Dandruff, itching and an oily scalp are all signs of poor hair health. These hair conditions can be attributed to insufficient washing, a medical condition or simply your diet.
Proper nutrition is key to healthy and strong hair. You need to eat the right foods to provide the essential nutrients for your scalp and hair follicles. So let’s find out about some of the most essential nutrients you need for your hair and which foods you can find them in.
What Is The Proper Diet For Healthy Hair?
You need a balanced diet to keep your hair healthy. This means getting nutrients from different foods. Below we have outlined some essential nutrients and their food sources. Instead of overeating any one food, eat everything in moderation and aim to get as much variety as possible.
Protein is essential for maintaining strong and healthy hair since it is a component of hair. Your hair may become dry, brittle, and weak if you don’t get enough protein in your diet. Diets that are extremely low in protein may cause hair to grow slowly or even cause hair loss.
Sources of Protein
Protein can be found in both animal and plant foods. Meat, poultry, fish, and eggs are animal proteins, whereas fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts are plant-based proteins. You can also consume protein in protein shakes and energy bars.
Biotin, also known as vitamin B7, is an essential nutrient for healthy hair. Biotin helps promote the growth of keratin, a protein that makes up our hair, skin, and nails. It also helps the body convert food into energy and supports healthy cell growth.
Sources of Biotin
If you’re looking for an easy way to get more biotin into your diet, look no further than biotin-rich foods such as eggs, salmon, bananas, almonds, and avocados.
Zinc is important for the development and repair of hair tissues as it maintains the smooth operation of the oil glands surrounding the hair follicles. A zinc-deficient diet could result in hair loss and thinning.
A lack of zinc can alter the protein structure of hair follicles, reducing their integrity and hastening the loss of new hair. Zinc is also essential for the effective division of follicle cells, which enhances the anagen or growth stage of the hair growth cycle.
Sources of Zinc
Zinc can be found in a variety of foods, including eggs, meat, like beef and chicken, and seafood, like fish and oysters. If you find it hard to consume enough of such foods, consider taking a zinc supplement.
Copper is an essential mineral that has several benefits for hair health. Copper helps build new blood vessels and stimulates blood flow to the hair follicles and scalp for oxygenation.
This aids in developing strong and healthy hair as oxygen and other nutrients are circulated to nourish the follicles. Combined with the copper-binding peptide GHK-Cu, copper can increase hair growth, thicken hair and enlarge hair follicles.
Sources of Copper
Copper is available in both plant foods and animal foods. Foods like oysters, nuts, and dark chocolate contain copper and can help to improve hair health.
While you could take copper in supplement form, it is incredibly rare for someone to lack enough copper to suffer from copper deficiency. So, it would be best to consult a healthcare professional before taking such a supplement.
Manganese is an essential mineral that has many important functions in the human body, including the health of your hair. Manganese helps to keep your hair strong by aiding in the production of collagen, which helps to form the protein structure of your hair.
Besides aiding collagen production, manganese is also key in the production of thyroxine, a hormone essential to the functioning of the thyroid gland. Proper functioning of the thyroid gland is associated with healthy hair and growth.
Sources of Manganese
Manganese is found in many foods, such as nuts, shellfish, spinach and pineapple. You can also get manganese from dietary supplements.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that can neutralise free radicals in the body. Also known as ascorbic acid, this vitamin has multiple roles that also affect the health of your hair . It enhances the absorption of iron and protects the hair from oxidative stress. Vitamin C also contributes to the production of collagen, which regulates hair thickness, colour vibrancy, strength, and elasticity.
Sources of Vitamin C
Fruits and vegetables are the best sources of vitamin C. Include foods like kiwis, oranges, bell peppers and tomatoes in your diet to reap its benefits for your hair. If you are finding it hard to consume enough of such foods, consider taking a vitamin C supplement.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that can help protect your hair from damage caused by free radicals. Its antioxidant properties can reduce oxidative stress on the scalp, preventing hair loss and improving growth.
Vitamin E may also increase blood flow to enhance hair health as the blood supply increases hair growth and enlarges the size of the hair follicles.
Sources of Vitamin E
Sources of vitamin E include nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables. You can add almonds, pumpkins, asparagus and avocados to your shopping list to get enough of this vitamin. If you need an alternative source, Vitamin E supplements are also available.
In addition to biotin, other B vitamins are important for hair health. B vitamins such as vitamin B3, vitamin B12, and folate help to promote a healthy scalp and nourish hair follicles.
Vitamin B12 helps to maintain red blood cells, which are responsible for carrying oxygen and nutrients to the scalp and hair follicles. Folate helps to break down proteins and create new red blood cells, promoting healthy hair growth.
Vitamin B3, or niacin, helps to improve scalp circulation and encourages healthier hair growth. Vitamin B5, or pantothenic acid, helps to reduce stress and has been shown to reduce hair shedding.
Sources of B Vitamins
B vitamins are best consumed from natural food sources, such as meats, nuts, and grains. However, they are also widely available as supplements if you prefer to consume them in that form.
Studies have shown that omega-3 can improve hair density and reduce hair loss. It provides essential proteins and nutrients to the hair follicles and skin, and may trigger hair growth as it boosts circulation in the scalp.
Having omega-3 in your diet can also prevent hair follicle inflammation, which may cause hair loss.
Sources of Omega-3
Omega-3 can be found in fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines, as well as in nuts and some plant oils. As an oral supplement, omega-3 is usually sold as fish oil supplements.
Foods to Avoid
Maintaining healthy and strong hair involves eating certain types of food in the right amount. Just as we eat for the health of our hair, there are also foods we should avoid for the same reason.
1. Simple Carbohydrates And Sugary Foods
A diet high in sugar has been associated with hair loss. It can increase oil production in the hair and cause inflammation and irritation of the scalp. Too many simple carbohydrates in your diet can also raise insulin and blood sugar levels, leading to changes in the blood vessels and disrupting the optimal blood flow to the scalp.
2. Fried Foods
Fried foods contain high levels of saturated fat. Saturated fats can affect oil production and increase free radicals that damage cells.
3. High-mercury Fish
Fish is a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids but you might want to avoid those which have high levels of mercury, which can cause hair loss. These include mackerel, tuna and swordfish.
Possible Hair Conditions From Lack Of Proper Nutrition
Improper nutrition can lead to a variety of hair conditions. Some of the most common include:
1. Hair Loss
Hair loss can be caused by the lack of nutrients such as protein and zinc, which are crucial for strong and healthy hair.
2. Slow Hair Growth
A deficiency in a mineral like manganese can lead to an underactive thyroid, which can then slow down hair growth.
3. Dry Or Oily Scalp
A lack of a nutrient, like zinc, can lead to scalp problems like dandruff and an oily scalp when the oil glands around the hair follicles are not well-regulated.
Treatment with TrichoLab
Now that you know the importance of eating the right foods to grow and maintain strong and healthy hair, it’s time to start eating a balanced diet. Including the right foods in your lifestyle will ensure you are ‘feeding’ your hair for its long-term health.
If you still struggle with hair issues, despite improving your diet, it may be time to get help from a professional.
TrichoLab’s non-invasive scalp treatment in Singapore target issues such as dandruff, hair loss, oily scalp, sensitive scalp, ageing scalp and other scalp conditions such as psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis. To arrange an appointment with our scalp specialists, contact us today.