The Relationship Between Hair & Nutrition
Do you ever wonder about the things we should know, but don’t? Like how what we eat or don’t eat can cause our scalp and hair to react in certain ways.
The human body’s relationship with food is primal, as food is needed to sustain life. However, eating a balanced diet with the right foods does more than just that, the essential nutrients for a healthier immune system, as well as skin and hair. In fact, healthy hair is considered a general sign of good health. It also indicates how good an individual's scalp and hair care practice is.
Those suffering from a nutritional deficiency may lack certain vitamins or minerals such as protein, iron, omega3 and zinc, essentials to good hair growth and quality. Understanding the important roles that these nutrients play in the human body will possibly help to correct a nutritional deficiency.
Nutrition + Hair
Hair is made up of nearly 91% protein. This is why consuming healthy portions of protein can help promote healthy hair growth, strength and shine. If you’re not consuming enough protein in your meals, or in a protein deficiency your hair will tend to feel weak and look brittle with a loss of colour.
A lack of iron in a diet can result in hair loss on a much more severe level. When your iron intake falls to a certain point, you might experience anaemia, which is when there aren’t enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen to your body's organs. This will disrupt the nutrient supply to the follicle as your body will distribute the healthy red blood cells it does have to vital organs. This will in turn affect hair growth.
The fatty acids that we ingest from foods packed with omega3 are necessary for our diets because the human body is unable to produce any on its own. This mineral helps the cells lined through the scalp to produce good oils that help keep both scalp and hair hydrated.
If there is a lack of zinc in your diet to a certain degree, you might face hair loss and a dry flaky scalp, which no one wants. Zinc is a great nutrient in terms of protecting the scalp from drying out by helping produce sebum.
Vitamin A is known for helping cells grow, especially hair, which happens to be the fastest-growing tissue cell in the human body. It also helps the scalp to produce sebum that keeps it hydrated.
But as the saying goes, too much of a good thing can turn out to be a bad thing. Over consumption of vitamin A can also lead to hair loss. It’s important to find a balance.
Vitamin B and B12 help create red blood cells which are necessary to transport oxygen to different organs and the scalp, which will then promote hair growth. B12 is one of the eight vitamin B complexes and can only be found in meat. So, if you are a vegetarian or a vegan consider a supplement to get vitamin B12 in your diet.
Free radicals can do a lot of damage to both our skin and hair. An amazing source of antioxidants, vitamin C helps protect the skin and hair from the stressors caused by these free radicals.
Another plus point of vitamin C is that it can help the body produce a type of protein known as collagen that plays an important role in the structure of the hair.
Vitamin D is essential in Stimulating the growth of hair. You can get vitamin D two ways into your system. The first is by spending 10 to 30 minutes in the sun every day. The second involves eating the right foods.
The lack of vitamin D in your daily regimen may lead to hair loss and bald spots. So, a few minutes in the sun won’t hurt you.
Packed with antioxidants similar to vitamin C, consuming a good amount of vitamin E can help protect the scalp and hair from free radicals.
Could There Be Other Reasons For Hair Loss?
Yes, there are contributing factors other than bad nutrition, such as age, genetics and medical illnesses that predispose individuals to the nutritional deficiency that influence the scalp and hair. Emotional stress can also play a part in impacting the health of the scalp and hair.
You need to be sure that the main contributor to your hair loss is a nutritional deficiency before you decide to incorporate new foods into your daily diet. The best way to know for sure is by consulting a doctor or a dermatologist.
If you are facing hair loss due to a nutritional deficiency not caused by an illness, but just the lack of nutritional understanding, then implementing eating the right foods into your diet in a seamless way will help you grow a luscious mane.
What Foods Are Packed With Nutrition And Great For Hair?
You don’t have to eat these foods for every meal or even every day. Balance it out through your week into meals and snacks. Don't over consume any of these foods or others with essential minerals and vitamins. More doesn't mean better.
Packed with vitamin C, it's a great antioxidant that helps protect hair follicles against damage done by free radicals that exist naturally in the body and environment.
You might remember the cartoon "Popeye the Sailor Man", every time you think of spinach. This healthy green vegetable is loaded with iron, vitamin A and C, all of which promote hair growth. Popeye’s baldness must have been due to something else.... (Relationships issue with Olive? Smoking?)
A great munching snack during work or a Netflix binge, nuts are packed with vitamin B, vitamin E, zinc and fatty acids. A great power food that can help promote hair growth.
Sunflower seeds, flax & chia seeds are great snacks and add-ons to oats and smoothie bowls. They also happen to be great promoters of hair growth, with nutrients like vitamin B, vitamin E and Zinc.
Not necessarily everyone’s favourite food, but beans are an amazing plant-based option for a protein source. Beans are a good source of zinc, a nutrient that aids hair growth and the hair repair cycle.
The crowning ingredient of every Instagramable breakfast toast, the avocado is packed with fatty acids and is an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin E. Helping promote hair growth and Instagram likes.
A great source of protein that helps promote hair growth. It's been evident that a lack of protein can contribute to hair loss. Eggs are great because there are so many ways to eat them.
Salmon, herring and mackerel are wonderful sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to hair growth.
What About Hair And Scalp Products?
Sure, there are some great scalp and hair products out there that can do wonders, but a balanced and nutritious meal paired with those same amazing products may just be the extra care and attention your scalp and hair need to flourish.
Looking for something that can boost scalp health from the outside?
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If you do suffer from hair loss due to a nutrition deficiency diet, these foods curated into healthy and balanced meals and snacks will help you gain a healthier scalp and in turn thick and luscious hair. It will take time before you start to see results, but soon you will either be able to see it, feel it or both. However, remember that other factors can also contribute to hair loss, and so a visit to the doctor should be your first step.