Hey there scurly people!
Today I would like to talk about something a lil different, but still so very important:
strong and healthy hair is a byproduct of a healthy diet!
Todelve further into this subject, I asked a dear friend of mine, Dietician Francesca Cacace
to explain all the ins and outs of the hair-diet correlation.
“Healthy hair is a sign of excellent general health, as well as good hair care practices, and healthy eating habits which are essential to achive a good hair condition.
NUTRITION plays a key role in providing us with everything our organism needs to support itself and its processes, hair growth included!
There are many nutritional deficiencies that lead to changes of scalp and normal hair structure, but with the right nutrition we can easily prevent them.
Let’s start from the beginning! As we already know, food provides us an incredible variety of elements that can be divided in two main groups: MACRONUTRIENTS and MICRONUTRIENTS. Let’s take a look at those nutrients that concern hair health and let’s make some examples of foods which contain the most of them!
Firstly, we have macronutrients, elements with an energetic function, that our body needs in major amounts compared to micronutrients:
PROTEINS: macromolecules that we can imagine as sort of “chains”, composed of many little “rings” linked together, called “amino acids”. Hair structure is mostly made up by keratin, which is a protein! Therefore introducing adequate protein amounts through in diet will supply us with enough amino acids to build our proteins, including keratin. A known fact is that people affected by protein deficiency often show an extreme hair frailty.
The desirable protein requirement can be influenced by many factors, such as physical activity level, sex, age, illnesses, physiological conditions… but guidelines suggest a reference value of 0,9 g/kg of body weight per day.
Where to find them? In both vegetal (legumes, cereals…) and animal sources (meat, fish, eggs…).
LIPIDS: also commonly known as “fats”, are a great family of insoluble macromolecules. They are part of the hydrolipidic film, so they help keeping lubricated and protected our hair. Lipids are classified in saturated and unsaturated, of the two we should prefer the second ones, especially those lipids defined “essential” from omega 3 and omega 6 series.
Where to find them? The monounsaturated in olive oil, avocado and nuts (cashews, almonds…), the polyunsaturated omega 3 in fish (salmon, anchovies, mackerel, sea bream…) and seeds (chia seeds, flax seeds…), the polyunsaturated omega 6 in vegetable oils, nuts, pumpkin seeds.
CARBOHYDRATES: a diet which includes all the macronutrients in the proper amounts, carbohydrates included, is what I call a healthy diet! Their main function is the energetic one which is essential to support all growth processes (hair’s one too).
Where to find them? In cereals, pasta, bread…even better if we choose whole ones, richer in fibers and micronutrients.
Then, we have micronutrients, a family that includes all vitamins and mineral salts. Although they are elements whose requirements are lower than macronutrients, they are just as essential. Many of the mechanisms they are involved in still need to be investigated, however we can take a look at those that seem to have an important role in hair vital cycle:
SELENIUM: is an antioxidant element that contrasts cellular aging, hair’s one included.
Where to find it? Fish, beans, whole rice, chia seeds.
ZINC: it is a powerful inhibitor of hair follicles regression and an enhancer of their repair. As a matter of fact, one of the main symptoms of zinc deficiency is hair loss.
Where to find it? Fish, meat, legumes, cheese.
COPPER: it plays an essential role in the differentiation and proliferation of the hair follicle cells.
Where to find it? Seafood, whole grains, nuts, cocoa.
IRON: iron deficiency is the most common deficiency worldwide, especially among women, and it can be associated with hair loss. A higher risk group are vegetarians/vegans people who can be more predisposed if they follow an unbalanced diet.
Where to find it? Meat, fish, legumes, nuts, seeds.
VITAMIN A: it is an essential constituent of pilosebaceous unit.
Where to find it? As beta carotene in fruit and vegetables (carrots, pumpkin, apricot…) and as retinol in eggs, ricotta cheese.
VITAMIN C: it takes part of the iron absorption, so it is important to prevent its deficiency.
Where to find it? Fruits (citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwi…), vegetables (peppers, tomatoes, broccoli…).
VITAMIN E: it has antioxidant properties, so it helps preventing hair loss.
Where to find it? Vegetable oils, seeds, nuts.
In conclusion, following a BALANCED and DIVERSE DIET, in most cases, allows us to reach all the previous requirements, without introducing any specific food supplement. In doubt, the best option is to get an opinion from a nutritionist to find a personalized plan with the aim of improving general health and, consequently, our hair appearance!”
What about you? do you follow any kind of diet? will you start eating healthier after reading this article?
I can’t wait to know !!
As always, see you right here or wherever!
Your fussy Scurly girl