing your own meals with fresh ingredients can give you more control over the amount of salt in your diet. One can be mindful and adjust the amount of salt and use low-sodium ingredients to help reduce your overall intake.
Consuming too much salt in your diet can have negative effects on your overall health, including your hair health. Cooking with fresh ingredients is a great way to ensure that you are consuming a healthy amount of salt while still enjoying delicious, flavourful meals. By reducing salt intake and choosing a balanced diet, you can promote healthy hair growth, thus reducing the risk of hair loss.
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