We’re all familiar with the adage, “You are what you eat.” But many people forget that the results of healthy habits and thoughtful nutrition, in addition to the rest of your body, also apply to your hair. Although genetics play a role, studies have shown that there is an essential link between hair health and lifestyle choices, particularly when it comes to food. Your diet has a direct impact on the health of your hair, and your hair is reliant on attentive nutrient consumption, especially B vitamins, Zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, and fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, and E. And, while eating healthy can dramatically improve your overall hair health, eating the wrong foods can make you susceptible to hair loss, limp hair, or thinning.
For a healthy scalp that promotes hair that looks and feels great, consider this list of tips to help you better understand the relationship between foods and hair. Doing so will go a long way in ensuring that if we indeed are what we eat, your hair is as healthy as the rest of your body.
Avoid Foods That Cause Hair Loss
Before making significant changes to your diet in the name of healthier hair, take inventory of what you already eat. Many people are surprised to learn that some foods they thought were harmless do, in fact, contribute to hair loss. Here is a list of foods to avoid:
Dairy – While milk proteins may help preserve hair health under some circumstances, it is worth noting that dairy contains a certain quantity of fat. The main effect of fat is to raise testosterone levels in the body, and foods with a high glycemic index boost testosterone production, one of the causes of hair loss for some people. Furthermore, dairy products can aggravate your condition and may cause hair to fall out if you have dandruff, eczema, or psoriasis.
Sugar - Hair is made of protein, so everything we eat eventually comes up in our hair. A lack of protein in your diet means you can say goodbye to healthy hair, so you want to avoid sugar as much as possible. Sugar breaks down protein, and carbohydrate breaks down into sugar.
Nuts – Nuts would at first appear to have the ideal ingredients for healthy hair; they’re high in both healthy fats and protein. But some people have an allergic reaction to nuts that can end up impacting their hair. Many nuts also contain selenium, which, while necessary in small amounts, can cause hair loss if ingested excessively. You should be aware of the Brazil nut because it contains a lot of selenium.
Refined Carbs - What’s a refined carbohydrate? Pretty much all your favorite foods - breads, cakes, pastas, and pizzas. These refined carbohydrates are one of the many causes of hair loss and interfere with your stress defenses. So, if you're already dealing with stress-related hair loss, these meals aren't going to help. Furthermore, if consumed, they transform into sugar, another ingredient to avoid.
Swordfish – Swordfish, like most seafood, is a fantastic source of protein. It is, nevertheless, one of the fishes with high mercury content. And here's the catch: mercury is one of the leading causes of hair loss! It interacts with the other mineral traces in our bodies, including Zinc. Mercury and Zinc don't get along, and combining them can result in a zinc deficiency. A zinc deficiency can cause hair thinning and loss.
Greasy Food – As you may be aware, the scalp secretes an oily material known as 'sebum.' Sebum keeps your hair and the skin on your scalp moisturized. When you overload your body with oil, though, this Sebum becomes greasy as well. As a result, your hair will appear greasy and limp. But there's a lot more going on.
The grease covering your hair follicle makes it difficult for your hair to grow, which is one of the many causes of hair fall. To avoid greasy hair, follow a regular scalp and hair cleansing routine and avoid greasy foods.
Alcohol - There is a link between alcohol use and hair loss, just as there is a link between smoking and hair loss. Chronic alcohol consumption can reduce the amounts of key vitamins and minerals and alter nutrient absorption. Because alcohol is also an appetite suppressant, it is frequently substituted for food in people's diets.
Additionally, alcohol may cause some people to make bad eating choices, resulting in a lower overall nutrient intake essential to maintaining healthy hair follicles and producing healthier hair. Drinking too much alcohol regularly can damage your body on a cellular level and induce hair loss.
