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Hair Care

How Diet Affects the Hair

There’s more to healthy hair than putting products on your head; you also have to watch what you put in your mouth. You need a nutritious diet so that your body can create healthy cells and tissue—exactly the stuff that hair is made of. Poor nutrition, erratic meals, even crash diets can all lead to thinning, dullness, and dryness.

First of all, you need to have the right amounts of proteins. Proteins build cells, and they also contain amino acids that are particularly crucial to hair growth. These include cystine, cysteine, methionine, arginine and lysine. These can be found in meats, fish, poultry dairy and eggs. If you are vegetarian, you can also get it from soy, nuts, grains and seeds (although you may need a protein supplement). Dieticians believe that at least 15% of your calories must come from food that is rich in protein.

Many of today’s low-carb diets may lead to steady weight loss, but it may come at the price of the health of your hair. Carbs help in the growth of body tissues, and they are also the body’s primary source of B vitamins, which your body needs. That’s why it’s not recommended to stay on carb-free diets for long periods of time; even South Beach recommends that the First Phase be limited to three weeks. Instead, opt for smart carbs, meaning you cut out sugars and white flour, and get healthy carbs from vegetables, fruits, whole grains, brown rice and potatoes.

Too much fat is bad for you, but you need a little fat in your diet to stay healthy—and to keep your hair healthy, too. To avoid health risks associated with a fat-heavy diet, get it from lean meat that is grilled or braised rather than fried. Needless to say, eating that hamburger is not a healthy option.

Why does diet play such a role in healthy hair? For one thing, your body will need the right amounts of vitamins and minerals to be able to create strong cells. People who go on crash diets will often report hair loss. Strands may be brittle and easily damaged, and will look dull despite all efforts to condition and style. This means your body is unable to replace cell properly, or that the cells it manufactures is unable to withstand the damage it takes from daily environmental abuse: brushing, hair drying, or even the UV rays in the sun. It’s the same principle why skipping meals can cause your face to look blotchy and pale. If it can affect the color in your cheeks, it will also affect whether your hair is thick and shiny, or limp and lifeless.

Crash dieting can also affect the body’s chemical balance. Many people will go through natural hair loss cycles, such as during pregnancy or right after childbirth, as the body adjusts to shifts in hormones. A lack of nutrition can set off a hormonal nightmare, sending wrong signals to the hair glands like a fuse gone wrong. Severe stress can also do this.

Thus, for healthy hair, you need to invest in good hair care products and a good lifestyle. Eat right, and find ways to relax after a long day at work to minimize the effects of stress. Of course, a good shampoo never hurt.

 

 

 
     
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