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Second only to intestinal cells your hair cells are the fastest growing cells in the body. Your lifestyle and diet have a direct correlation to hair health or loss and some theorize it can also be the cause of premature graying of the hair.
Hair is incredibly sensitive to internal changes. Hormonal changes such as puberty, pregnancy, thyroid imbalance, menopause, or other influxes influences such as dieting, stress, short or long term illnesses, nutritional imbalances, and even a slight fever can alter the quality of your mane.
If you are experiencing excessive hair loss, look back in time for possible triggers. Sometimes the changes don’t happen immediately but rather three months ago.
We roughly have 120,000 hairs growing on our scalp at any given time, all of which need to be properly nourished. Dietetically speaking, a nutrient-dense and balanced diet is essential for the health of your hair. (Keep in mind that hair and scalp problems can arise from either a deficiency or an excess of nutrients.)
Most challenging part when it comes to supporting healthy hair growth is that a hair cell unlike other cells is not vital tissue for the survival of the body, and this means your body doesn’t make it a priority in the pathway to delivering nutrients. Due to this, imbalances often occur if we don’t consider have a proper hair diet.
Here are a few key principles and nutrients to keep in mind when treating hair issues:
Diets that include ample sources of fresh fruits, vegetables and salads are great but don’t forgo adequate amounts of clean proteins. Your hair cells need a balance of proteins, complex carbohydrates, iron, vitamins and minerals to function at their best.
80-85% of your hair is composed of a protein called keratin. Keratin builds tissue and is your hairs’ architect that keeps it strong and growing.
If you notice your hair has become brittle and is falling out, assess the amount of protein in your diet. 120g of clean protein is what’s recommended.
The best sources of protein are:
Vegetarian: eggs, cheese, beans and lentils
Paleo/Primal: Fish, farm-raised animal proteins
Vegan: Algae’s such as chlorella, spirulina, Klamath Lake E3Live
Vitamin B12 is an essential water soluble B vitamin. It helps your nervous system not get over-stimulated and, importantly for your hair, helps maintain optimal red blood cell count, which in turn allows the oxygen needed to flow to all the tissues including the hair cells.
Foods rich in B12 are: eggs, salmon, cod, and brewers yeast.
Ferritin (stored iron) levels are extremely important in terms of hair growth. For women in particular it is important to get adequate amounts of iron during her menstruating cycle.
Sources of iron outside of red meat are: seafood, beans, dark leafy greens, and dried fruit.
Note: Along with your iron intake don’t forget vitamin C.(iron can only be absorbed effectively if you are eating ample amounts of vitamin C rich foods such as oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and strawberries.)
For information about Biotin another essential hair nutrient go to ALL ABOUT BIOTIN blog post