180 Nutrition: Is your hair taking forever to grow, or in such poor condition that you no longer have the confidence to ‘let your hair down’?
Have you ever found yourself avoiding story-time because you can’t face Rapunzel and her luscious locks?
OK, you see where I’m going with this…!
When faced with hair that’s lacklustre, dull, brittle and in poor condition; the natural response is to book an appointment at the salon. You’ll pay significant money for an expensive treatment to fix the immediate problem which will only repeat itself in a few weeks.
The other option is to focus on WHY your hair is in bad condition in the first place.
While haircuts are of course necessary to get rid of dead ends, what if I were to tell you that you could eat your way to a healthier head of hair? That your frightening follicles are directly responding to what you put into your mouth every single day?
If you’re suffering from hair loss, flaky scalp, tired tresses and lack of shine; it’s time to get to the root of the problem once and for all (and yes, that pun was intended!).
Here are nine things you can do to give yourself a healthier head of hair and remove the need for the regular Salon SOS.
1) Eat more eggs
Eggs contain biotin which is one of the B-complex vitamins. If you look on the shampoo label next time you’re in the supermarket, you’ll find biotin as an active ingredient in most brands. There’s no specific RDA for biotin, but eggs contain approximately eight mcg each which is well on the way to reaching a quarter of what your body needs to maintain a healthy barnet. Learn some interesting facts about eggs here.
2) Eat more almonds
Almonds are another great source of biotin with a ¼ cup containing approximately 14 mcg. Almonds are also an excellent source of magnesium which is essential for healthy hair growth.
3) Increase your iron intake
If you’re deficient in iron (anaemic), your body moves into survival mode. Through this process, oxygen is directed to vital bodily functions (such as breathing) only. Hair health becomes a secondary process leading to hair loss and dull tresses. Eat red meat, spinach and broccoli regularly to meet your RDA of iron.
4) Eat more celery
A celery stick a day keeps the hairdresser away! Celery contains vitamin C, Vitamin E and Vitamin A. Between the three of these essential vitamins your hair receives a moisturiser, repairing agent and an antioxidant to help combat the signs of ageing (grey hair) all in one. If you don’t like the taste, you can even puree it into a paste and apply to wet hair as a mask.
5) Eat more fatty acids
A dry and flaky scalp is a common symptom of a deficiency in fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids are an excellent anti-inflammatory which keeps follicles healthy, moisturises dry scalps, and contributes to shiny hair. Eat more oily fish, avocado and raw nuts to get rid of uncomfortable dry patches once and for all. If you struggle to eat enough fatty acids, take a fish oil supplement to top-up your daily intake.
6) Drink more water
Water is vital for organ function. Skin is the largest organ but is the last to receive hydration, so it’s vital that you drink enough to reach your skin. Water helps to transport the nutrients to your hair follicles so without adequate water; your nutrients are carried to other vital organs first. Adequate water intake stops hair becoming dry and brittle and encourages the growth of shiny strands. Learn more here.
7) Eat more protein
A strand of hair is made up mostly of protein, so you need adequate intake in your diet to create new hair and help existing hair grow. Aim for approximately 0.8 grams per kilogram of weight of protein per day and get this from natural sources such as chicken, fish, eggs and lentils.
8) Reduce stress
In women, stress can cause increased levels of androgen which is a predominantly male hormone which contributes to hair loss. When a woman becomes stressed, she becomes at risk of androgenetic alopecia caused by an increase in this hormone level. Learn ways to manage stress to reduce the impact on your body HERE.
9) Stop smoking
Smoking restricts blood vessels and hampers the flow of blood and oxygen to the hair follicles. Without this essential oxygen, hair growth is stunted, and nutrients can’t get to your tresses which leaves your hair looking dull and unhealthy.
If you have a serious problem with hair loss, it’s important to see a healthcare professional as these tips don’t constitute a medical diagnosis.
It’s also not a quick fix; changes to your diet need to be ongoing to give you luscious locks long into the future and bring back your shine, both inside and out!