Discovering Your Health Status through 7 Hair Indicators
Whether your hair type is thick or thin, short or long, shiny or dry, it can say a lot about your health.
Many of the hair problems we face are caused by a lack of certain nutrients. Fortunately, nutritional supplements can help solve this problem.
Lola Biggs, registered dietitian for natural supplement brand Together Health, explains what dry, dull, and thinning hair can say about your health.
1. Dry hair
When hair starts to look like straw, it may be due to factors such as overexposure to heat or overstyling, but diet can also be one of the main factors behind dry hair.
Hair is made up of protein, so make sure you get enough protein in your daily diet to get strong, healthy locks.
And if you don’t eat enough protein-rich foods, your hair can become weak, dry, and brittle.
Lula explains that eggs are a great source of protein, which she says is “rich in vitamins and biotin. Egg yolks are also rich in healthy fats that keep hair soft and shiny. Greek yogurt is another great protein-rich food, as it contains vitamin B5, which helps increase blood flow to the scalp and promotes hair growth.
Other sources of protein include chicken, meat, dairy, tofu, lentils, and legumes.
To make sure you’re getting enough, include a serving of protein with every meal.
2. Dull hair
While there are factors such as styling and overwashing, dull hair can be caused by a lack of certain special nutrients.
But fear not, because a few dietary changes can make a huge difference.
Lola recommends bananas because they are rich in B vitamins, silica and zinc, “which contribute to a smooth texture, thickness and shine.”
One of the great foods to include in your diet to get rid of dull hair is sweet potatoes because they are rich in beta-carotene, which converts into vitamin A when digested.
“This improves oxygen circulation to the hair follicles through the scalp and encourages vigorous growth,” adds Lula.
3. Hair loss or thinning
“Iron deficiency can cause hair loss and thinning,” says Lola. Eating red meat, fish, and chicken will increase your iron levels, however, if you are a vegetarian, you should include more foods such as leafy greens, including spinach, kale. and broccoli, and legumes, and lentils.
Iron supplements may also be taken. Studies have shown that supplementing with apple or orange juice is beneficial to improve iron absorption.
Menopause can also be a factor in thinning hair, as can stress.
Lola advises minimizing stress by giving yourself plenty of time to rest and rejuvenate, and prioritizing quality sleep.
And if stress is affecting your daily life, talk to your doctor.
4. Damaged hair
Lola says damaged hair needs vitamins and minerals to protect hair follicles from damage and encourage hair growth.
“Berries are superfoods for hair,” she noted, adding that they are rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, and may aid in the absorption of collagen and iron.
Collagen is a protein that is mainly involved in the structure of hair, skin, nails, muscles, cartilage and bones.
As we age, collagen levels naturally decline, so it’s important to eat a healthy diet.
Lola recommends eating cranberries, strawberries and raspberries. “Peanut butter, flaxseeds, walnuts, and avocados are also great supplements because they contain tons of healthy oils and vitamins that help nourish hair and keep it from drying out,” she says.
5. Dry scalp
Dry scalp not only causes irritation and itching, but can also lead to flaking of the hair roots.
However, adding more essential fatty acids to your diet can help nourish and hydrate your scalp.
Lula recommends eating more omega-3 fatty fish like sardines, mackerel and trout. She notes that plant sources, such as zinc-rich sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds, may also be helpful.
And if you’re a vegetarian or don’t like fish, supplementing with omega fats can help.
6. Premature gray hair
If you feel like you are going gray too soon, some deficiencies may be the cause, such as a deficiency in vitamins B6, B12, biotin, vitamin D, and vitamin E.
“I would suggest eating more antioxidant foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as vitamin-rich foods, including seafood, eggs, green tea, salmon, seeds, nuts, red meat, and cheese,” Lola says.
However, family history may be the cause of early gray hair in some people.
7. Sudden hair loss
Nutritional deficiencies can also be the cause of sudden hair loss. A contributing factor may be a diet that is very low in protein, iron, and certain vitamins.
“It might be a good idea to see a doctor to order a blood test to check for nutritional deficiencies and then look into boosting certain vitamin levels with a supplement,” Lula explains.
Stress can also be a factor, so try daily stress reduction techniques such as regular exercise and meditation.
If you are concerned, visit your GP to rule out any comorbidities.
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