How to eat your way to healthy hair
There’s a lot of truth in the old adage “you are what you eat” and it applies just as much to your hair as to your skin and your nails.
Just like your skin, your hair is an outward sign of your inner health and each strand of hair is made up from cells that require a regular supply of key nutrients. And whilst a healthy diet won’t miraculously turn fine hair into thick, long tresses, eating the correct balance of the following vitamins and minerals will ensure your hair has all the nutrients it needs to stay healthy, shiny and strong. So let’s have a look at the best food for healthy hair.
Hair is made from the protein keratin, so ensuring you have a good supply of protein in your diet is essential for maintaining strong and healthy hair. If you’re not getting enough protein your hair can quickly become dry, brittle and weak.
Healthy sources of protein include fish, chicken, turkey, eggs, and dairy products and there are plenty of vegetarian sources too; for example nuts, pulses and certain green vegetables like spinach, broccoli and peas.
Iron is a very important mineral for healthy hair and a lack of iron has been linked to hair loss. The hairs’ follicles and roots are fed by a supply of blood and if that blood is deficient in iron it can affect the hair’s growth cycle. Whilst we all shed between 50 and 100 strands of hair a day, this lack of iron can result in excess shedding.
Red meat, chicken and fish are good sources of iron whilst vegetarian sources include lentils and leafy green vegetables like spinach, salad leaves and kale.
Some of the best sources are fruits – oranges, blueberries, kiwis, blackcurrants and strawberries are all excellent, but don’t forget veggies too like broccoli and sweet potatoes.
The body needs Vitamin A to make something called sebum and it is sebum that provides a natural conditioner for the hair. Without sebum you may suffer from an itchy scalp and dry hair so it’s important to include lots of orange and yellow coloured vegetables in your diet.
Carrots, sweet peppers and sweet potatoes are all excellent. They are high in beta-carotene which makes vitamin A.
Zinc and Selenium
A healthy scalp also requires other important minerals, most notably zinc and selenium. A lack of zinc can lead to hair loss and a dry flaky scalp. Look out for cereals that have been fortified with these essential minerals.
You’ve probably heard that Omega 3 fatty acids are important brain food, but did you know they’re important hair food too? Omega-3s are found in the cells on the scalp and also keep your scalp and hair healthy and as they can’t be produced by the body it’s important to include them in your diet.
Look out for oily fish like salmon, trout and sardines, and plant sources including avocado, seeds and walnuts.
We all know by know that a healthy balanced diet is the key to good health and that applies equally to good, healthy hair. Try focussing on these key food groups and you could soon have shinier, stronger hair.
You might also be interested in Three causes of damaged hair and how to avoid them.
Remember – if you have any concerns about excessive hair loss, an itchy scalp or about your health generally, contact your doctor.