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What You Eat Impacts Your Hair Health

A well-balanced meal displayed on a wooden table consisting of a blue plate with a mix of vibrant salad ingredients including sliced avocados, watermelon radishes, cherry tomatoes, shredded carrots, cucumber noodles, boiled egg halves, and a leafy green salad with sesame seeds sprinkled on top
Source: Brooke Lark/Unsplash

Christine Cole, a certified nutrition aesthetic practitioner and Vice President of Sales at LOMA, a hair care company, embarked on a transformative journey a decade ago by revamping her diet. This change not only improved her overall health but also had a noticeable effect on her hair’s texture and appearance. 

With her extensive experience in the hair care industry, Cole has witnessed firsthand the emergence of “skinification” in hair care products. This trend, as Cole explains, involves “using skin grade-level ingredients in hair care formulas because your scalp is skin, and your scalp absorbs faster than any other part of our body.” Brands like Act+Acre, Nutrafol, and Vegamour exemplify this approach.

Cole realized that while using top-quality hair care products is beneficial, they alone are not enough for maintaining healthy hair. She notes, “You could have the cleanest scalp, but if you’re not eating great and feeding that follicle, what good does it do?” The key to healthy hair lies in the epidermis layer of the skin, where hair follicles reside and nutrients are absorbed. 

Cole emphasizes the importance of a nutritious diet in enhancing hair quality. She recommends products containing ingredients like aloe vera, rosemary, celery seed, turmeric, kale, and thyme for the scalp’s nourishment.

Ellie Krieger, a professional chef, nutritionist, and registered dietitian, echoes Cole’s sentiments. Krieger points out, “Your cells that face the world — your hair, skin, and eyes — show up as [a] healthy reflection of what’s going on inside. It is all connected.” She stresses that the combination of effective hair care products and proper nutrition is crucial for achieving healthy hair.

Regarding the importance of healthy fats in the diet, Krieger explains that they are essential for the absorption of nutrients. She states, “It’s important to note that the nutrients work together in unison,” especially in hair health. Cole adds, “You can’t absorb nutrients if you don’t eat them with fat.” They both highlight the role of fats in scalp hydration and hair follicle growth. Additionally, Cole emphasizes the necessity of water for maintaining healthy hair.

Protein, specifically collagen, plays a vital role in hair health. Cole mentions, “Collagen… is an important part of your hair structure and skin structure. [It] helps hold everything together, improves hair growth, fights dandruff, and prevents hair loss.” She advocates for natural sources of collagen, like broths, seaweed, and algae, over supplements.

Vitamin C is crucial for supporting collagen production. Cole suggests starting the day with lemon water, saying, “It cleans out your liver,” which indirectly benefits hair health. Krieger points out the high vitamin C content in colorful produce, with red peppers being particularly rich. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are also important for hair health, as they repair and renew cells.

Reducing inflammation is critical for hair health, according to Krieger. She highlights the importance of antioxidants and a balance of minerals like iron and zinc in the diet. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in foods like salmon, contribute to skin moisture, which is beneficial for hair health.

Lastly, Cole suggests consulting a doctor to check for any vitamin deficiencies or excesses. Krieger notes that both deficiency and excess of nutrients can be harmful. They acknowledge that genetics play a role in hair health and texture, but a balanced diet can help optimize one’s natural hair characteristics. Krieger and Cole conclude that hair quality is a reflection of overall well-being, influenced by factors such as sleep, stress, nutrition, and lifestyle.


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