If you’re struggling with breaking, shedding, dry and/or dull hair, you are reading the right article! Many people believe the “right” product and the “right” stylist is all that’s needed for healthy and beautiful hair. But the cold, hard truth is that’s only PART of the equation. What you are feeding – or NOT feeding – your body counts for a whole lot!
Our hair (nails and skin too!) are often an early sign of what’s going on inside our bodies. Assuming your hair care regimen is top-notch, if you’re noticing too much shedding or split ends it could be a sign of nutrient, healthy fat and/or protein deficiency. And before you reach for those hair/nail vitamins – do your research! Not all supplements are created equally AND every person is different so just because Jane noticed an improvement after starting on “hair vitamins” doesn’t mean you’ll experience the same improvement!
The health of your hair is pretty much the same as the health of your body – what’s good for your hair, is also good for the rest of you. That’s comforting news since addressing one, addresses the other at the same time with no special attention need be given!
Here are some tips to creating the ideal environment for the healthy hair we all want:
- Eat healthy fats! Gone are the days of low-fat, no fat foods. If you have them at home, throw them away – they often contain lots of sugar, sodium and other nutrient-robbing additives and preservatives. Replace these with healthy fats from olives, extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil or full-fat coconut milk, avocado, nuts and seeds.
- Hydrate! If you’re drinking more coffee/tea, juice, soda and alcohol than water, you’ve got work to do! You can’t expect healthy hair with dehydrated cells. How much water should you intake? I generally recommend to my clients a goal of 60-80oz per day depending on activity levels and climate. Keep in mind, that’s a MINIMUM intake – ideally, you’d be drinking closer to 90oz per day but I’m all about taking it slow and improving over time.
- Quality protein! And no, this does not just include meat! For those of you who are vegans or vegetarians, there are lots of quality protein to choose from – brown rice, quinoa and buckwheat; sea vegetables like spirulina and nori; nuts, seeds and legumes. For the carnivores among us (I’m included in this camp!) think QUALITY over QUANTITY! Organic and pasture-raised meat and dairy should be the goal. I understand they can be expensive but you can find good sales on this type of meat from your local farmer’s markets, Trader Joe’s, Co-Ops and yes, even Whole Food’s has good sales pretty regularly. I’ll go one step further and recommend this: when you can’t afford organic meat, go vegetarian instead – it’s less expensive, equally delicious and really good for you.
- Get probiotic! You’re probably wondering what the heck probiotics have to do with hair care and in a word: EVERYTHING! A healthy gut is dependent upon a diverse and happy ecosystem of bacteria, fungi and other microbes that live there. Vitamins and minerals are absorbed and/or synthesized in the gut. To put it simply: healthy gut = your cells get more vitamins and minerals; healthy cells = healthy hair (all other factors being equal and working well that is).
- Reduce your intake of nutrient robbing food. In addition to the empty calories and unhealthy fat you’re getting from your chips, cookies, soda and other highly-processed foods, you’re robbing your cells (and thus your hair) of much needed nutrients like calcium, zinc, magnesium and sulfur. These are all minerals required for healthy hair (and nails). Sugar is a big stealer of these nutrients so reducing your sugar intake is critical.
As I mentioned before, not only will you improve the quality and look of your hair by incorporating these tips, you should also see improvement in your skin, energy and weight! That’s a good deal by anyone’s standards!
Chinyere Williams is a Certified Holistic Health & Nutrition Coach practicing right here in Brooklyn, NY. Her company, Helping Bodies Heal was created to end the confusion, overwhelm and frustration experienced by so many who struggle with their weight, chronic diseases or simply those not sure how to create a healthier lifestyle. Learn more about Chinyere by watching this 35 second video: http://helpingbodiesheal.com/about-chinyere/