If you want to check how healthy you are, take a good look at your hair!
Hair is a good barometer of what is going on healthwise internally, and no matter how much we spend on expensive shampoos and hair products, if our diet and lifestyle is not balanced, then this will show up as lack of lustre hair. The good news though, is that there is a lot we can do about this.
This can point to a number of problems such as a lack of protein or a lack of iron, causing anaemia. Iron is stored in your hair follicles and is used for a number of essential body processes like making haemoglobin. If the body is low on iron then these stores are used for the essential body maintenance and diverted from your hair. Hair loss could also be caused by simply not eating enough calories – your hair in fact is one of the last areas to receive the vitamins and minerals that you eat!
My suggestion: top up on oily fish (such as salmon, mackerel and sardines) which contain omega 3, iron and vitamin B12. About three percent of the hair is made up of omega 3 fatty acids. Salmon pasta bake with courgette noodles and a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice would be a good meal choice – the vitamin C in the orange juice will aid the absorption of the iron in the fish.
To help hair growth:
Poor hair growth could mean that you are lacking in proteins. Cottage cheese and yoghurt are full of important proteins such as casein and whey. Stewed apple and Greek yoghurt for breakfast?
To nurture lifeless hair:
A lack of vitamin B6 could be the cause of hair thinning and loss. B vitamins work best together so taking a complex vitamin B supplement may help. B6 is important as it helps the body absorb nutrients from the food and affects the production of red blood cells which feed your hair follicles. Bananas, whole grain cereals and turkey, all contain good amounts of vitamin B6.
To boost shine:
We all have that friend who has bouncy, shiny hair. How do they do it? They almost certainly eat lots of beta carotene and vitamin A to maintain the natural oils in the hair and keep the scale in top condition. Fill your plate with anything orange (this is beta carotene) and your body will convert this into vitamin A. So lots of orange peppers, tangerines, butternut squash and carrots!
To combat a dry, itchy scalp:
A dry, itchy scalp is often an indication that you are not eating enough essential fatty acids. Alongside oily fish, it is important to include avocados and nuts as well. Eating a tablespoon of organic virgin coconut oil or avocado oil daily will help, but also including walnuts in your diet will as well. Walnuts in fact are full of selenium that can help decrease your likelihood of dryness and flakes.
If your scalp is red and itchy, then this could mean that you are eating too much salt and sugar and that the scalp is inflamed. Inflammation is the root cause of all types of hair loss and hair thinning. The most important thing in this case is to completely remove sugar from your diet and also start exercising (this will burn the sugar reserves in your body). You can also put organic virgin coconut oil on the scalp and hair as a treatment; the anti bacterial properties are brilliant!
To boost thickness:
One of the first signs of perimenopause or menopause is the thinning of the hair. This is because of a drop in oestrogen levels in the body. Zinc becomes really important to include in your diet as it is used to regulate the hormones that have a direct impact on the thickness and growth of your hair. Try to eat lots of whole grains such as bread and cereals, brown rice and nuts.
For those that will start to follow my advice mentioned above, please be patient. It can take between three to six months to show in your hair. However it is worth it!
Invest in your hair. It is the crown you never take off.