Swishy, gorgeous hair needn’t be just the stuff of TV adverts. Sure, our genetics play a huge part in the hair you inherit but diet and nutrition play a key role too.
Knowing how to make the most of your crowning glory is helped by understanding a little more about hair itself.
The main constituent of hair is keratin, a structural protein. This is made in the hair follicle using the protein we eat, with support from a number of vitamins and minerals. Put simply, if your diet is poor, your hair follicle won’t get the building blocks it needs to make strong, healthy hair.
The most important nutrient for hair growth is protein, due to its structural role. The good news is that you don’t need to go crazy on your diet to help support lustrous locks. Protein is abundant in many foods, and it’s rare for anyone to be protein-deficient. Meat, fish, dairy products, tofu, pulses and nuts are all great sources. A palm size portion of protein is the perfect amount at mealtimes.
Studies have also linked zinc and selenium with hair loss, both of which are micronutrients. You need a small amount of these but many people are deficient through diet alone.
Iron, vitamin A and omega-3 deficiencies are common in people who experience challenges with hair lustre or loss too. So, make sure you include some oily fish or nuts and seeds in your diet. Lean meat or lentils are good for iron. Leafy greens provide beta-carotene, which is converted to Vitamin A in the body.
Remember too that each hair goes through a period of growth followed by a rest phase, when the hair eventually falls out. Stressful events can push more hairs into the resting phase - this includes the stress caused by crash dieting, or a poor diet based on processed foods, sugar and alcohol.
So, eat well and use our Inner Menu for inspiration - and remember to take time out every now and then to relax and de-stress.
Download our individual diet plans