When struggling with dry, slow-growing, lacklustre hair, we often jump straight to treatments and styling without considering – pardon the pun – the root of the problem.
Genetics, hormones and age all have a say in how our hair looks – three factors which, unfortunately, are usually outside of our influence. But there is one area that we can control, and that’s our diet. Prestige is passionate about taking a holistic approach to healthy hair, and our advice is simple: focus your attention on the inside and you’ll see a difference on the outside.
Salon owner Veronica is adamant that the journey to beautiful hair starts by examining what’s on your plate. “Diet is absolutely critical for hair that not only looks but actually is radiant with health,” she insists. “The condition of a client’s hair tells me so much about them, their diet and their general wellbeing.”
The impact of dietary changes can take time – around three months before a visible difference emerges in hair strength, thickness and condition – but at that point you’ll see a real, measurable change rather than one that’s achieved with a glossing spray or volumizing powder. Worth striving for, don’t you think?
The Ingredients for Incredible Hair
- First up is protein. As hair is essentially made from protein (keratin), a protein-poor diet will inevitably lead to weak, brittle hair and slow growth. Steak, chicken and eggs all pack a protein punch, and fish such as salmon and mackerel also have the added benefit of being a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids, keeping your scalp healthy and your hair shiny. Veggie or vegan? Try beans, lentils, almonds and avocados to ensure you’re getting enough protein and healthy fats. An extra bonus of protein-rich foods is that they’re also often good sources of zinc, a nutrient which is important for cell growth and therefore for essential for healthy-looking hair.
- Hydration is also key. Drinking enough water is critical for general wellbeing, but particularly for glossy locks. Your hair follicles need adequate H2O stores to help produce healthy cells, and dehydration impacts quickly on your tresses: they’ll soon be dull, lifeless and prone to snapping. Aim for 8 glasses a day.
- You also need to make sure that you’re getting enough iron, found in red meat and leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale. Iron prevents hair loss and is also responsible for healthy red blood cell production, ensuring the flow of nutrients and oxygen to your scalp.
- Vitamins are also critical, with Vitamins A, C, D and E plus B-vitamins all thought to have a role in improving and maintaining your hair’s health. Vitamin A is essential for cell growth and can be found in orange vegetables such as sweet potatoes and carrots. Oranges and kiwis are great sources of Vitamin C, which helps your body absorb that all-important iron. Vitamin E is an antioxidant which promotes hair growth; try almonds, spinach and avocados for a boost. And although the precise relationship between Vitamin D and hair growth is unclear, Vitamin D deficiency has been linked with alopecia. Many people suffer from a Vitamin D deficiency without realising it (the body produces it when exposed to sunlight – often a problem in the UK!), so you might want to consider taking a supplement. Finally, the B vitamin biotin is particularly important for healthy hair, and you can ensure you’re getting enough through eating cheese, egg, yogurt and some breakfast cereals.
As well as the hair heroes mentioned above, it’s important to be aware of the enemies of hair, i.e. those food types and substances which have a negative impact on your hair’s growth and condition.
- Sugar and refined carbohydrates (so food types such as white bread and pasta that are stripped of nutritional value through processing) are bad news for your hair. They may be delicious (and addictive), but a diet that’s consistently too high in sugar and the ‘wrong’ carbs will take its toll, damaging follicles and causing thinning.
- Alcohol is another hair enemy – too much alcohol can lower your iron and zinc levels, so ease up on the fizz if you’re looking to improve condition and growth.
- And there’s Aspartame – yes, Diet Coke’s most infamous ingredient. Excessive amounts of your favourite low-calorie drink or snack could cause damage to your hair, including thinning and breakage. Debate continues to rage about the validity and extent of anti-Aspartame claims but if you’re determined to boost your hair’s health, we suggest steering clear of this artificial sweetener.
Want to discuss your hair’s specific needs?
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Contact us by telephone on 020 8741 9616 or fill out the enquiry form to book your expert consultation.
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