The cells that form each strand require a regular supply of key nutrients. Although some factors that influence the strengthening of hair cannot be changed, such as age and genetics, many other factors like food can be controlled. Having a suitable diet with the correct balance of nutrients (which includes proteins, vitamins and minerals) can provide the hair with everything it needs to maintain its shine, vitality and strength.
Below we list some of the nutrients you can eat to promote hair growth and we explain how they work to strengthen the hair follicles.
What are the nutrients that strengthen hair?
Given that hair is made of proteins, guaranteeing sufficient protein in your diet is crucial to keeping your hair strong and healthy. If you don’t eat enough protein on a daily basis, your hair will probably become dry, brittle and weak. Diets which are extremely low in protein can result in restricted hair grown and even hair loss.
Eggs are a good source of protein, as well as other nutrients such as zinc and selenium, which makes them one of the best foods for optimum hair health. In addition, chicken, turkey, fish and dairy products are also excellent sources of protein, along with plant proteins such as pulses and nuts.
Zinc and selenium
The protection of the scalp involves important minerals, in particular zinc and selenium. Zinc deficiency can cause hair loss and dryness of the scalp, making it flaky and leaving hair brittle.
Zinc can help the body to produce proteins and it regenerates the hair follicles. For its part, Selenium works as an antioxidant which is capable of boosting the metabolism of hair growth.
Wholemeal cereals are a good source of these minerals, along with fish, seafood and meats like beef, chicken or pork. Some dry fruits, such as nuts, are also very rich in selenium although it is recommended that they are eaten in moderation.
Iron is a particularly important mineral for hair. Iron deficiency is a common cause of hair loss, since the hair follicles and roots are fed by a blood supply which is rich in this type of nutrients. When iron levels (serum ferritin) fall below a certain point, you can experience anaemia, a condition which is characterised by not having enough healthy red blood cells to transport a suitable level of oxygen to the body tissues. This interruption in the supply of nutrients to the follicle affects the growth cycle of the hair and can result in its shedding and noticeable hair loss.
Animal products, such as red meat, chicken and fish, provide iron with a high bioavailability, which means that the iron reaches the blood flow of the whole body. Vegetarians can increase their iron intake by including lentils, spinach and other green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, kale and salad.
Biotin is a vitamin known as vitamin H or B8. It takes part in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, amino acids and purines as a cofactor of enzymes. It is necessary for the action of certain essential enzymes in the cellular replication processes.
The symptoms of biotin deficiency include the weakening of the hair and the progression towards total hair loss. Hence the importance of eating foods rich in biotin such as wholemeal cereals, cow’s liver, soy, egg yolk, soy flour, brewers yeast, fruits like strawberries and bananas, and some dried fruits like almonds, peanuts and pistachios.
A shortage of copper in the diet can have adverse consequences throughout life. These consequences range from the premature appearance of grey hair to the deterioration of the cardiovascular system, bone deformities, changes in cholesterol and even neurological and immunological abnormalities.
This mineral is required for the formation of a very strong chemical link in the hair and skin called a disulphide bond. Copper is essential in the formation of the hair pigment and its consumption therefore reduces the appearance of grey hair.
Copper is found in a variety of foods such as pulses (lentils, chickpeas, beans....), in some wholemeal foods and cereals, in meat and seafood and in some dried fruits and seeds. A diet that includes foods rich in this mineral contributes to increasing levels of melanin and collagen in the body and delays the appearance of grey hair.
A lack of vitamin B6 is one of the most common causes of hair loss, since this vitamin has the main task of looking after the metabolism of keratin proteins, responsible for shine, softness and volume of hair. Thanks to this contribution it helps to strengthen the hair fibre and makes it more resistant to daily stresses. To benefit from this vitamin, the key is to eat foods rich in B6 such as salmon, nuts, lentils, sole and seafood such as lobster and crawfish.
Calcium is one of the most important minerals in the nutritional diet and is essential to guarantee proper growth, development and maintenance of healthy hair. As well as neutralising the pH and hydrating the hair, this mineral also helps the scalp to correct the absorption of micronutrients, which help to form hair proteins and stimulate healthy growth, leaving the hair strong and resistant for day to day life.
Calcium-rich foods include cheese, yoghurt, sardines, almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, chickpeas, cow's milk, prawns, scampi and lobster.
With all of these nutrients, you will be sure you keep your hair healthy and strong. However, as it is often complicated to have a diet which includes all the essential nutrients for healthy hair, you can also opt for food supplements which provide the exact nutrients necessary to stimulate and strengthen hair growth. With the HAIR NUTRITION SUPPLEMENT from REDENHAIR, you will guarantee providing all of the elements your body needs to slow down hair loss and keep the hair follicles healthy, and to stimulate healthy, continuous and strong hair growth.
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