The relationship between hair and health

By • Published: August 9th, 2010
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Hair is usually one of the first things people notice when they see someone. And as any hairstylist will tell you, people tend to do whatever it takes to make their tresses look perfect. However, what many people don’t know is what their hair color can say about their health.

Take a look at blondes … Experts say blonde women are at an especially higher risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, an eye condition that may cause blindness. A diet consisting of kale, spinach and snow peas could help prevent it. Why? All are rich in natural compounds associated with eye health. Also, researchers suggest snacking on green vegetables at least once a day.

What about brunettes? More than half of the thirty million American women with visible hair loss are dark-haired. But this could be because they have less hair to start with. When brown hair follicles die, they leave behind more noticeable thin patches. What’s one way to fix this? By eating right. Try increasing your iron intake. Dried fruits, egg yolks and leafy greens are loaded with iron.

And then there are those redheads … A recent Harvard study found that redheads have an almost ninety percent greater chance of developing Parkinson’s disease. It may be because of a gene mutation linked to red hair. This mutation influences another type of gene that can be associated with Parkinson’s. On the flip side, research shows that folic acid might delay the progression of the illness. Munching on vitamin-fortified cereals or taking a multivitamin should give you the daily dose of folic acid you need.

Of course, no matter whether you have a chestnut mane or golden locks, eating healthy and staying active should give you the best odds of living a long and happy life.