I believe the condition of our hair reflects the state of our general health. More and more women and men are suffering from hair loss and thinning hair than ever before! I have not found a miracle shampoo that will magically transform your hair into luscious locks. If products claim this then it is only temporary. My approach to healthy hair is to feed it with the right nutrients and supplement with the correct balance of vitamins and minerals.
My formula for healthy hair is:
Healthy FOOD & SUPPLEMENTS + Less stress & MORE EXERCISE + Hair OILS and CONDITIONING
A good diet as the hair needs nutrients from within. I also recommend supplementing nutrients to boost nutrients and hair growth. Nutritional deficiencies such as iron deficiency anaemia, low protein and zinc can lead to hair loss or thinner hair. Certain medications and chemotherapy can also impact hair growth. Outlined below are some key nutrients and foods that can help keep your locks lustrous.
Iron is contained in hair follicles and maintains hair growth and strength.
Food sources: red meat, eggs, pulses, nuts, dark green leafy vegetables and beetroot. Vitamin B12 found in yeast, organ meats, fish, eggs and dairy, can help iron absorption.
Silica & Zinc are trace minerals that strengthen blood vessels and improve circulation, which stimulates blood flow to the scalp and encourages growth.
Silica food sources: oats, unrefined grains, cucumbers, asparagus, lettuce, cabbage, onions, potatoes, and sunflower seeds. Zinc is found in lean beef, poultry, seafood, lamb, whole grain cereals, beans and pumpkin seeds.
Protein: May help lengthen hair by promoting hair growth. 90% of the hair follicle is protein and adeficiency may place the hair growth process into the resting phase. Food sources: lean meats, eggs, dairy products, beans, and legumes. Protein powder shakes are recommended to supplement protein to meet daily protein needs. Whey protein and brown rice protein are recommended.
Calcium: May help to thicken hair by promoting healthy hair growth.
Food sources include: cheese, yogurt, salmon, turnip greens, fresh and dried figs.
Biotin: functions like a B-vitamin and may promote healthy hair growth.
Food sources include: egg (yolks), wheat germ, oatmeal, mushrooms, cauliflower, peanuts, cheese. Biotin supplements are also available to boost levels and is may help hair grow.
Essential fats are great for dry and brittle hair. Food sources: ground flaxseed, nuts, olives, avocado, tuna, and salmon. Can also take vegan DHA & EPA algae supplements to boost omega 3 levels in the body.
Vitamin A: helps sebum production and may reduce dandruff.
Food sources: kale, sweet potatoes, red pepper, and cantaloupe melon. Many individuals are low in vitamin A and so supplementing vitamin A is advised.
Water is also essential to keep the hair cells hydrated and shiny. Water makes up approximately one fourth of the weight of a strand of hair. You can add some lemon or lime slices to plain water for a refreshing flavour.
Stinging nettles are a traditional remedy for stimulating hair growth. You can purchase ready-made nettle tea bags or make your own with to 3 or 4 tsp. of dried nettle leaves or roots and add 2/3 cup boiling water and steep up to five minutes. You can also use nettle externally in hair tonics or rinses.
Additional lifestyle tips for healthy hair
Hair has growth and resting phases so there may be some times of the year when the hair doesn’t grow.
Stress! Can impact hair loss, deep breathing, meditation, yoga and head massages are some techniques to better manage stress.
Indian Head Massage is a wonderful holistic treatment. Massaging the scalp stimulates blood flow and oxygen to the hair follicles and can awaken the roots of the hair. Tension can build up in the neck and shoulders so the massage is great and melting away the strains in these area and simultaneously relaxing the body and mind which leaves you feeling an instant sense of peace and tranquility.
Article by Sonal Shah. Sonal is a nutritional therapist and director of Synergy Nutrition®.