Did you know that eating the wrong food starves the hair, often leaving it looking dull, dry, brittle -and can sometimes even be the root cause of hair loss?! That’s why, in this article we thought we’d explore how nourishing your hair with a well-balanced, nutrient rich diet can make all the difference to the appearance and overall health of your hair! So, read on to find out which sorts of food your hair really wants to see on your dinner plate…
- Reduce refined sugar – as much as you can!
The National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) carried out between 2014-2016 suggests that many of us in the UK are eating three times (yes three times!) the amount of our recommended daily sugar intake – but what has this got to do with our hair?! Well let’s see what sugar actually does to our body…
Any time we consume sugar we experience a rapid glucose spike which increases the number of hormones, insulin, and steroids in our blood. Over a long period of time this can destroy hair follicles and the protein structures of the hair – contributing factors of hair loss in those who have the genetic predisposition.
So how much sugar is ok to eat? The UK government recommends that our daily intake of free-sugar should be no more than 30g a day, the equivalent to 7 sugar cubes – which means on average most of the UK is consuming roughly 21 sugar cubes on a daily basis! You might not think that you’re consuming 21 cubes of sugar, so let’s put this into perspective – one vanilla latte with soya milk and an all butter croissant for breakfast is already 27g of sugar, leaving you with only 3g of sugar left to consume for the day… just imagine all the sugar you’re consuming on a daily basis, over seven days a week, fifty-two weeks a year, how much then over a lifetime? For many of us, it seems to be the case that our dietary choices could be putting our body and scalp under undue strains – is this the excess sugar really worth the stress?
2. Up your intake of omega 3
Unlike many other nutrients, the UK has no recommended specific dose for omega 3’s fatty acids, although it’s loosely recommended that we should be consuming at least two portions of fish a week – especially oily fish. Not a fish-eater? Those omega’s are also present in foods such as walnuts, pumpkin seeds, rapeseed, linseed, leafy green vegetables and even grass-fed lamb. But again, why is our hair hungry for these foods?
As we’ve already seen, excess sugar destroys hair follicles, but did you know omega 3 fatty acids strengthen and nourish our hair follicles? Like any other part of the body, from time to time hair follicles may become inflamed which threatens the function of our hair follicles and neglects hair growth – slowing down or stopping new hair growth. As we’ve all been told, omega 3 is one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory nutrients given in nature. So, what do we recommend? Get fishing if you can, or if not make sure your lunchbox is full of lots of omega-rich nuts and greens!
3. Get the right vitamins!
We’ve all been told that in order to maintain the overall good health we should be eating a nutrient rich diet. But have you ever wondered which vitamins are of specific importance to our hair or considered how some vitamins work alongside other vitamins, minerals and nutrients to promote optimum hair health?
One of the most essential nutrients needed to promote healthy skin and healthy hair is collagen. Responsible for flushing out toxins, pathogens and as a key advocate of youthful skin, hair, and nails, as we get older our body really needs more collagen! But why discuss collagen when considering which vitamins are of specific importance to the health of our hair? Because vitamin C is the key to collagen production! For the body to be able to create and store collagen, it needs adequate amounts of vitamin C, making it a vital nutrient for hair health.
But what about minerals? What role do minerals play in the health of our hair? One of the most important trace minerals needed for hair growth and hair health is zinc. You’ve probably heard a lot about zinc in relation to our hair, but what does it actually do? In its simplest form, zinc helps our bodies process carbohydrates, fats and proteins – the basic building blocks of hair. Zinc also plays an extremely important role not only helping hair to grow and repair, but like our little omega friends ensures that our hair follicles are working properly and protects our oil glands.
Of course, this list of nutrients that we’ve highlighted aren’t exhaustive, there are many more vitamins and minerals at work in our bodies that are busy at work encouraging healthy hair and a healthy scalp as we speak. Like everything, balance is key. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that your nutrient intake is balanced and varied to ensure optimum hair growth and health.
So, what is your hair hungry for? In short, your hair wants to eat everything – that’s everything that nature intended for us to be eating! This means eating a wide variety of foods considered to be as close to nature as possible. In the long run, we hope that some of these small, but very important dietary changes are things that will make all the difference to your overall hair health!