Fight dandruff with a fork

Adding certain foods to your diet can keep your head dandruff-free.

Namely eating "lean beef and leafy greens," explains the August print edition of Shape, an American fitness and well-being magazine.

Dandruff, white flakes emanating from a dry scalp, is not contagious and "poses no health risk," says WebMD, a respected medical news and advice site.

"Doctors aren't sure" how you get it, "but one theory is that it may be due to an overgrowth of a fungus. Other possible triggers include skin that's either too dry or too oily, shampooing either too often or not often enough, and having eczema or psoriasis."

London-based clinical nutritionist Seki Tijani writes "dandruff can be a sign of deficiencies, particularly in something like essential fatty acids (like the omega 3 oils contained in oily fish), it could also signify that your body is reacting to or not tolerating something. Ensure you include plenty of fibre from fresh fruits and vegetables in your new diet along with water to help clear toxins and boost the health of the skin cells."

MayoClinic.com, a respected health information site affiliated with the Minnesota, US-based Mayo Clinic and its health experts, says "a diet that provides enough zinc, B vitamins and certain types of fats may help prevent dandruff."

Foods rich in zinc include oysters, brewers yeast, wheat germ, bran, pine nuts, pecans and shellfish.

Liver, rabbit, cod, raw red and green peppers, fatty fish, turkey, hazel nuts, potatoes and cashews are vitamin B6-rich.

In addition to eating your way to a healthier scalp, WebMD advises treating dandruff with anti-dandruff shampoos.

If you find your flakes are greasy and yellow in color, you may have seborrheic dermatitis, "an inflammatory skin condition that can occur where there are lots of oil glands, like the scalp and face." For severe cases it is advised to consult your physician, otherwise treat with anti-dandruff shampoos.

The Environmental Working Goup's (EWG) cosmetic safety database Skin Deep has vetted a number of dandruff/scalp treatment hair care products and has ranked them based on health risks (cancer, allergies, immunotoxicity, developmental/reproductive toxicity, and other) including a risk assessment for each ingredient and notes on "data gaps" or unknowns due to insufficient toxicology reports and/or deficient government and cosmetic companies' assessments.

The 18 shampoos that scored 'best' or with the 'lowest hazard' ranking can be accessed here: http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/browse.php?category=dandruff/scalp%20treatment

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