Spring has sprung; cosy coats and bulky boots are being tossed aside to make way for jackets and peep-toe shoes. The urge for a top-to-toe makeover is in full swing – and for many this involves embarking on a healthy new lifestyle, with improvements to diet and fitness. No look really feels complete if we don’t feel good about our hair, so it’s important to make sure your locks are benefiting from these changes, too. And most importantly, are not impacted adversely. Here are my favourite, and lesser-known ways, to give your hair a revitalising boost from within.
I am not talking about the 1st planet from the sun, but the metal element found most abundantly in larger fish, like tuna, king mackerel and swordfish – which we tend to eat more as the weather gets warmer. Mercury is toxic and can build up in our systems causing various health problems if levels get too high – and one such problem is hair loss. To help avoid overexposure, try to limit your intake of these high mercury foods to once a week maximum. Fan of sushi? Swap out your tuna for salmon, shrimp, eel, crab or scallops.
Hair is composed primarily of protein, so incorporating enough into your daily diet is essential to the growth of strands. Eggs are perhaps my favourite hair healthy protein as they contain all essential amino acids and are also absorbed easily by the body. While the bulk of an egg’s protein lies in its whites, the yolks are a great source of Vitamin B6 & B12 and Vitamin D – all of which are good hair boosters. As a general rule, we ask that people include at least a palm-sized portion (approx. 120g) of a ‘complete protein’ at breakfast and lunch to support optimal production of hair cells. Apart from eggs – fish, lean meats, low fat cottage cheese, poultry and quinoa are good examples of complete proteins. Nuts, pulses and tofu are also protein rich, but alone they do not contain all essential amino acids. It’s therefore important you mix and match them to get the full array that you need.
Energy to form hair cells is at an all-time low first-thing in the morning, making breakfast the most important meal of the day for your hair. Within 2 hours of waking, eat a nutrient dense meal that contains both protein and complex carbs. Think eggs on wholemeal toast, smoked salmon on an everything bagel or quinoa porridge with nuts and berries. As an added benefit, eating a hearty breakfast helps to amp up your metabolism for the rest of the day.
Two For Tea
If your new health regime involves upping your chai or matcha tea intake, remember to add a dash of milk. Tannins found in black tea can bind to iron in your blood, increasing the likelihood of anaemia. Anaemia and ferritin (stored iron) deficiency are common causes of hair loss in women.
Energy to form hair cells drops 4 hours after eating. If more than this time is left between meals, snack on a healthy carbohydrate, like fresh fruit, vegetables or no-added-sugar granola to energise your follicles. Do not eat full-fat dairy, such as cheese, as a snack – this takes over 4 hours to digest.
Nutritional supplements can be great hair helpers – but you will only really see their full benefits if they are taken alongside a healthy diet. Hair is a non-essential tissue. This means that if your nutrient levels are lacking, any goodness contained within a supplement will first be sent to essential organs, with your hair receiving little, if any. The best hair supplements are those that contain nutrients at levels specifically geared towards your strand’s requirements. I take our Tricho Complex nutritional supplement every day with breakfast. It contains iron, Vitamin C, Biotin, Zinc, l-lysine and B12 to help support hair growth from within. It also contains Vitamin D3 as studies are increasingly showing a link between Vitamin D levels and hair health.