Start Your Day With A Hearty Breakfast
Eating more breakfast and lunch, and fewer evening meals (especially late-night snacking) is critical to producing the healthiest hair. The later we eat, the more difficult it is for our bodies to digest the meal properly. Most nutritionists recommend eating a healthy breakfast within thirty minutes of waking up and starting your day. Many also advise that you should stop eating twelve hours after that breakfast. So, if your breakfast is at 6:30 am, no eating after 6:30 pm until the following day!
Adopt A High-Protein Diet
Proteins are the "building blocks" of keratin, the protein that gives hair its strength. It's critical to eat a protein-rich diet to help grow thick hair. Nutrient-dense, unprocessed foods like avocados, almonds, yogurt, and fatty fish are great for your hair. Additionally, the fats in wild-caught mackerel, herring, sardines, bluefish, and salmon repair and are fantastic for your hair. Eating fish at least twice per week will provide protein to build strong and healthy hair, and the omega-3 fatty acids present in seafood will help give your hair a robust appearance.
If you’re not a fish lover, grass-fed meat, eggs, plain Greek yogurt, lentils, and beans are excellent alternatives. But know that it's also crucial to ensure your body can absorb all the nutrients from lean proteins and green leafy deliciousness. Healthy fats also help ensure appropriate absorption of vitamins A, E, and D. To that end, you can garnish meals with a handful of nuts, seeds, or olives and cook using olive oil when necessary.
Re-Evaluate Your Low-Fat Diet
If you've ever followed the fat-free diet craze, you may have noticed a change in your hair. People on extreme low-fat diets often see their hair grow brittle and lifeless. Instead of focusing on low-fat foods, seek healthy fats instead. Your hair, skin, and overall health will reward you. According to research, men who eat more saturated fats like coconut oil, butter, fish oil, and almonds had a lower risk of hair loss. Saturated fats also contribute to a healthy body and lifestyle by possessing naturally good cholesterol, which helps lower heart disease risk.
Reconsider Your Processed-Food Consumption
Nutrient-deficient foods, such as highly processed snacks and meals high in sugar, alcohol, and empty carbohydrates, hurt hair health. By including nutrient-dense foods like vegetables, complete proteins, and healthy fats in your diet, you’ll transform your mindset from “eliminating ‘bad’ foods’" to “adding nourishing foods". As you add more nutritious foods to your diet, you will gradually decrease unhealthy foods naturally.
Use Avocado Oil On Your Hair
Oils play a critical function in preventing hair damage. The scalp produces oil naturally, but an imbalance of oil or environmental factors can cause hair to become dry or brittle. Using various types of vegetable oils near the scalp can coat the hair follicles to avoid damaging the base of the hair and prevent hair from breaking later as it grows out.
Some oils are better than others for this. Polyunsaturated fats have a harder time penetrating the hair than saturated and monosaturated oils. Avocado oil is a wonderful alternative for hair treatments because it contains monounsaturated fats. Avocado oil also includes vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which some people feel can help them maintain strong and healthy hair. It can be used to:
- Get Rid of Dandruff - Hair will appear healthier if the scalp is well-hydrated. Massaging avocado oil throughout your scalp before washing and conditioning hair can assist if the skin is dry or flaky.
- Prevent Breakage - If the hair strands are dry and fragile, they can break. Hair can be made more flexible by applying a thin layer of avocado when brushing or combing. Avocado oil will not repair severe hair damage, but it will assist in preventing additional breakage by lubricating the hair strands.
- Damage Protection - Pollution, sunlight, ocean water, and chlorine, among other things, can dry out a person's hair shafts. Applying avocado oil protects it from the environment. Apply a small layer of avocado oil to your hair before swimming.
Use Almond Oil On Your Hair
Almond oil is an emollient, meaning it can fill in cellular gaps in your hair. Using almond oil on your hair over time will give it a softer texture, and your hair will feel smoother to the touch. You might also notice your hair is easier to style and comb through if you integrate almond oil into your hair care routine. Almond oil also repairs split ends, promotes hair growth, and can be used to treat skin conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis (flaky scalp) and scalp psoriasis.
