Hair dryers, colourants, and even the cold weather can wreak havoc on the hair, causing breakages, dryness, and split ends, but there’s one damaging aspect that we often tend to overlook: our diet. Believe it or not, what we eat (or, more importantly, what we don’t eat) can have a big impact upon how our hair looks and feels, and could mean the difference between dry locks and smooth, silky tresses.
Vitamins and Minerals for Hair
There have been many studies looking at how vitamins and minerals could directly influence hair health, and it’s been found that iron and l-lysine (an amino acid found in foods like meats, fish, and dairy) could be two key supplements to consider adding to your diet. Vitamins A and B, along with zinc and calcium may also help to improve the look of your hair, along with vitamin C and magnesium. In fact, research shows that women taking oral supplements containing vitamin C and magnesium could boost their hair growth from 271 hairs within a target area to a whopping 571 hairs in just a three month period!
It’s also worth looking at how much fat you get in your diet. Fat gets a bit of a bad reputation for being unhealthy, contributing to heart problems, and causing weight gain, but unsaturated fats can actually play an important role in the body. Foods containing ‘healthy’ fats, like avocados and unsalted nuts, for example, can really help to keep the hair looking shiny (and they’re great for skin and nail health, too!)
Unfortunately for us, the scalp is one of those places that’s particularly vulnerable to oxidative stress caused by harmful free radicals in the body. When the scalp is under this sort of stress, it may be difficult for it to form strong, healthy follicles, potentially leading to weak strands and possible hair loss. The good news, however, is that we’re able to fight free radicals and reduce oxidative stress with antioxidants.
Natural antioxidants can be found in vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and B-Carotene, which is what gives vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, and peppers their orange appearance. By boosting your antioxidant intake, you may be able to breathe a new lease of life into dull, tired hair.