Everyone wants beautifully glossy, healthy hair. Bouncy tresses not only look appealing but is an indication of good health, vitality and age. Although a large deciding factor determining your chances of possessing luscious locks will be genetic, there are several steps we can all take which will bring us closer to fulfilling everyone’s dream (man & woman) of having a full head of healthy hair. In previous posts we have touched on ways to keep your hair in good condition, we’ve explored the use of Hair Oils as natural hair conditioning treatments and the importance of avoiding sulphates in your shampoos to keep your hair healthy – all valid steps that you can take to help avoid dry brittle hair, breakages and keeping your scalp in optimum condition.
Caring for your hair externally is essential, but it is equally important to take care of your hair from the inside. We like to think of it as your hair is hungry and needs the right foods to keep it looking and feeling healthy.
We all know that importance of a balanced diet and by incorporating nutrient rich foods which are essential for healthy hair into your diet you’d not only be looking after your hair but your overall health and wellbeing too.
Your hair is made from protein so it makes sense that a protein rich diet will help maintain strong, healthy hair. Not getting enough protein through your diet can lead to dry, brittle and weak hair which can also contribute to hair loss. Chicken, turkey, oily fish and eggs are all great sources of protein, as are lentils and nuts.
Chances are that if you’ve been diagnosed with an iron deficiency you’ll not only be suffering from fatigue, muscular cramps and a pale complexion, but also from hair loss. Iron is an essential mineral that helps to ensure that adequate blood supply is provided to the scalp and hair follicles. The root of the hair needs a nutrient rich blood supply all of which will determine the growth cycle of your hair. Red meat, liver, chicken and fish are all healthy sources of iron which can be easily absorbed by the body. Vegetarians can up their protein game by including dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale, broccoli and lentils into their diets.
We’ve talked about the importance of incorporating Iron into our diets – but eating foods high in Vitamin C with Iron rich foods helps the body to absorb Iron efficiently. Vitamin C also helps to strengthen the capillaries that provide nutrients to the hair shaft. Incorporate tangerines, blueberries, strawberries, guava, broccoli and sweet potatoes for foods rich in Vitamin C.
Is a B-vitamin which is vital for healthy hair and often gets forgotten on many healthy hair lists. My own personal hair loss was curbed when I focused on biotin rich foods. A diet lacking in Biotin can lead to weak, brittle hair and can also contribute towards hair loss. Eggs, nuts - in particular almonds and wholegrains are all great natural sources of Biotin.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that our bodies need but that can only be obtained through the food we eat. Did you know that Omega-3 is found in the cells that line the scalp and keeps the hair hydrated? Oily fish, avocados, pumpkin seeds and walnuts are all great sources of Omega-3.
Sebum is a natural oil created by our sebaceous glands, it is an essential natural conditioner and is needed to maintain a healthy scalp. A lack of sufficient sebum can result in a dry itchy scalp and consequently dry hair. Eating foods high in beta-carotene helps the body to make Vitamin A which in turn makes sebum. Opt for yellow/orange coloured vegetables like pumpkins, sweet potatoes and carrots to get a good dose of
Zinc, Selenium & Vitamin E
Maintaining a healthy scalp is vital for healthy, manageable hair. Incorporating minerals such as zinc and selenium help to offer vital scalp protection. Vitamin E is essential to protect you hair against sun damage. Nuts are nutrient rich foods and they contain zinc, selenium and vitamin E – essential vitamins and minerals for healthy hair and scalp.
Mainting healthy hair isn't complex rocket science, rather it's a combination of care towards your body from the inside out. When armed with the right facts, you can move forward and make healthy choices which are good for your overall well being whilst also benefiting your hair in the process. Results for each individual will inevitably vary, several factors come to play; general health, age and genetics. But there is no reason why you can't make the best of what you have, prolongue the good and minimise the undesirable.
A healthy balanced, nutrient-rich diet coupled with natural haircare products and limited heat styling would never be harmful, only beneficial.
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