Almond oil can be applied directly to your hair after rubbing a tiny bit between your palms. After styling your hair, massage the oil into the end of the hair shaft. Pay extra attention to the ends of your hair if you want to add luster and softness.
Almond oil can also be used as part of a conditioning hair mask. Combine two tablespoons of room-temperature coconut oil, one tablespoon of sweet almond oil, and a creamy, natural conditioner like avocado. Leave this powerful hair mask on for up to forty minutes on clean, dry hair.
Almond oil supplements can be found in most health food stores. As an oral supplement, some people take almond oil as a pill or a liquid. This can provide a significant amount of protein, vitamin E, and omega-9 fatty acids, all of which may benefit your hair health.
Use Onions, Eggs, Bananas, And Garlic On Your Hair To Promote Hair Growth
Some foods are meant to be eaten, while others can be ingested directly by your hair! Here are a few foods to consider:
Onion juice promotes hair development by increasing the activity of an antioxidant enzyme called catalase. This enzyme aids in the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide, which improves the hair growth cycle. Also, because sulfur is required for the regrowth of hair follicles, it aids in their nourishment and helps prevent thinning and breakage. The antioxidants in onion juice can also aid in reversing and preventing premature graying. The antibacterial qualities of onions help keep your scalp healthy and free of infection and help with dandruff control.
Eggs are a nutrient-packed superfood for your hair. Eggs include vitamins A and E, biotin, and folate, among other minerals that are claimed to help keep hair strong and healthy. The yolk is high in healthy lipids, which help hair retain moisture and appear sleek. Hair is made up of 80 percent protein, so applying protein-rich eggs can help replenish the protein lost during styling, making hair stronger and better equipped to withstand heat.
Eggs aren't simply good for the hair shaft but also for the scalp. New hair grows more robust and is less prone to breakage and loss when nourishing the scalp. Applying eggs to your roots provides much-needed vitamins and nutrients to the hair follicles.
Potassium, magnesium, amino acids, and vitamins A, B, and E are all abundant in bananas. Potassium is one of the essential elements found in bananas, and it is thought to encourage hair growth and reduce dandruff. Potassium is beneficial not just to the hair but also to the body. It works as a fantastic conditioner and moisturizes and nourishes your hair.
According to a study published in the Indian journal Dermatology, Venereology, and Leprology, applying a 5% garlic gel to parts of the scalp where hair loss had occurred resulted in hair regrowth, a reduction in the size of bald patches, and a higher hair count number. According to the study, garlic's sulphur and selenium content can help strengthen the hair shaft's structure. It not only aids in hair regrowth but also strengthens existing hair.
Avoid Rapid Weight Changes
Fad diets, crash diets, and significant weight gain or reduction almost always end in some form of hair or scalp condition, if not both. If, like many people who experience rapid weight change, you are not convinced your eating habits are all that bad, keep a two-week food diary and write down everything you eat or drink. You may think you’ve been eating much better than you actually are, but journaling is an easy way to see if you have room for improvement.
Drink Spring Water with Minerals
Mineral-rich spring water has high quantities of natural, unprocessed vital trace minerals. It's worth noting, however, that not all mineral waters are made equal, so be selective and read the labels. In particular, mineral-rich springs can be found in France, Italy, and Iceland. Some brands to look for include Evian, Volvic, Acqua Panna, San Pellegrino, and Icelandic Glacial.
Eat Chia Seeds!
Chia seeds are high in fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, phosphorus, and calcium, all of which help make hair, skin, and body stronger and healthier. Phosphorous and L-lysine, a protein-building block, also promote hair growth. Chia seeds also contain Omega 6 LA, a protein with four times the antioxidant activity of blueberries and inhibit the conversion of carbohydrates and other foods to sugar.
Because diet plays a vital role in maintaining the health of our hair, it's essential to learn about and pay attention to the relationship between food and what’s on your head. People's diets specifically impact their hair's growth, strength, and volume. By taking to heart the suggestions above, you’ll ensure that efforts toward a healthy diet will pay off in the form of strong, healthy hair.