Having healthy hair is not just about what you do to it or put on it. It is related to many factors, like genetics, stress, environmental factors and nutrition. Vibrant and healthy hair is usually a reflection of overall health, which means that your body is nourished correctly with the right vitamins and minerals.
Factors Affecting Hair Health
Different factors can affect the health of your hair including:
- Environmental factors
- Hormonal changes
Nutrition and Hair Health
Nutrition is vital for healthy hair growth. Changes in hair’s texture and thickness can indicate underlying health conditions. For example, postpartum hair loss occurs due to fluctuating hormones and is not preventable. But a healthy diet can put you in a better position to grow healthy hair.
The best vitamins and nutrients for hair growth include:
- Lean proteins
- B-complex vitamins
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Fat-soluble vitamins
A Mediterranean-style diet packed with fiber, whole grains, and healthy fats is one of the easiest ways to get these essential nutrients. Having a healthy gut flora is also essential for nutrient absorption to promote healthy hair, skin, and nails.
Best foods for hair growth
Salmon is one of the most nutritious types of fish, offering many benefits to one’s health. It is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, a key nutrient for healthy hair. A study found that women who took omega-3 and other supplements reported a reduction in hair loss, improvement in hair diameter, and hair density. Omega-3s are not produced naturally by the body and must be obtained through food or supplements.
Salmon is also rich in vitamins D and B, protein and selenium. These nutrients work together to keep hair strong and healthy. Eat two servings of fish per week for best results.
Eggs are full of essential nutrients and protein that contribute to hair health. It contains iron, choline, Vitamins A, B12 and D. It also has lutein and zeaxanthin which have a key role in maintaining cellular health, especially in the hair. Eggs also have sufficient amounts of biotin that help with hair growth.
Nuts like almonds, walnuts, peanuts and cashews are great sources of healthy fats, protein, zinc and biotin. Nuts can help prevent hair loss and stimulate hair growth.
Sardines may not be the most popular fish due to their distinctive taste, but they have a nutrition profile that can benefit your hair. Sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which may reduce hair loss and increase hair density. They also contain vitamin D, which supports hair follicle development.
Vitamin D is vital for supporting hair growth, and a deficiency can hinder or stunt new hair growth, especially in those with chronic hair loss. Scientific reviews have linked a deficiency in vitamin D to alopecia, an autoimmune condition that results in bald patches on the scalp and skin.
Chia seeds are a vegan source of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. These seeds are also rich in antioxidants and contain 20% more protein than soybeans. Moreover, chia seeds have copper and zinc which aid in hair health. Copper, in particular, plays an important role in hair growth.
Pumpkin is not only delicious but also contains multiple nutrients that promote hair health. It is rich in iron and beta-carotene, the precursor to vitamin A, which is important for hair growth and strength. Pumpkin is also full of vitamins C and E, which aid in cellular damage repair.
Magnesium, an underrated mineral, plays a significant role in more than 600 functions in the human body and may contribute to healthy hair growth. It is involved in protein synthesis and the hair growth cycle. Without enough magnesium, protein synthesis can be disrupted, increasing the risk of hair growth and structural problems. Incorporate canned pumpkin puree into sauces, protein dishes, and snacks to help keep your hair at its healthiest.
Avocado is packed with healthy fats and biotin, making it a great choice for promoting hair growth. It also contains vitamin E, an antioxidant that nourishes the hair and protects the scalp from oxidative stress and damage.
Studies suggest that vitamin E may help increase hair growth in people experiencing hair loss, thanks to the powerful antioxidant activity of tocotrienols, which can counter the effects of alopecia.