Although genetics and hair regimen’s have a big influence on hair health, nutrition plays a big part too. Read on to find out how nutrition can help you achieve hair success!
As hair is made of protein, it is important to have enough protein in your diet in order to ensure your hair is strong and healthy. If you are not consuming enough protein in your diet, your hair is likely to become dry, brittle and weak. Food sources include chicken, turkey, fish, dairy products and eggs as excellent sources of protein along with vegetarian sources such as legumes and nuts.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids that must be obtained through our diet as our body cannot make them. Omega-3’s are found in the cells that line the scalp and also provide the oils that keep your scalp and hair hydrated. Great food sources of omega-3’s are oily fish such as salmon, herring, sardines, trout and mackerel and plant sources including avocado, pumpkin seeds, linseeds, chia seeds and walnuts.
- Biotin-Is needed to keep your skin, nails and hair healthy. Too little biotin can cause brittle hair and may lead to hair loss. Recommended daily amount (RDA)= 0-100 mcg
- Vitamin B5 (known as pantothenic acid) – This vitamin helps with blood flow to your scalp and hair growth. RDA=30mcg
- Vitamin A– is needed by the body to make sebum. Sebum is an oily substance created by our hairs sebaceous glands and provides a natural conditioner for a healthy scalp. Without sebum we may experience an itchy scalp and dry hair. RDA=700IU
- Vitamin E-Eating foods rich in vitamin E is important to provide protection for your hair against sun damage. RDA=15mg
- Vitamin C-protects your hair from breaking. It helps in the production of collagen that strengthens the capillaries that supply the hair shafts. Vitamin C is also a strong antioxidant and protects both the cells found within follicles and cells in nearby blood vessels. RDA=60mg
Iron-Is an important mineral for hair and iron deficiency is a major cause of hair loss. The hair follicle and root are fed by a nutrient rich blood supply so when iron levels fall, this disrupts the nutrient supply to the follicle, affecting the hair growth cycle. This may result in shedding. Recommended daily intake (RDA) =15mg
Zinc-Getting adequate amounts of zinc is important for scalp protection. Zinc is essential for DNA and RNA production, which, in turn, leads to normal follicle-cell division. Zinc deficiency is linked to hair loss and a dry, flaky scalp. RDA=15mg
Selenium-Is beneficial to the hair and scalp. One of the benefits of selenium for hair is that it helps to encourage hair growth. The selenium is used to make selenoproteins, which help with hair follicle stimulation in order to encourage new and healthy hair growth. Additionally, selenium can help to prevent and eliminate dandruff. RDA=55 micrograms (mcg)
Cinnamon is believed to stimulate the scalp and increase blood circulation. Why not try sprinkling this spice on your porridge or into your coffee?
To conclude, having nutrient deficiencies can have a detrimental effect on your hair and scalp, not to mention your whole body. Therefore it is important to make sure to practice healthy eating and have a varied, balanced diet. This will help you to be able to ensure you are getting adequate amounts of the nutrients you need. In the case of supplements, if hair loss is a result of a vitamin or mineral deficiency, then they may be helpful. However, I wouldn’t recommend them as a replacement to a healthy diet.
Stay tuned for my part 2 of my nutrition & health articles where I will be discussing the best natural treatments made from food ingredients.