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Healthy Hair, from the Inside Out

Forget expensive products and salon price tags, truly healthy locks can only come from the inside out.

With celebrity-endorsed advertisements and come-hither packaging, it’s easy to believe the latest conditioning, styling and smoothing products could be responsible for returning stressed out locks to childhood glory. Yet, there’s one piece to the healthy hair puzzle that often gets overlooked: Regardless of how many expensive products we buy to get that longed-for salon look, vibrant hair can only come from the inside out.

Foods we eat—and more specifically the vitamins and minerals they contain—are the most important factor in whether your hair bounces and shines, or whether it’s dull and lack-lustre. While a nutrient-devoid diet can quickly show up as a slump in energy levels and dull skin, it can take months to manifest as unhealthy hair, thanks to its slow growth cycle.

A balanced, organic wholefood diet complete with ample good fats is essential for strengthening the hair follicle, from where new hair growth begins. A healthy follicle is the first step in ensuring healthy hair strands.

HEALTH TIP If your diet is nutrient-rich, but your hair isn’t reflecting it, talk to a holistic health professional to see if your body is absorbing the nutrients you’re eating. Prolonged stress can manifest as leaky gut and other symptoms, while putting the body in “flight or fright mode” and unable to function efficiently.

Hair-friendly Foods

Walnuts

With Omega-3 fats, walnuts are the perfect snack to boost hair condition. Rich in cell-protecting biotin and Vitamin E, as well as copper, these help maintain colour and condition. Too little biotin in the diet has been found to result in hair loss.

Sweet potato

Sweet potatoes (as well as carrots, apricots, mangoes and pumpkin) are a great source of beta carotene, which, once consumed, convert into Vitamin A—an essential ingredient to keep the body functioning optimally. If you suffer from itchy scalp and dandruff, you could be lacking in this important vitamin, which also helps make oils that ensure a healthy scalp.

Spinach

Iron-rich spinach is also a great source of Vitamin C and folate. These nutrients help with proper circulation of blood to the scalp, while also keeping hair follicles healthy.

Lentils

A vegetarian staple, lentils are brimming with iron, zinc, biotin and protein—excellent nutrients to help foster healthy locks and scalp.

Blueberries

While small in size, blueberries are big in hair-loving Vitamin C. This commonly known vitamin helps with blood circulation to the scalp, while supporting the blood vessels that feed the follicles. Too little Vitamin C in your diet can result in dry ends and breakage.

HAIR ELIXIR Whether you steep them in a pot for a delicious herbal tea, or spray the steeped, cooled liquid directly onto your strands, horsetail and nettle can help strengthen hair and stimulate growth. Horsetail contains up to 70 percent bone-strengthening silica, while stinging nettle is high in digestible iron.

Beyond Food

Detox

If you’re new to healthy eating, there can be some essential “housework” to do before seeing the benefits of your efforts. A well planned cleanse or detox is a great way to shed toxins and built-up debris from the colon. A clogged colon stops the body from eliminating toxins effectively and also absorbing the nutrients it needs to produce great skin, hair and overall health.

DID YOU KNOW: A detox or cleanse doesn’t always mean going without food. It’s essential to do research to find a program, from juice fasting to smoothie feasting, which feels right for you and your body and your current state of health.

Water

Water is also an essential daily ingredient to regularly help the body cleanse, while hydrating cells (including the hair’s follicles). The best kind of water is sourced directly from a natural spring, and preferably not packaged in plastic. Check local listings for a spring water delivery service if you’re committed to upping your H2O. Add a dash of Celtic sea salt to get the benefits of its minerals at a cellular level.

Sleep

Sleep helps to regenerate energy levels at a cellular level. It has been found that erratic sleep cycles—or simply not getting enough shuteye—directly affects stress levels, overall health and hair quality. Lack of sleep is known to cause brittle strands and even male pattern baldness in men, thanks to fluctuations of hormone levels.

Healthy Hair, from the Inside Out was originally printed in Australian Natural Health magazine.

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  • Steph
    September 1, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    Great article. My hair has become fairly lack lustre of late and I automatically started trawling for new hair products – this is a good reminder to take it back a step. Thanks.

  • Shannon
    September 1, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    So glad it was helpful Steph. I’m writing a book that delves deeper into hair health, so will be sure to post an excerpt when it’s published!

@shannondunnwriter

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