What you eat can have an effect on the health of your hair. A varied, nutrient-rich diet can be the difference between strong, healthy hair and weak, lifeless hair.
In this article we’re going to look at the link between food and hair health, giving you pointers towards what you should be eating to keep your hair in the best shape possible.
According to the Trichological Society, healthy looking hair is an outward sign of good general health.
With the link between good health and good hair well established, it’s a good idea for us to look in more detail at what we should eat to maintain healthy hair.
Macronutrients for Healthy Hair
First of all we have to look at the macronutrients – the protein, fats and carbohydrate. Whilst it’s important to consume all of the macronutrients, in particular for hair health we need to ensure adequate levels of good quality protein and healthy fats.
The main role of protein in the body is to supply the nutrients that help build, restore and repair tissues. With hair being the fastest-growing natural tissue in the human body, an adequate protein supply is vital to maintaining a healthy rate of hair growth.
The inclusion of healthy fats in the diet contributes to the health of an often overlooked aspect of hair growth – the scalp. Hair follicles exist in the scalp and need to be adequately nourished in order to allow optimal hair growth. Dietary fats prevent the scalp from becoming dry and ensures that the hair maintains its colour.
The next level of nutrition is the micronutrients – the essential vitamins and minerals that contribute to healthy hair growth.
Key amongst these are….
- Vitamins A, B (numerous B vitamins are essential), C and E.
- Folic Acid
Additionally in this list there are amino acids, but these are perhaps slightly less important as they are contributory to the health of processes that effect hair growth, rather than assisting hair growth itself.
Behavioural Aspects of Healthy Hair Growth
The research supporting the use of hair thickening or restoring supplements appears to be minimal, leading hairscientists.org to conclude that they may be of nil value.
With stress and various types of illness showing to have a detrimental effect on hair growth, taking time to avoid or reduce stress may have a lot of benefit when it comes to ensuring healthy hair growth.
A regular scalp massage will assist with blood supply to the scalp which should help with the delivery of blood and nutrients to the hair follicles. Whether you do this by spending longer washing your hair or having it professionally done, it needn’t matter!
Exercise helps promote blood flow to the head, as does regular sauna use. These two combined are also an effective way of reducing the concentration of potentially harmful heavy metals in the body.
The Healthy Hair Diet
Knowing what we know about the importance of good nutrition and a wide intake of vitamins and minerals, a good start to helping to promote and maintain healthy hair is to start with a good quality multivitamin.
Making sure you are drinking plenty of water for general hydration is also key to healthy hair. Some research supports the positive effects of caffeine on hair growth and health, so the occasional coffee and tea won’t do any harm!
The following list of foods are a key to making sure you are giving your hair all of the nutrient support it needs to grow strong and healthy….
- Salmon and other oily fish – These are rich in Omega Acids to promote scalp health.
- Dark Green Vegetables – Contain Vitamins A and C as well as Iron and Calcium.
- Whole Grains and Pulses – Contains Iron, Zinc and Biotin.
- Nuts and Seeds – These contain Zinc and Omega Acids
- Avocado – An excellent source of Vitamin E
- Carrots – Contains high levels of Vitamin A.
- Citrus Fruits – High levels of Vitamin C.
- Dairy Products – Low fat dairy products contain protein and Calcium.
- Eggs – A great source of protein, Biotin and B Vitamins.
It’s important to know that even with a perfectly balanced and nutritionally sound diet, hair loss is largely genetic and therefore cannot be halted or reversed with diet alone.
If you are suffering with hair loss and would like to speak to our team of doctors, visit our website to see how we can help you. With our team of highly skilled doctors and our wonderful clinics, you are in the very best hands.