A healthy diet can help your hair stay strong and shiny. What you eat can also keep you from losing your locks. If you’re not getting certain nutrients from food, you might see the effects in your hair.
Beautiful and healthy hair is a result or a combination of a few things, great genetics, an excellent hair care routine, great weather and water, revolutionary hair products or an amazing diet. Some people are born with great hair and some cultivate a good hair care regime over time, which also leads to great hair.
Due to environmental factors or lifestyle changes, hair tends to lose its health. In such cases, even the gifted require some help. Although, regular oiling or deep conditioning can improve the texture of your hair, but what you put into your body will make a greater difference.
Hair Cells are Fast-Growing
Your hair is comprised of the second fastest-growing cells in your body – intestinal cells being the first. To add to this, you have roughly 120,000 hairs growing on your scalp at any given time, all of which need to be supported. However, what may be the most challenging part of sustaining hair growth is this: hair is not a vital organ or tissue, and this means your body will never prioritize its nutritional needs. Due to its expendable nature, a nutritional imbalance will often show up first in the form of excessive hair loss.
The Importance of Diet
Hair and scalp problems can arise from either a deficiency or an excess of nutrients in your diet, and in some cases nutrition alone can be the cause of hair loss. We often see hair loss as the sole result of iron and ferritin (stored iron) deficiency, we have also seen hair loss from too much vitamin A.
However, what many people have been led to believe is a ‘healthy diet’ often doesn’t include all of the elements needed for optimum hair growth, health and appearance. These include diets that consist of mainly of fruits, vegetables and salads, with only minimal amounts of protein and calories. Or, on the other end of the spectrum, diets that are high in protein and fat, with little or no carbohydrates (i.e. an Atkins-type diet). Your hair cells, as well as the cells throughout your body, need a balance of proteins, complex carbohydrates, iron, vitamins and minerals to function at their best.
A good diet which will provide the essential vitamins and minerals to your hair will ensure they look happy and healthy!
What Should be in your Diet?
Your hair grows around 0.5 inches (1.25 cm) per month, and 6 inches (15 cm) per year. How fast it grows depends on factors like age, health, genetics and diet.
Although you can’t change factors like age and genetics, diet is one thing you have control over. In fact, consuming a diet lacking the right nutrients can lead to hair loss.
On the other hand, eating a balanced diet with the right nutrients can help promote hair growth, especially if you’re experiencing hair loss due to poor nutrition.
There are some food items that should be mandatory in your diet. They’ll not just improve the texture but also the overall health of your hair.
Biotin is responsible for hair growth and increasing the volume of hair. The nutrient is a water soluble B vitamin also known as Vitamin B7 or H. Biotin deficiency can lead to discoloration or thinning of hair. Biotin is often an ingredient in oral hair growth supplement or even shampoos to nourish hair and prevent them from looking brittle or dull.
What to eat: Wholegrains, liver, egg yolk, soya bean, cranberries, raspberries and yeast.
Omega-3 fatty acids
The oil that boosts the hydration for your hair and scalp is provided by Omega-3 fatty acids. This nutrient is also present in the cells that line the scalp so it’s important to add this fat to your diet.
What to eat: Oily fish like mackerel, salmon, trout etc. Other options include avocados, pumpkin seeds and walnuts.
The most important component for strong healthy hair is protein. Hair is majorly made up of protein so consuming an adequate amount of protein daily becomes all the more essential. If your diet consist of lower proteins, you’re likely to have hair loss or dry and brittle hair. Eat the right proteins and keep your hair strong.
What to eat: Chicken, fish, turkey, eggs and dairy products. For vegans or vegetarians, legumes and nuts are an excellent source of protein.
Another important mineral for your hair, iron ensures your hair remain healthy by providing it with oxygen. Lower levels of iron can result in anaemia which is a major cause of hair loss. The hair follicle and root is fed by a nutrient rich blood supply with the help of iron. So, make iron rich foods a staple in your diet to achieve those luscious locks.
What to eat: Seafood like clams or chicken, red meat, spinach, beetroot, apples, soybeans, broccoli etc are good sources of iron.
Iron and Vitamin C are two nutrients which are best when taken in combination with each other. Eating food rich in Vitamin C will allow better absorption of iron into the body. Not only that, Vitamin C is a prime food when it comes to production of collagen. It also strengthens the capillaries that supply blood to the hair shaft.
What to eat: Strawberries, sweet potatoes, blackcurrants, blueberries, oranges and papaya.
Vitamin E is a quintessential nutrient when it comes to skin and hair care. A base ingredient included in a range of hair and skin care products, it’s a crucial nutrient for healthy hair. It helps in building and repairing hair tissue and also in protecting hair from sun damage.
What to eat: Nuts are the best source of vitamin E so include almonds, walnuts or any other nuts in your diet. Olive oil, Avocado, sunflower oil and spinach are also good options for Vitamin E. It’s also available in the form of a capsule which may be more convenient.
The natural conditioner produced by our body, known as Sebum, requires Vitamin A for its production. The oily substance is a vital substance which conditions our scalp naturally. Sebum becomes indispensable for a healthy scalp. It’s best to include Vitamin A to ensure adequate sebum production.
What to eat: Orange/yellow colored vegetables with a high beta-carotene content. Beta- carotene is the substance that makes Vitamin A. Options include- carrots, sweet potatoes, dark leafy green vegetables, apricots, pumpkins and lettuce.
Solutions for Specific Hair Problems
There exist target hair problems as well which require special food and attention to be solved, the following foods will help you with such issues.
Problem: Hair growth
–Solution: Eggs or Greek yogurt
Packed with protein, eggs and Greek yogurt are ideal for increasing the length of your hair. . They’re rich in Vitamin B and B5 respectively, ensuring hair growth and adequate blood flow to your scalp. These food items also prevent thinning and hair loss.
Problem: Excessive breakage
Vitamin C is the answer to unwanted breakage of hair. It protects the hair from breaking and ensures it stays strong. Guava is rich in Vitamin C and by rich we mean 377 milligrams in one cup! Perfect solution for your hair problem.
Problem: Dull locks
–Solution: Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are brimming with beta- carotene (responsible for production of vitamin A). Food rich in Vitamin A helps in production of the oily substance called sebum which leads to shiny locks that don’t dry out and are full of life. There is not a better option than sweet potatoes to fight dry and dull hair.
Problem: Brittle hair
Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach or kale are full of nutrients like iron, vitamin A or folate which are essential to keep your hair moisturized. A daily dose of this vegetable would be enough to transform your hair from brittle to nourished within no time.
Problem: Increase Shine in Hair
Known for having a high content of Omega-3 fatty acids, salmon is the answer to shiny hair. These fats help the hair grow and keep them shiny and full.
Problem: Increasing blood circulation
Cinnamon helps in increasing the blood circulation in your body which in turn would provide your hair follicles with ample of oxygen and nutrients. So add some cinnamon to your food be it on oatmeal/ porridge or your coffee. The options are endless.
At Hair By Phonatip, We Care About the Health of Your Hair
At Hair By Phonatip, we care about your hair just as much as you do. We frequently have clients who visit our salon in Bangkok requesting chemical processes that will not be healthy for their hair. Because we believe so strongly in healthy hair, we are not afraid to be honest with them and decline to do the work. Taking care of your hair over the long term is what’s most important to us.
If you’d like to come see us, please book your appointment online via our website.