If you have been following our blog posts lately, you know that we have labeled 2018 the "Year of Healthy Hair." So far we have discussed after shower hair care, heat protection and we even created a DIY hair mask to help your hair look healthy and silky. While there are many products and steps you can take to make your hair look healthy and strong, one way to really take steps towards healthy hair is in your diet.
Here’s the thing— our bodies are made up of systems. These systems demand certain vitamins, minerals and nutrients in order to function at their tip top shape. So if you want to look and feel at your tip top shape, you give your body what it wants and needs, right? Certain things your body needs to stay healthy are vegetables, fruits and proteins.
Protein isn’t just good for building muscle. Did you know that hair is almost totally made up of proteins? Protein filaments called keratin, actually. And did you know that a lack of proper and nutritious protein in our diets can cause dry, brittle, weak hair? If there’s an extreme lack of protein, it can even cause hair loss and restricted hair growth.
Eating proper nutrition and staying hydrated are totally necessary for the health of our internal organs and systems as well as our outward appearance. Because I’m going to fill you in on a little secret… your hair and your skin are an outward sign of internal health. Think of your skin and hair as a road map for what’s going on in your body internally. If your skin is breaking out in inflamed pimples or your hair is shedding at an unusually fast pace— it would be beneficial to take a look at what you’re eating and see if there is something missing in your diet.
You can’t expect to spend time, extra care and $$$ on hair products (masks, creams, serums and conditioners) to achieve hair health, only to blow it on poor nutrition. We need to see our hair as another, equal, system in our body’s health, and treat it with respect. So often we have people ask us how to fix dry hair, brittle hair, hair loss— and while products and treatments can help, proper nutrition can exponentially help to fix a hair problem.
So what does our hair need to be healthy, glossy and grow longer?
Iron: Iron deficiencies are so very common among women (in child bearing years, especially). Hellllllooo “Time of the Month.” And unfortunately, iron deficiencies cause hair loss and slow down hair growth. Iron is what brings oxygen to your scalp.
Get your iron from dark leafy greens. Also, iron is best absorbed when you combine it with vitamin C. So try drinking a green smoothie (kale, lettuce, chard, spinach) and add a lemon, orange, pineapple or other vitamin C rich fruit to the smoothie. #winning
Protein: We’ve already talked a little bit about protein— but let’s mention it again. Because it’s the building block of muscles, and of great hair. Without enough protein, your body isn’t able to replace the hair on your head that you shed every single day. Thinning hair is hair that lacks protein, usually.
Try for proteins like eggs, pork, chicken, fish and beef. If you’re vegetarian, get protein from foods that contain all essential amino acids, like cheese, greek yogurt, lentils, peas, legumes, soy and quinoa.
Vitamin C: Vitamin C helps to build collagen, and strengthens hair from the inside out.
My favorite sources of vitamin C are kiwi, strawberries, oranges, mangos, pineapple, grapefruit— you know, all the good stuff!
Beta Carotene (Vitamin A): Once ingested, beta carotene gets converted into vitamin A. This is one of the most essential nutrients for a healthy, moisturized scalp. And when the scalp is happy, the hair is happy.
Beta carotene is found in brightly pigmented orange or yellow fruits and vegetables. Think carrots, sweet potato, cantaloupe, etc.
Omega 3: Fatty acids are extremely necessary for healthy hair. When you’re low on healthy fats, your hair is less shiny and moisturized. Your scalp can also feel itchy and flaky if you lack essential fatty acids.
Try getting your Omega 3’s from salmon or herring, flaxseeds, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds.
So, as they say “You are what you eat.” But I’m going to one-up that and say “Your hair is what you eat.” Give your hair clean, healthy food— and lets just see how much healthier your hair gets this year.