Who doesn’t dream of having thick, shiny and strong hair?! The hair extensions industry is booming because long, lustrous hair is desirable for so many. Of course, it’s not for everyone and so many women I know looks absolutely gorgeous with short, chic hairstyles.
But no matter what length of hair you like best, having healthy-looking hair is definitely an aim for most of us. I’m certainly not against getting a helping hand in the hair department, but I also have to ensure that my own hair stays as healthy and strong as possible to avoid any damage from colour and extensions.
Did you know? There are a number of essential nutrients we need for strong, shiny and thick hair growth…
The first is protein. As our hair is around 97% protein, we need to regularly replace the amino acids that we use up each day in normal growth and repair. Keratin is the hardened protein that gives hair its structure and without enough protein for keratin, our body can struggle to replace the hairs that shed naturally everyday and the hair we do grow may be weak and dry.
I like to include nuts, seeds, quinoa, beans, legumes and leafy greens with each meal and snack for hair-building nourishment, and good quality protein powders are really useful to boost protein intake too.
Zinc is so important for building strong healthy hair, while iron is a mineral needed to prevent hair loss. It’s particularly important because along with folic acid, it helps to transport oxygen in red blood cells to our hair follicles which speeds up and improves hair growth. Good blood circulation to our scalp means quicker cell renewal and stronger hair.
Pumpkin seeds are useful plant-based source of zinc.
Biotin, Vitamins C and A
Biotin is part of the B-complex vitamins, and is an essential nutrient for improving the strength of hair, increasing hair growth and preventing us from producing fine, dry and easily broken hair. Vitamin C helps to produce the natural oil called sebum, produced by our hair follicles to nourish our scalp and naturally condition our hair, while vitamin A enables growth, protection and renewal of our cells, and nourishes our scalp.
The essential fatty acids in nuts, seeds and avocado nourish our scalp and prevent a dry, flaky scalp and similarly dry and brittle hair.
Sulphur is another critical yet relatively unknown nutrient we need to be aware of for healthy hair, as well as many more of our body’s biological function, including metabolism. Sulphur is a mineral component of amino acids and essential for building protein, as well as for detoxification. Together with zinc and vitamin A, sulphur is important for growing strong and healthy hair.
Some of the very best plant-based sources of sulphur include onion, garlic, cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, and protein-rich foods such as nuts and legumes.