Top 10 Tips for Healthy Hair
Hair lacking lustre, growing slowly or feeling brittle? There are lots of factors that could be contributing to your hair woes but, luckily, diet can play a significant role in helping to get your hair back to its healthiest. Here at Natures Aid, we’ve looked at what vitamins are good for hair, which minerals your body needs and the most important nutritional factors to help put an end to bad hair days and support strong healthy hair.
1. Remember: healthy hair starts from within
The first and most important thing to remember is that healthy hair comes from a healthy diet and proper nutrition. Using a good shampoo and conditioner alongside external hair treatments will not have the effect you are looking for if you do not get your diet and nutrition right. Hair growth comes from the roots, and these need to get the correct nutrition from your bloodstream.
Many of the best vitamins for hair can be found in natural foods, but you can also supplement with vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to ensure you’re topped up on those you may be lacking. Read on for our top recommendations!
2. Ensure you are getting enough protein
Protein is made up of building blocks called amino acids. Your body needs these amino acids to produce keratin, a protein which is essential to the strength and structure of your hair. Without a healthy protein intake, you will not have healthy keratin production and are likely to find that your hair breaks easily and grows slowly. Protein can be sourced from many foods, including eggs and oily fish, or nuts and seeds for those following a vegetarian or plant-based diet regime. More on the extra benefits of these to follow!
3. Consider eating oily fish
Oily fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel, and sardines, are not just great protein sources – they also help to provide beneficial omega-three fats. Research has shown that ensuring your diet supplies a healthy level of omega-three fats can help to support healthier hair, and some of this research has indicated that it could also help to reduce hair loss and prevent dry, brittle hair too.
4. Try and include nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds form an important cornerstone of protein supply in plant-based dietary regimes. They are also an excellent source of beneficial fatty acids and provide
some of the best vitamins for hair, including B vitamins and vitamin E, as well as the mineral zinc, which helps to support healthy hair. Flax seeds, hemp seeds and chia seeds also help to provide an excellent vegetarian source of omega-three fatty acids, for those who do not want to include fish in their daily diet.
5. Don’t forget your fruit and vegetables
When it comes to the best vitamins for hair, fruit and vegetables have them in abundance! For healthy hair, the more colourful your vegetables, the better. Look for sweet potato, yellow pepper, strawberries, and spinach. These foods will supply vitamin C and vitamin A. Vitamin A helps to support the health of the hair and the skin, while vitamin C is essential to support the healthy production of collagen, which is required for strong, healthy hair.
6. Think about zinc
There are some nutrients which should not be overlooked when it comes to healthy hair, and zinc is one of them. Zinc can be obtained from a healthy diet; however, those following a plant-based or vegetarian diet may be at risk of a zinc deficiency. This is because some of the best food sources of this mineral include red meat and shellfish. Also, whole grains and legume contain phytates, which can bind to zinc and limit its absorption.
Those worried about supporting healthy hair, skin, and nails, may want to consider a zinc supplement, to ensure their daily requirements for this nutrient are being met.
7. Be aware of biotin
Also known as vitamin H, biotin is possibly one of the best vitamins for hair and is included in many different products aimed at supporting your hair, skin and nails.
To ensure a healthy intake of biotin from your diet, try to include eggs, fish, nuts and seeds. The bacteria of your microbiome can also manufacture biotin. This means that supporting your microbiome and keeping the bacteria which live there healthy by eating plenty of fibre and fermented foods could help to ensure healthy biotin levels to support your hair.
8. Check your iodine intake
Iodine is an essential mineral which is required by your thyroid to make thyroid hormone. Therefore, a deficiency of iodine could result in an underactive thyroid. The most common symptoms of an underactive thyroid include hair loss, as well as weight gain, problems losing weight, tiredness and hormonal issues. Anyone who thinks they may have iodine deficiency or an underactive thyroid should speak to their doctor, who will most likely suggest a blood test to check.
Iodine is commonly found in table salt, seaweeds, sea kelp, and seafood. Those most at risk of low iodine include pregnant women, people who do not use iodised table salt and those who follow a plant-based diet (which does not include seaweeds). It is important to note that people who have been diagnosed as having a thyroid disorder and prescribed thyroxine to treat this should not take iodine or sea kelp supplements. However, you may want to consider adding some selenium to your daily regime.
9. Supplement with selenium
Selenium is an essential trace element which is known to be deficient in many soils, leading to an increased risk of human deficiency. It acts as an antioxidant, helping to prevent damage to cells. It also supports healthy thyroid function, and can safely be taken alongside thyroid medications. It is often combined with zinc, as well as vitamin C, creating a great support system for healthy hair.
10. Increase your iron
Low thyroid function and iron deficiency are the most common causes of hair loss – especially in women. If you are feeling lethargic and you have had your thyroid checked out, then it could also be a good idea to get your iron levels checked.
Those at highest risk of low iron include pregnant women, menstruating women and people who exercise regularly, due to extra demand for red blood cells and therefore iron in these circumstances. Those following a vegan or vegetarian diet may also be at risk; while some vegetables are excellent sources of iron, this form of iron is not as easily absorbed by the body. As well as benefiting your hair, iron has many roles to play in the body, including the healthy production of red blood cells, a reduction in tiredness and fatigue and healthy cognitive function. If you’re struggling to intake enough iron in your diet alone, using an iron supplement is a great way to ensure your iron levels are where they should be.
Natures Aid Hair, Skin & Nails Formula combines many of these nutrients into one convenient tablet, including zinc, biotin, vitamin C and kelp.
Written By Jenny Logan DNMed. (Jenny is a Nutritional Therapist who has worked with clients in Health Foods Stores and Private Clinics for over 20 years.)