As lockdown restrictions begin to ease, we are all looking forward to booking our first appointments for the hair and beauty salons as they begin to open up. In the meantime, try Nutritionist, Jenna Hope’s (@jennahopenutrition) top tips on the best foods for naturally maintaining healthy hair, skin and nails.
- Focus on wholefoods
It can be tempting to buy into hair miracle pills, but they don’t always have much weight behind them. It’s important to note that supplements can interact with other medications which may impair the medications’ effectiveness. Additionally, some brands make claims on results which their products have not been proven to deliver. Rather than searching for the next miracle pill you are better off to focus on consuming a healthy balanced diet comprised of wholefoods.
- Ensure adequate omega-3 consumption
Omega-3 has been associated with improved hair growth. Ensure that you are consuming one portion of oily fish per week (as recommended) or one source of plant-based omega-3 daily. Two tablespoons of Linwoods Milled Chia Seed or Organic Milled Flaxseed daily would provide adequate intakes of omega-3. Try adding these to your porridge or yoghurt in the morning.
- Eat your Protein
Protein plays a fundamental role in the structure of hair. Consuming adequate protein is essential in achieving long and strong hair. For the average individual, recommendations suggest consuming between 0.8 and 1g of protein per kg of body weight per day. In practise this means a 70kg individual would require between 56g and 70g of protein per day. Foods such as meat, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, beans and pulses are all great sources of protein. It’s important to consume a range of sources so be sure to mix up your choices! It can be challenging to get to the shops for fresh meat and fish during lockdown so make use of canned fish, beans and store cupboard nuts and seeds.
- Prevent Iron and Vitamin B12 deficiencies
Iron and Vitamin B12 are two of the most common nutrient deficiencies which can lead to hair loss. Meat and fish are a great source of iron alongside plant sources such as nuts, green leafy vegetables and seeds. It’s recommended to combine plant sources with a source of vitamin C to help aid absorption. For example, squeezing lemon juice onto your greens can increase the amount of iron your body can absorb from the greens. Vitamin B12 tends to be found in animal products although some fortified plant milks will contain a small amount. It is generally recommended that individuals on a plant-based diet supplement with Vitamin B12. As supplements can interfere with medications it is important to seek professional advice before supplementing.
- Eat your carrots
Vitamin A is particularly important in maintaining healthy hair. This vital vitamin is required to produce Sebem, the component which provides moisture to the scalp. Liver, mackerel, tuna and eggs are animal sources rich in Vitamin A. Orange vegetables such as carrots, sweet potato, butternut squash and pumpkin also provide beta-carotene which is converted into Vitamin A.
- Snack on nuts
Chronic magnesium deficiency has been associated with an increased risk in hair loss. Ensure you are consuming green leafy vegetables regularly and try switching your refined grains for whole grains. I also recommend replacing high sugar snacks for a handful of Linwoods Active Nuts as this is a brilliant way to increase magnesium in your diet. Additionally, you can try bathing in an Epsom salt bath as the magnesium in the salts is absorbed directly through the skin.
- Consume rich sources of Biotin
Egg yolks are rich in vitamin B7 (otherwise known as Biotin). Biotin plays an important role in the production of Keratin, a protein which plays an important role in maintaining healthy hair. Sunflower seeds, organ meats, peas and dairy products are also rich sources of Biotin.
- Engage in self-care activities
Self-care activities are more important now than ever before. High levels of stress can have knock on effects on the health of your hair. High levels of stress can deplete magnesium levels in the body which in turn may increase a risk of hair loss. Therefore, engaging in self-care activities as a way of managing stress can be beneficial in keeping stress levels down and maintaining adequate levels of magnesium. Enjoying a bath, relaxing with a cup of tea and a book or simply taking yourself out for a walk can all be great way to help manage your stress levels.