Your Hair Is What You EAT
by Trichologist, Dr. Kari Williams
We are all familiar with the saying, “you are what you eat,” and our familiarity with this phrase derives from our understanding that our outward appearance is affected by what we are putting inside of our bodies. This concept of “beauty from the inside out” must also be applied to our hair. The most fundamental contributor to hair’s appearance is nutrition. When discussing healthy hair, too much emphasis is placed on the external application of products and we neglect the significant affects of good nutrition and quality supplements on our hair. Hair building nutrients absorbed in the blood have more of an influence on how our hair grows, looks and feels than any product we put on top of our hair.
Although hair is dead, it is one of the fastest growing tissues in the body made from the food we eat. The generation of hair tissues is a continuous process that is more efficient when the tissues are provided with the necessary proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and mineral. Our hair is primarily made of protein, but every vitamin and mineral facilitates a function in the body. The specific nutrients that are beneficial in improving the health, vitality and appearance of our hair:
Vitamin A- prevents drying of the hair but excessive amounts can cause hair loss
Vitamin B- promotes healthy hair and skin
Vitamin C- helps in the growth and repair of cells; prevents skin damage and promotes healing
Vitamin E- improves blood circulation
Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s)- helps relieve itching and inflammation
Selenium- controls dry scalp
Iron- creates richer blood and carries oxygen to the cells
Zinc- important for the replication, growth and repair of cells
Aside from the functions listed above, these vitamins and minerals play other important roles in the body. Hair is just an accessory organ, so it will receive the nutrients that are left over after the body has distributed them to the more vital organs. In addition, there are several factors that interfere with the amount of dietary nutrients found in food and that suppress the absorption of these nutrients in the body. Some of the factors that affect the quality of nutrients found in food are food processing, depleted farmland, freezing, canning and the long storage of food. Absorption suppressors include age, emotional and physical stress, coffee, alcohol and tobacco. Therefore, it is important to take a high quality, highly potent supplement that contains adequate amounts of essential vitamins and minerals. This will assure that the body functions at optimum health and will produce beautiful hair.
Bottom Line: Don’t underestimate the power of a healthy lifestyle and its influence on the growth and appearance of your hair. Take care of your body and your hair will flourish.
Here are a few healthy food options your hair will enjoy:
Yellow, red and green vegetables
Now that we have a general understanding of how hair growth is affected from the inside out, I will discuss the difference between natural hair shedding, hair loss and hair breakage in my next post. In the meantime, lets improve our nutritional intake for healthier strands.