The government is, as of yet, unable to fix a date for lifting the current lockdown restrictions. So, while hairdressers remain closed, it’s important to keep your tresses in tip top condition.
One of the easiest and most beneficial ways to keep your hair healthy is ensuring you’re eating the right foods. Both deficiencies, as well as excesses, of certain foods, can affect your hair.
That’s why Nicole Petty, Hair Care expert over at Milk + Blush shares her knowledge on what foods can help you maintain shiny, healthy, and strong hair.
How food affects your hair – Importance of nutrition
Age, genetics, and diet all play a key role in hair health, but with only one in your control, subtle changes in your food intake can go a long way to thicker, fuller locks.
A nutritional imbalance will often show up first in the form of hair loss. A lack of minerals like iron, selenium, and zinc are commonly associated with hair loss, as they’re needed for natural sunlight defence and getting a strong oxygen supply to the follicles.
Your hair cells – as well as the rest of your body – need a balance of proteins, complex carbohydrates, iron, vitamins, and minerals to function at their best. Having a balanced diet ensures a healthy scalp.
How food affects your hair – The most important meal of the day
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for your body and your hair. Energy is needed to form hair cells first thing in the morning (or whenever you wake up!).
For example, salmon is packed full of omega 3’s, 6’s, and 9’s and healthy fatty acids that have been scientifically linked to boosting hair growth and follicle health. These same healthy fatty acids can be found in avocados for those looking to try out Veganuary this year.
Eggs are not only a good source of protein and biotin – the natural building blocks of a hair follicle – they’re also rich in vitamins A, E, and M which are proven to give your hair the boost in strength it needs.
When it comes to black tea – moderation is key! Without milk, black tea can deplete your iron levels, with the possibility of anaemia setting in over time. If you can, balance it with an iron-rich cereal to make sure your locks aren’t missing out on any nutrients.
How food affects your hair – Must-have foods
Varying your diet is the best way to stock up on essential nutrients not only needed for good health but to prime your tresses as well.
For example, introducing nuts and seeds into your lunches can help turbo-charge your levels of vitamin E – known to boost hair growth.
Spinach is a fantastic all-rounder when it comes to your health and hair. The superfood has often been linked to promoting hair and scalp health, thanks to its abundance of folates, iron, and vitamin A.
Low protein diets inevitably lead to limited hair growth, so we shouldn’t be shying away from meats. Chicken, turkey, and white fish are excellent sources of protein and go a long way towards helping your follicles perform at their best.
Alternatively, for those making the switch to a plant-based diet, soy, beans, and lentils are all excellent protein sources.
How food affects your hair – Foods to avoid
With the new year comes a new opportunity to snap out of some bad habits – in particular, the ones that wreck your locks if left unchecked.
Foods that are high in mercury can also cause problems for your hair. Known to shrink follicles and disrupt cell division, high-mercury products like mackerel and tuna, some factory-farmed meats, and food colourings are best eaten in moderation.
Of course, a list of bad habits wouldn’t be complete without refined or processed sugars. Known for raising the level of androgen in the bloodstream – a male hormone associated with shrinking follicles – hair loss can be a new motivator to stop you from reaching for that second chocolate bar.
By Nicole Petty, Hair Care Expert at Milk + Blush