When on a hair journey a lot of emphasis is given to how you should handle your hair, what products to use, what techniques to apply. This is all well and good, but a healthy inside will always produce a healthy outside when it comes to hair, skin and body. In fact some common problems you experience with hair can be easily remedied by shaking up your diet and lifestyle a bit.
Water moisturises our hair and is essential for us to function. It thins out the blood, improves circulation, and creates a glow on your skin. Another major component of our hair besides keratin is water. Drinking water helps replenish it and thus leads to more moisturised hair. If you are battling dryness, up your water intake. Water also energises the nerve endings of the follicles of skin and the hair, thus enhancing their vitality and health. Automatically this stops dandruff and helps with conditions like seborrhoea dermatitis.
I personally try to drink 1.5-2 litres a day. I'm known for always carrying around a water bottle. And once you start, it's hard to stop cause you realise your thirst and actually end up drinking more water than fruit juices or soft drinks. During the winter it's slightly harder because of the cold weather, so I fill my bottle with warm or lukewarm water which makes it easier to drink.
Exercise improves blood circulation around the body and to the head. Improved circulation means that all the lovely nutrients and water that you take will go to your scalp improving growth. A lot of people who are and aren't on healthy hair journeys have noted hair that their hair grew longer and faster when they started exercising. It's not just good for hair, it's great for general health.
I exercise 2-3 times a week. I'm slender (I describe myself as slim with shape), so I don't do it for weight loss but rather just to tone my body, improve my general health (I don't get sick as often anymore, especially in winter) and of course for my hair. I mostly focus on strength training and light cardio. (Ey but this holiday i've been slacking and only exercise once a week..twice if i'm lucky. Time to get back on track!)
You are what you eat. A well balanced diet with all the right vitamins and minerals will definitely boost your hair's health. Let's look at a few key vitamins and minerals
- Biotin or (Vitamin H) increases growth. Mushrooms, tuna, turkey, chicken, avocados, swiss chard, eggs, salmon, sunflower seeds, liver, peanut butter, cheese, cauliflower, whole wheat bread sardines berries, almonds, bananas, soybeans and beef are the food that are rich in it. It is also a key ingredient in hair, skin and nails vitamins. Taking these food as opposed to biotin pills, will help those who have had bad acne reactions to the pills
- Zinc is crucial for hair because it accelerates the renewal of cells. A zinc deficiency will result in hair loss, dull and thin looking hair and premature greying. Get your dose from meat, nuts, eggs, fish, bread and cereals.
- Vitamin A is necessary for the production of healthy sebum. Sebum is the natural oil that comes out from our scalp and nourishes the hair. Vitamin A helps the hair have more body and volume, and strengthens and thickens your tresses. Get a dose from sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkins, spinach, kale, mustard greens, and turnip greens.
- Iron carries oxygen throughout our bodies and to the hair roots as well as take nutrients to them. Iron is needed in the body to metabolise protein. Protein (keratin) is the largest component of our hair, so iron helps build healthy hair. Deficiencies are manifested in hair loss!
- B Complex Vitamins. I'm talking B1, B2, B3, B4 ,B5, B6 and B12. They are sourced from fresh and dry fruit, eggs, whole grain breads, liver and some fortified breakfast cereals. They are important for your hair because they slow down greying, improve shine and increase growth.
- Omega 3, 6 and 9 can be obtained from linseed (flaxseed) oil, fish, seeds and nuts, strawberries, cabbage, broccoli, turnip greens and spinach. They are crucial to hair because they improve flaky scalp, prevent or reverse hair loss, improve scalp circulation, increase hair strength and thickness, make hair softer and more pliable and stimulate growth . Additionally it improves skin conditions such as eczema, seborrhoea dermatitis and scalp psoriasis
- Vitamin E stimulates growth, stops premature greying, improves the health of skin and hair, prevents split ends and conditions the hair. Get your dose from spinach, almonds, avocados, asparagus, peanuts and swiss chard.
I love my greens and fresh fruit, a plate doesn't look normal to me without some sort of vegetable on it. And if you lead an active lifestyle (doesn't everybody these days), or you notice your diet may be lacking some nutrients, incorporate a multivitamin to supplement it.
It's funny that when you think of it, a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle (which the doctor and health professionals are ALWAYS telling us about) leads to healthy hair full of vitality. Go figure!