Welcome to the next step in our healthy hair challenge. How did step one go? Were you able to honestly analyze your attitude towards your hair and start making changes? We hope so. You know the saying ‘Rome was not built in a day’, so it is with healthy hair; it is a succession of small but sustainable tweaks to our lifestyle that will allow us to have healthier hair.
Why does diet even matter anyway? Healthy hair grows from within. If you feed your body junk, the poor quality of nutrients floating around your body will not result in healthy hair, skin or a healthy You! The cells that make up each strand of hair require a regular supply of key nutrients. Eating the correct balance of the following vitamins and minerals will help to supply your body with useful nutrients that will lead to luxuriant hair.
- Protein As hair is made of protein, ensuring you have enough protein in your diet is crucial for making each strand strong and healthy. If you are not consuming enough protein in your diet, your hair is likely to become dry, brittle and weak. Extremely low protein diets may result in hair loss. Chicken, turkey, fish, dairy products and eggs are excellent sources of protein, as are legumes and nuts.
- Iron is an especially important mineral for hair. Too little iron (anaemia) is a major cause of hair loss. The hair follicle and root are fed by a nutrient rich blood supply. When iron levels fall below a certain point, you may experience anaemia. This disrupts the nutrient supply to the follicle, affecting the hair growth cycle and may result in shedding. Animal products such as red meat, chicken and fish are good sources of iron that our bodies can easily absorb. Other sources are lentils, spinach, kale, spring greens and broccoli.
- Vitamin C aids the absorption of iron so foods high in vitamin C are good to eat alongside iron-rich foods. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant and so it is used readily by the body. The best sources are blackcurrants, blueberries, broccoli, guava, kiwi fruits, peppers, oranges, papaya, strawberries and sweet potatoes. Vitamin C helps in the production of collagen that strengthens the capillaries supplying the hair shaft.
- Omega-3 Fatty acids are important fats our body cannot make itself, and therefore must be obtained through our diet. Omega-3s are found in the cells that line the scalp and also provide the oils that keep your scalp and hair hydrated. Eat more oily fish such as salmon, herring, sardines, trout and mackerel and plant sources including avocado, pumpkin seeds and walnuts.
- Vitamin A This is needed by the body to make sebum. Sebum is an oil produced by our sebaceous glands and provides a natural conditioner for a healthy scalp. Without sebum we experience a dry itchy scalp (a big issue for curly haired people as our curls mean the sebum doesnt really travel down our hair shaft). Take in more orange/yellow coloured vegetables which are high in beta-carotene (they contain vitamin A) such as carrots, pumpkins ,sweet potato and cantaloupe melon
Let us not forget Zinc, Selenium, Vitamin E, Biotin, all of which support hair growth, scalp health and prevent brittle hair (breakage), flaky scalps and hairloss. They can be found in beef, oysters, nuts , liver , eggs, soy and fortified cereal. Notice how all the vitamins mentioned are found in fresh, healthy, natural products.
Remember to keep well hydrated by drinking enough water!
We would love to hear what you are doing to eat healthier and how you manage to keep well hydrated. What foods will you eat for the sake of your hair? Let us know.
Out hair inspiration for this week has to go to TV personality Tia Mowry, not only for her slick curls but her focus on healthy eating! Have you tried any of her recipes? They are delish!
See you in step three of our five part series. Until then, happy hair loving.
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Afrotility is the founder of blieq.com , her focus is on natural hair care and styling. She is Passionate about afro hair in all its different degrees of curliness, and believes that “understanding your hair is the key to enjoying it and loving every single curly strand”. She also insists that “no styling without consultation” should be the new standard.
Find her on Instagram.
Editor: Ama Badu (Senior Online Editor)