Eat Your Way to Healthy Hair

I’ve talked about the subject of hair loss on my blog before and how in a world of beauty blogging that focuses on “how to’s” and “faking the perfect complexion” it’s easy to find yourself getting lost in a world of quick fixes that offer up lotions and potions to give the appearance of flawless skin or healthy hair.  When, like me, you find your hair beginning to shed, there’s not much that a shampoo or serum can do to work miracles (despite its claims) and your best bet is to save your money, stop Googling hair transplant cost and head to the doctors to find out what the hell is going on with your body.  Which is exactly what I did.

After a scalp assessment and blood results coming back problem free, it was suggested that I could possibly try to identify any nutrients my diet was lacking.  Turns out, our food intake is very important to the health of our hair. Just like our skin, a balanced and healthy diet directly influences not only the vitality and shine back of our hair but also encourages it to grow, whilst a diet of junk food can zap its shine and begin to cause problems within.  Hairloss can be attributed to a lack of nutrients in the diet.

We all know that what we put in our bodies can have a domino like affect on our skin and our weight, but I have to admit that when I’m chowing down on a pizza or a packet of Boots Sushi, I’m not really thinking about my hair follicles and whether they’re getting the right nutrients that they need to grow and I really should be.

It doesn’t matter how many fancy masques you’re putting on your hair or what oil you’re coating your strands with, if you’re depriving your hair of essential vitamins and you could essentially be washing your money down the plug hole because as the saying goes, you can’t polish a turd.  If you have a busy schedule like me (I feel like I spend the majority of my life at work or on public transport) it can be difficult to get all the nutrients you need into a couple of meals a day, especially when one of those meals consists of eating out of a lunch box at work (I mean, there’s only so many times you can have eat spinach in a week, right?).

So what about vitamins?  GROAN.  

“What does this tablet do? Why do I need this one again?  Do nettle tablets sting when you swallow them?  Doesn’t this do the same as this one?  Will this one make me grow horns and a tail?  Is this tablet REALLY made out of the oil of fish?”  This is my brain when I stare at bottles and bottles of vitamins in the health food shop.  The most I’ve dabbled vitamins in the past is those chewable Vitamin C and the odd Skin, Hair and Nails when Holland and Barret have had a sale on.  I’m absolutely clueless as to what each vitamin does and how it directly influences my health, but following that segment on This Morning the more I was determind to learn about the advantages of using food and additional vitamins to help with hair growth.

So what nutrients are best to help counteract hair loss? & what could we be eating more of to ensure we’re getting enough of those nutrients?

First, a quick hair lesson:  Each individual strand of hair on your head is connected to your blood by super small blood vessels at the surface of your scalp and its these blood vessels that are imperative to hair growth.  People who suffer from hair loss (myself included) have weakened blood vessels which limit how much nutrient filled blood is being supplied to the follicles on your scalp.   In order to breathe life into these weakened/lazy blood vessels, you need to get them pumping with nutrient filled blood again.  This will mean that the goodness you’re consuming has much greater access to the hair and your hair will lap up the goodness.

Iron is absolutely paramount for helping deliver blood to the bodies cells.  Neglect to add enough iron to your diet and your blood won’t have enough blood to carry oxygen to your scalp which is why doctors have seen a correlation between anemia (iron deficiency) and hair growth.

Food for thought: Dark leafy greens, whole grains, beans, red meat, turkey, egg yolks, clams, mussels, oysters.

Omega-3 and their fatty acids aren’t just for your brain, they actually keep your whole noggin nourished.  The nutrients reach the hair shaft and cell membrane in your scalp which nourishes the follicles and encourages healthy hair growth.  They also add much needed elasticity to hair which helps to prevent it from breaking off and leaving you with those sticky out bits that drive you crazy and the hair that gets stuck in your shower drain.  Want an INTERESTING fact?  The body doesn’t actually produce its own Omega-3 itself so your body only gets what you eat!

Food for thought: Flaxseeds, walnuts, salmon, tuna, kale, Brussels sprouts, rapeseed oil.
Vitamins to take: Omega 3-6-9

Zinc is your ultimate hair hero!  It helps to boosting and repair tissue growth and keeps your scalp and hair healthy by maintaining the production of oil secreting glands that helps your hair to grow.  We all know the horror stories about over washing your hair and stripping the hair of its natural oils.  Overly washing your hair means you’re washing away Zinc’s hard work… don’t let his hard work go to waste.Food for thought: Chickpeas, wheat germ, oysters, beef, veal liver, roast beef.

Vitamins to take: True Woman Complete

Your hair is pretty much pure protein, so if you don’t eat enough for both your #HENCH muscles and hair, you’ll have Popeye style biceps and a bald head or a thick head of hair and puny little muscles.  And even if you do manage to grow that head of hair, eating too little protein can turn it grey.  And as much as grey hair might be “on fleek” at the moment, becoming naturally grey before your time isn’t desirable.  What you need is a to take a (kale) leaf out of those gym bunnies book and enjoy a diet rich in high-quality and naturally occurring protein.

Food for thought: Greek yoghurt, eggs yolks, kale, peanuts, beans, peas, lentils, tofu, chicken, turkey.
Vitamins to take: Amino Acids are complex chemicals that are the building blocks of protein, which are required for the creation of new tissue, and the repair of existing cells.