Want luscious looking locks? Don’t spend your money on fancy shampoos and overpriced products. The key to long, strong hair is actually more to do with nutrition. Obviously there are a few influential factors that you can’t change like genetics and age. But your diet plays a huge role too. Without sufficient protein and nutrients, your hair will be a sad brittle mess. Read below to learn how diet affects your hair and what the best foods for optimal growth are.
What Is Hair?
If you want to get sciency, hair is a filament that grows from the dermis of your skin. It has a complex internal structure which is similar to the nails on your fingers and toes. Hair is dead once it leaves the root which is why we can cut it off and feel no pain. Its main function is to protect your skin from the environment. Eyebrows and eyelashes stop debris entering your eyes and the stuff on your head provides cushioning for your skull. It also keeps you warm in the winter and can indicate whether you're in a state of good health. Hair is made from a protein called keratin. This substance is what makes it feel tough and strong. Unfortunately we lose hair as we age for a variety of reasons. Some people experience baldness due to genetics while others start thinning due to nutritional deficiency. Unfortunately we can’t control all the factors that influence our hair but diet is one area that we can do something about.
How Protein Intake Affects Hair
As stated above, hair is made from protein. This means that if you don’t eat enough of it, you might experience thinning. We know for a fact that protein malnutrition can sometimes result in hair loss. This is good news because if deficiency is the cause of your balding, it’s an easy fix. This study found that women who took an oral marine protein supplement experienced less hair loss compared to the placebo group. Not only did they shed less hair but the amount produced by their follicles increased too. The improvement was noticeable after only 90 days. Imagine what the results would be if they continued their high protein diet for life. Unfortunately this is only one study and more research needs to be done. However it does make sense that to grow more hair, you need adequate protein. Protein is the macronutrient responsible for muscle, skin and tissue repair. Skimping on your intake is doing your body a massive disservice. Before you go reaching for the balding creams, think about addressing your diet instead. Getting the right amount of protein benefits not just your hair but your muscles, skin and appetite too.
Nutrients For Hair Growth
Protein is important but micronutrients matter too. Your hair also relies on a range of vitamins in order to grow long and strong. Biotin, iron and zinc are probably the most important. If you are deficient in these, you’ll experience a whole host of problems with hair loss being one of them. Research also shows that Vitamin E supplementation can improve the thickness of your mane. It goes without saying that vitamins are essential for health and hair is no exception. The best way to be nutritionally complete is to eat a diverse range of foods. Although supplements are incredibly helpful, you don’t have to rely on them. Just make sure you are eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, not just processed junk. Need specific food recommendations? Keep reading.
Foods That Will Help
Those looking to increase their protein and biotin intake can’t go past eggs. These little shells are full of nutrients that will help your body thrive. They’d be a great addition to any diet that is nutritionally lacking. You can also get biotin, iron and protein from things like steak, pork, organ meats and milk. Make sure to include a range of dairy, meats and plants in all of your meals. If animal products aren’t your vibe, try some vegan protein powder. Plant based powders are one of the best supplements for any vegans worried about not getting enough protein. Regardless of your dietary beliefs, leafy greens are important for everyone. Make sure to sneak a good amount of spinach, broccoli and kale into the majority of your meals. If you’re not a big veggie fan, a greens powder can make life a bit easier for you. Finally, vitamin E can be found in foods like almonds, avocados and peanut butter. If you keep smashing back nutritious veggies and protein, it’s likely your hair will be much better for it. Still stuck for meal ideas? Check out our recipe page here.
Hair is more than just for aesthetics. It keeps you warm and cushions your scalp. If you want your mane to be as thick and luscious as possible, you have to nourish it with the right foods. You wouldn’t expect a plant to grow well if the soil was malnourished. The same applies to your hair. Eat a wide range of veggies and keep the protein intake high. Common sense and scientific research says that a nutritious diet is one of the best ways to ensure healthy looking locks. Try it for yourself and see how you go!
Written by Lauren Carruthers