We all try to achieve healthy hair by plastering it with products. Many of them contain artificial ingredients and they are all very expensive! You may not realise that healthy hair is as much about what you put inside your body as what you apply to your hair. Vibrant and strong hair depends on a balanced diet. In this article, we explain that a healthy diet does not just help you achieve good health but makes you look good as well!
It can take longer to notice changes in your hair than in your skin, for example, when you change your diet. Changes your diet can affect your skin within days and certainly within weeks. On the other hand, dietary effects could take months to appear in the hair.
It’s not just about what you eat though! Your lifestyle is also important. Smoking can seriously affect the appearance of your hair. Smokers also have dull, lank hair. Hormonal imbalances, stress and not sleeping enough could also affect the way your hair looks and how you feel. It will require lifestyle adjustments to put this right.
Top foods for strong hair
This popular fish dish is rich in proteins and vitamin D, which are both extremely important for maintaining strong and healthy hair. Also the omega-3 fatty acids found in this delicious cold water fish are vital for your hair’s vitality. The body cannot produce these fatty acids itself, but they are essential for the production of hair at the hair follicle. Around 3% of the hair shaft is comprised of these fatty acids. Omega-3s are also found in skin cell membranes on the scalp and in the natural oils that maintaining the moisture content of the scalp.
Not every one likes salmon and luckily there are alternatives. Other oily fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids and they include herring, sardines, trout, and mackerel. If you really don’t like fish or if you are vegan, you can get your omega-3 acids from avocado, pumpkin seeds and nuts.
Walnuts are packed with a great amount of omega-3 fatty acids and are great for healthy hair. They are also very rich in biotin and vitamin E, which help protect cells against DNA damage. The scalp and the hair is often exposed to the sun and so this factor is especially important. Scientists now suspect that biotin deficiencies could lead to hair loss. Walnuts also contain copper, a mineral that helps keep natural hair colour rich and shiny. You don’t just have to eat the whole walnut. You could use walnut oil as a delicious alternative to olive oil is salad dressings and pasta sauces. Just make sure it’s a good quality oil.
Oysters are not to everyone’s favourite food, but they are rich in zinc! It has been shown that a zinc deficiency can cause hair loss (including the eyelashes), as well as a dry, scaly scalp. You don’t have to eat a huge amount. In fact, three ounces of oysters contain 493% of the daily zinc requirement for an adult. You don’t have to get your dietary zinc from oysters of course! You could eat plenty of fortified whole grains, breads, eggs and meat instead and these are not so expensive.
4. Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes contain the fantastic antioxidant beta-carotene. The body converts this into vitamin A. No cell in the body can function correctly without this vital vitamin. It also helps protect and produce oils that keep the scalp healthy. You could also get your vitamin A from carrots, cantaloupe, mango, pumpkin apricots.
Hair is roughly 97% protein and so it’s important to watch your protein intake as well. Without sufficient protein, the body cannot replace the hairs that are naturally lost every day and the hair that you do have may become dry, brittle or weak. A good source of protein is eggs which also contain zinc, selenium, sulphur and iron. Iron is especially important because it helps cells transport oxygen to hair follicles. Anaemia is a recognised primary cause of hair loss in women. If you don’t like eggs you could try chicken, pork or beef in your diet.