I always look at beauty from the inside out…what you eat is what you are. If your diet becomes unhealthy or sleep starts to fall by the wayside, you’ll see it immediately in your skin, body and personality. A few months later, you’ll see it in your hair, too.
It takes longer for nutrition and lifestyle choices to become visible in the hair…vitamins and nutrients affect growth right at the follicle, and it takes time for hair formed there to grow long enough to be visible. If hair is looking thin or lackluster, it’s a good idea to think about overall health and lifestyle. Get plenty of rest, drink lots of water, manage stress conscientiously, and eat nutritiously.
The same foods important for general health are needed to support hair growth. Foods rich in omega-3s will help your body produce fatty acids needed to grow strong, thick hair. Try salmon, nuts (especially walnuts), seeds and healthy oils.
Beta-carotene, which the body converts to Vitamin A, is essential for building all cells, including hair. Beta-carotene also nurtures a healthy scalp. Get plenty of beta-carotene by eating fruits and vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, blueberries, and apricots. Fresh fruits and vegetables are rich in other essential vitamins and minerals as well, and have the added benefit of helping to alkalize the body’s pH.
Iron transports oxygen to hair follicles. Consequently, many women with anemia, an iron shortage, experience hair loss. Iron is abundant in meat products like beef, chicken and fish. Eat plenty of foods rich in zinc – like oysters and eggs – to fight hair loss, thin eyelashes and scalp troubles. Finally, be sure to get plenty of protein. Meat is a great source of protein, but so are Greek yogurt, beans, nuts, and cheese.
Consider covering nutritional bases with a high-quality supplement. A high-potency multivitamin is a great start, as is a B-complex supplement. Remember that supplements can interact with certain medications such as some antibiotics and also specific diabetes medications. Please be certain and consult with your doctor before adding in additional nutritional supplements. You may also find it helpful to talk with your doctor about tests to check levels of iron and other nutrients.
There are many factors beyond nutrition that can have a big effect on hair. Genetics, hormone levels, certain illnesses, food allergies and medications can all have dramatic effects on hair health. Talk with your doctor if you suspect any of these issues.
Whatever the state of your hair, eat well and take care of yourself. You’ll reap the rewards far beyond your scalp.