The secret to healthy hair doesn’t start and end with having a regular cut and using the right shampoo. The cells inside your hair need vital nutrients if your gorgeous locks are always going to look lustrous and healthy, which means your diet is important too. That’s why, if you’re not looking after yourself properly, your hair will never look its best.
Luckily, there’s a way you can make sure your hair receives all the vitamins and minerals it needs - and it starts with this list of key ingredients.
If you are low in iron, your hair will suffer. That’s because the hair follicles depend on a nutrient-rich blood supply – without it, your hair may not grow properly and might even begin to shed. Iron is also vitally important to your general health. If your iron levels are too low, that could result in anaemia. Choose red meat, fish and chicken, soy beans, broccoli and spinach to give your hair and body a regular injection of iron goodness.
Your body needs protein, and so does your hair. Without protein, your hair is likely to become dry and fragile – you might even notice some hair loss. Eating lean meats like chicken and turkey, fish, eggs and dairy products will help make your hair healthier. If you’re a vegetarian, you’ll find valuable protein sources in nuts and legumes.
You’ve almost certainly heard of sebum, which is the oily substance our sebaceous glands release that forms a natural conditioner for our scalp. It also prevents our hair from becoming dry. Vitamin A is what our body needs to produce sebum effectively, and it is plentiful in orange and yellow vegetables like carrots and sweet potato.
This is another important vitamin that keeps our body healthy and does our hair good, mostly by aiding the production of collagen which makes our hair shafts stronger. Vitamin C also helps us to absorb iron more easily, so try to combine it with iron-rich foods for maximum effectiveness. You’ll find Vitamin C in a huge range of fruits and vegetables like oranges, blackcurrants, kiwi fruit, broccoli and sweet potatoes.
We all know the damage UV light can do to our skin, and it’s the same for our scalp and hair. Vitamin E is an antioxidant which can protect skin cells and help keep our scalp healthy. You’ll find it in nuts and barley.
Not so long ago, Omega-3 was the miracle fatty acid that everyone was looking for in their food. Well, the good news is that Omega-3 isn’t just a fad, it really works. You’ll find it in oily fish (salmon, trout and sardines) as well as pumpkin seeds and walnuts, and it’s an essential nutrient that provides oils which keep your scalp and hair healthy and hydrated.
Is your hair brittle? Maybe you don’t have enough biotin in your diet. You’ll find biotin in wholegrains, soy flour, liver and yeast. Include any of those in your diet, and your hair will thank you for it.
This isn’t an exhaustive list, but if you practice sensible, balanced nutrition with regular exercise and plenty of sleep, you’ll be amazed by how quickly your hair will show the benefits. And the good news is, you’ll be taking care of the rest of your body as well and feeling and looking fabulous!
So – what’s on your menu for tonight?