As we age keeping hair healthy is a challenge. It may not be glamourous, but the truth about healthy hair is less about trips to expensive salons and more about overhauling our diet.
The inside out secret to keep hair healthy
Keeping your hair healthy and in good condition starts by nourishing it from the inside out. Like skin, your hair has high nutritional requirements and even a small deficiency in key nutrients can leave it looking dull, lifeless, brittle and dry.
Low calorie and fad diets which involve cutting out major food groups are two of the most common causes of hair loss and thinning. When your body doesn’t get everything it needs, nutrients are diverted away from less essential tasks, such as hair growth, in favour of more important jobs. As a result, hair growth slows or even stops, so when a hair falls out there is no new hair to replace it.
Iron or protein deficiencies
1 in 4 women in the UK have low iron levels and this is one of the most common causes of hair loss, thinning and slow growth. Women who suffer from heavy periods and anyone who doesn’t eat red meat needs to be especially careful to ensure they get enough iron.
Low protein diets are also linked with hair loss and brittle hair. Protein provides the building blocks from which hair is made, helps make your hair strong and keeps it in the growing phase of its cycle.
Feed your hair
Key nutrients for healthy hair include protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins A, D and E, iron, zinc and selenium, as well as two important B vitamins, biotin and niacin. Admittedly, that sounds like a lot, but it can be attained by a healthy, balanced diet containing at least five portions of fruit and/or vegetables a day, two servings of lean protein, healthy fats from foods like avocado, oily fish, nuts and seeds and wholegrain carbohydrates.
A nutritionist’s fridge
If you’re looking to keep healthy hair and prevent hair loss, here’s what I would hope to find…
Lean red meat, which provides iron in a form which is more easily absorbed by the body. Alternative vegetarian sources of iron include beans and pulses, fortified breakfast cereals, kale and watercress. Meat is also a good source of protein and the amino acid lysine. Vegetarian foods rich in lysine include eggs, nuts and seeds.
Wheat germ, wholegrain cereals and shellfish, which are rich in zinc. Zinc deficiency is thought to weaken the hair follicles and increase the risk of hair loss.
Salmon and mackerel, two examples of oily fish, which provide essential fatty acids to help keep the scalp healthy. Oily fish also provides vitamin D.
Probiotic yoghurt, which helps boost levels of friendly bacteria in the gut. These bacteria can make the B vitamin biotin, which helps to improve hair strength and texture.
Fresh fruit and vegetables, to provide vitamin C, which helps neutralise free radicals which can damage the hair.
Win a Healthspan beauty bundle
We’ve teamed up with Healthspan to offer you the chance to win a super beauty bundle containing the excellent new Replenish Hair & Nails 50 Plus supplement, plus Replenish Shampoo & Intensive Repair Conditioner to help tackle any dryness, damage and help to strengthen your hair.
The new supplement combines soy isoflavones, coenzyme Q10 with a triple amino acid source, as well as biotin, vitamin C, copper, zinc, selenium and manganese to maintain nails, hair and skin, pigmentation and protect your cells from oxidative stress. The shampoo and conditioner are packed full of Pro-vitamin B5 and vitamin C, plus keratin and natural oils to deeply nourish your hair.
For your chance to be entered into the draw, login and answer the simple question below.