Bad hair day? It might be down to what’s on your plate. Just as skin is a representation of inner wellbeing, hair provides vital clues to your health. So accurate are the thousands of strands on your head at assessing your vitals, they can even be analysed in a lab to uncover nutritional status and levels of toxic metals in your system. There are so many factors that play a role in the look of your locks, from hormones and stress to environmental baddies such as exposure to air conditioning and central heating, but tweaking your diet can help give your lovely tresses the beauty boost they deserve.
It’s a no-brainer that you need protein to build muscle, but it’s also important for strong hair. Hair is constructed mainly from protein and without this vital macronutrient, it can be brittle and slow growing. ‘When the hair cells mature they’re filled with keratin (a protein). These cells lose the nucleus and die. The cells travel up the hair and the process is hair growth,’ explains Tatiana Sullivan, nutritionist at Revital’s Hounslow store (www.revital.co.uk). Your post-workout snack has added benefits!
On the menu: Whizz together one banana, a handful of mixed berries, two scoops of Maxitone Definity Shake, (£18.99, www.maxitone.com) and one cup of unsweetened oat milk for a protein-packed shake.
Lather up: Evolve Organic Beauty Protein Build Shampoo, £9.99, and Conditioner, (£11.99, www.evolvebeauty.co.uk)
If you’re shedding lots of hair, you may be deficient in zinc. It’s normal to lose between 50 and 100 strands per day but any more could be a sign of low zinc. This important mineral is vital for hair growth. ‘Zinc deficiency makes hair shafts weaker which can result in shedding. It takes three to six months for levels to restore and you need 60-70mg of zinc every day,’ says Tatiana. The best sources are oysters, beef, pork, lamb, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and vegetables.
On the menu: Stir-fry with cold-pressed sesame seed oil, a meat from the list above, mushrooms, spinach and peas.
Lather up: John Masters Zinc & Sage Shampoo with Conditioner, £20, www.johnmasters.co.uk
Itchy, flaky scalp? ‘Dry hair lacks the oils that are naturally produced by the body,’ says Tatiana. ‘Omega-3 fatty acids replenish moisture.’ Rich sources include salmon and nuts.
On the menu: Grilled salmon salad with nuts, seeds and avocado.
Lather up: L’Oreal Elvive Re-Nutrition Royal Jelly Shampoo and Conditioner, £2.69 each, 0800 030 4032
Hair colour is determined by a pigment called melanin, which is produced by cells called melanocytes. ‘When melanocytes die, melanin can’t be produced, so the hair turns grey,’ explains Tatiana. ‘All the B vitamins can play a great part in prolonging the melanocytes’ “life”.’ Stress also uses up your B vitamins – which explains why we associate being given a fright with turning grey prematurely. There are eight B vitamins and they all work in synergy, so it’s important to include foods with a broad spectrum in your diet. To get your B boost, tuck into green veggies, wholegrains, eggs, meat and poultry.
On the menu: Poached eggs on wholemeal toast with a handful of spinach on the side.
Lather up: Klorane Shampoo with Quinine and B Vitamins, £6 and Conditioning Balm, £6.50, www.johnlewis.com
For mega-glossy locks you need to up your intake of the mineral silica. ‘Silica has the ability to retain moisture in the tissue and make it stronger,’ explains Tatiana. Good dietary sources of silica include apples, oranges, cherries, raisins, onions, carrots, oats, unrefined grains and cereals with a high fibre content, and nuts and seeds.
On the menu: Porridge made with chopped apple, dried cherries, raisins and almond milk.
Lather up: Swanson Natural Biotin Shampoo with Silica, £7.90, 01534 885 960
Image used courtesy of Shutterstock.com
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