Hair Care and Nutrition
If you didn’t already know, good nutrition is great for our hair. A healthy balanced diet not only feeds our bodies with vitamins and minerals, it also feeds our hair. But with so many different types of foods to choose from, where is the best place to start? Well we think it is about looking at specific key groups that contain exactly what you need for your hair to flourish. In this post we are going to focus on 5 key groups that are essential for maintaining healthy hair. If you examine each group carefully and look for foods in each group, you should be well on your way to creating a balanced diet that will benefit your hair care regimen as well as your body.
Our hair is made up of protein; to be more specific a tough protein called Keratin. Due to exposure to external factors like the sun, pollution or chemicals, or changes in your lifestyle, the keratin present in the hair gets depleted. This loss is what leads to dry, damaged and dull hair, so we need to make an effort to replenish the protein in our hair.
Proteins are also major building blocks of the body and are made up of amino acids that build muscle, blood, skin, nails, internal organs and hair. Amino acids and protein are essential to hair growth, so we can see that it is important to have protein in our diet. Protein can come from animal or plant based sources such as: Chicken, turkey, fish, eggs and dairy products. Plant based forms of protein can be derived from tofu, nuts, grains, lentils, chickpeas and legumes such as beans.
Iron is an important nutrient for hair as depletion in iron can cause hair loss. Oxygenated blood feeds the hair follicle and the root, however a drop in iron levels can cause an individual to become anaemic. This can interfere with the blood nutrients supplied to the hair follicle, which in turn can affect the hair growth cycle and may cause shedding. Some of the common causes of iron deficiency come from chronic blood loss and pregnancy. Common symptoms of iron deficiency include, extreme fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, dizziness, headaches, cold hands and feet and brittle nails.
Iron can be derived from both animal and plant based sources. Chicken, fish and red meat can provide iron. Dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, and chard, dried fruit such as apricot, nuts, beans and lentils also provide iron. In order for the body to properly absorb iron, vitamin C must be present. If you find that you are experiences any of the symptoms mentioned above, with regards to an iron deficiency, I would highly advise you to go and see your doctor.
Zinc plays an important role in hair tissue growth and repair. Zinc also helps keep the oil glands around the follicles working properly. Hair loss can be a common symptom of zinc deficiency and some studies have found that zinc supplements reduce hair loss caused by zinc deficiency. Just remember that before beginning to take any form of supplement, it is always best to consult your doctor first.
Healthy Fats are used in energy production; your body needs sufficient levels to maintain wellness and healthy hair. Omega-3 fatty acids are important fats that our bodies cannot make itself. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in cells that line the scalp and provide the oils that keep your scalp and strands hydrated. Healthy fats can be found in avocados, dark chocolate, nuts and chia seeds. Healthy fats can also be found in cheese, eggs, fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines and herring.
Vitamins are an important component in hair care. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables can help you to absorb some of the important vitamins your body needs to maintain healthy hair and a healthy body. You may also consider taking multivitamins and supplements, but always consult your doctor before you do so. Some key vitamins for hair growth include Vitamin A, which all cells need for growth. Vitamin B, which helps to create red blood cells. Vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect against the oxidative stress caused by free radicals. Vitamin D, as low levels of vitamin D have been linked to alopecia (hair loss) and vitamin E, which is similar to vitamin C as it is also an antioxidant that can prevent oxidative stress. For a more in depth look at the relationship between vitamins and hair loss have a look here.
So there you have it, the link between good nutrition and hair care is an important one. A few easy steps here and there, choosing good nutrients rich ingredients from the groups mentioned and meal planning well will definitely help you on your way, to feeding your hair from the inside out.