Sunday, 11 March 2012
Eat your way to healthy hair!
So what can you do to maximise your chances of having healthy, glossy hair?
Look to your diet and eat your way to healthy hair. All you mummies out there will know that the body is very good at getting nutrients to the important places first. When you are pregnant, and so nauseous you can barely eat, it's easy to worry about the baby getting the nutrients it needs. But it's likely they are getting plenty - it's just you, your poor body, that is usually second in the pecking order. Your body is pretty clever at prioritising!
Similarly the nutrients you take in will go first and foremost to the vital organs. And unfortunately for our appearance, our hair is a long way down the list. So if your diet is lacking, your hair will certainly be loosing out. It'll be dry and slow to grow, just like a plant starved of water and food.
If you are eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables - come on, you know the score - then you are giving your hair the best chance to grow at it's maximum speed, and be strong and healthy.
And what if you are doing all that, and still have problems? Maybe these tips will help.
If your hair is really dull it is most likely to be caused by chemical processes like bleaching. The dullness is a result of the cuticle on the hair lifting, instead of lying flat. However, if you haven't processed your hair, you may have a lack of protein in your diet. Try gradually increasing the level of protein you eat (lean meat, poultry, fish, seeds, pulses, nuts and dairy products). Don't do it too fast though. Hair only grows at around 14mm a month (when supplied with appropriate nutrients) and so any changes due to dietary changes won't be noticeable for a good three months.
This can be caused by an iron deficiency. Iron is found primarily in red meat and green vegetables and you need roughly 14mg per day.
Also, be aware of any supplements you are taking. If they cumulatively result in a high Vitamin A intake, this can also cause thinning hair and too much Vitamin A is toxic. Try and achieve the nutrients required through an increase in fruit and vegetable intake rather than via supplements if you can.
Suddenly oily hair?
If you have always had slightly oily hair, then it is genetically determined and you can't do much about it. But if it suddenly turns oily check your spice intake. Foods that make you sweat, like hot curries, similarly cause increases in oil levels on your scalp - which sweats too!
Is your hair normally flyaway and frizzy? This is often due to an essential fatty acid deficiency. Eating nuts, seeds and, of course, oily fish, will help. These foods will also provide the proteins needed to keep the hair glossy.
I hope those tips help. But don't forget the all important cut. A good cut can camouflage a multitude of sins!
For 5 quick beauty tips for busy women click here.
For our quick 'jargon' buster - what ingredients are in my skin care products and what do they do? click here.