Nutrients – a balanced diet is the key to healthy and beautiful hair
Vitamins in our diet have a positive effect on the entire body. The appearance of hair, skin and nails shows the general condition of the body. By monitoring their condition you can discover emerging health problems. Diet and lifestyle have a great influence on the growth, development and amount of hair loss. This is of course linked to vitamins and micro-and macroelements, which the human body cannot produce on its own. Therefore, they must be supplied with food.
The occurrence of stressful situations is also very influential, causing the production of certain substances that have a negative effect on hair growth and development. In today’s article, we will talk about the most important dietary components that you should consume in large quantities, especially in the case of hair loss. Most vitamins and minerals are found in fruit and vegetables, so they should make up a large part of your diet.
It is also very important to eat good quality protein, preferably several times a week. It is important to bear in mind that our body first supplies our organs, such as the heart, brain etc., with nutrients, and then nourishes our hair, skin and nails. This is why it is so important to consume as many good ingredients as possible. It is also important to remember that vitamins and minerals are mostly not stored in the body, but used up after consumption.
This is why it is important to follow a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. The main nutrients that can be found in food are carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals.
One of the most important components of hair is keratin. This is a very specific protein. It owes its strength to sulphur. In the chemical structure of this compound, one can distinguish disulphide bridges, which determine the enormous strength of keratin. This is why it is necessary to consume a lot of sulphur to have strong and beautiful hair.
Sulphur is also a component of collagen, which is a component of the skin. Therefore, its consumption makes the skin firmer, and also causes a younger appearance and faster regeneration processes of the skin. In addition, the consumption of sulphur will improve the appearance and health of nails.
The largest source of dietary sulphur is the sulphur amino acids available in animal protein. The sulphur amino acids that improve the appearance of hair, skin and nails are cysteine and methionine.
Both amino acids are very different from each other, but they play equally important roles in the body. Methionine is an essential amino acid, i.e. an amino acid which must be provided with food, as the body cannot produce it on its own. Cystine, on the other hand, is an endogenous amino acid that is synthesised in the human body.
A systematic supply of essential sulphur-containing amino acids in food is necessary. They are constantly used to build up the hair, and there is no possibility of storing them in the body. It is therefore very important to include fish, meat, dairy products, eggs and pulses in the daily diet. Wheat bran and oatmeal also contain a significant amount of cystine. Sulphur can also be found in products such as garlic, onions, peas, cabbage and offal.
Eating a lot of sugar adversely affects the condition of the skin. Skin on both the body and head. Thus, an excessive supply of sugars causes the poor condition of the hair.
Sebum, which is secreted by the sebaceous glands and covers the hair, changes its composition under the influence of sugars. In addition, it is also secreted in larger quantities. This causes bad hair condition and fast fatty hair.
People who consume a lot of sugar in their diet also have problems with dullness and hair loss. This is why it is important to limit sugar intake in order to keep your hair healthy and beautiful.
Omega 3 fatty acids belong to the group of Essential Fatty Acids. These acids are not synthesised in the body, so they must be provided with food.
Unsaturated Fatty Acids are divided into monounsaturated and polyunsaturated ones. Each has different functions in the body. Omega 3 and Omega 6 are polyunsaturated fatty acids. It is very important to maintain the ratio between the intake of Omega 3 and Omega 6 acids; when these acids are consumed in the ratio of 1:5 they show their best properties.
Unsaturated fatty acids have a great influence on hair health. The sebaceous glands secrete these acids, making the skin’s reaction more acidic, which limits the growth of bacteria. Omega 3 fatty acids also offset the effects of negative sunlight. This acid also supports the development of healthy and strong hair and protects against the occurrence of dandruff. Additionally, it protects hair from split ends.
Sea fish, walnuts, avocados, flax seeds, rapeseeds and soya beans contain the highest levels of omega 3 acids. Sea kelp also contains high levels of omega 3 acids, and it is a good idea to supplement these with fish oil. Omega 6 is found in many oils, olive oil, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, avocados and almonds.
Vitamin A otherwise known as Beta-carotene or Retinol is one of the beauty vitamins. Vitamin A affects processes throughout the body. On hair, however, its main action is to stimulate growth. It also influences the formation of good quality blood, which nourishes the hair. Vitamin A protects hair from the effects of adverse weather conditions.
The main sources of retinol are tuna, mackerel, liver, milk, cheeses – preferably fatty ones – and butter. Beta-carotene is found in green, red and yellow vegetables and fruits. Also remember to eat foods rich in vitamin A with added fats.
Vitamin B5 – Pantothenic acid, or vitamin B5. Like other B vitamins, it is a water-soluble vitamin. Pantothenic acid affects the cell division of the hair matrix, as it stimulates the cells that produce keratin. As a result, this vitamin builds and strengthens the hair structure. Vitamin B5 reduces the greying of hair, thanks to its effect on improving pigmentation. It is also involved in the formation of sebum, which protects hair from drying out. This moisturises the hair and protects it from unfavourable environmental factors. It provides the energy needed for hair growth.
Pantothenic acid is present in practically all the nutrients we consume. However, the highest levels of vitamin B5 are found in yeast, wheat bran, nuts, meat, broccoli, tomatoes, avocados, yams, milk, legumes, lentils, mushrooms, brown rice and whole grain bread.
Vitamin B7 – Biotin, or vitamin B7 or vitamin H, is one of the B vitamins. It is one of the most important elements for the health of hair, skin and nails.
Biotin is part of enzymes that catalyse reactions in our body such as the synthesis of sugars, proteins and lipids.
Additionally, biotin is a source of sulphur, which is the basic building block of keratin, the main component of hair. This ensures high hair strength and elasticity.
Biotin is called the beauty vitamin because it affects the health of both hair, skin and nails. By improving the skin’s metabolism, this vitamin influences better nourishment of hair follicles, thus accelerating hair growth. Biotin also has an effect on reducing the secretion of the sebaceous glands. It also influences the functioning of the thyroid gland, whose disorders may cause hair loss.
The highest amount of biotin is found in liver and yeast. Nuts, grains, eggs, tuna, sardines, salmon, meat or soya beans, dark rice, nuts, milk and cheese, beetroot and other vegetables such as tomatoes, cauliflower and spinach are also good sources of this vitamin.
Vitamin B9 – Folic acid mainly affects the hair roots. Because it stimulates hair stem cells to produce new cells, it thus contributes to the growth and formation of new hair.
Folic acid is found in lentils, chickpeas, romaine lettuce, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower and beetroot, among others.
Vitamin C – otherwise known as ascorbic acid. It has an antioxidant effect, i.e. it protects our body from harmful free radicals which cause adverse changes in the body. Vitamin C makes hair more elastic and less damaged.
Its main sources are citrus fruits such as orange, lemon, mandarin, grapefruit, as well as paprika, tomato, papaya, Brussels sprouts and broccoli.
Vitamin E – is one of the antioxidants. It has an impact on hair health as it improves the functioning of blood vessels. This allows nutrients to be delivered more efficiently through the bloodstream to the hair follicles.
Vitamin E can be found in oils, fish and poultry, almonds, nuts, sprouts, spinach, tomatoes, oatmeal and bran.
Iron – is an essential ingredient to have in your diet to maintain healthy and shiny hair.
Iron is associated with cellular respiration. Cellular respiration provides the necessary energy for hair growth. Iron, through its effect on a specific enzyme, is responsible for the correct structure and timing of hair growth.
As in other cases, iron is initially supplied to the larger organs of our body, and then, the rest is supplied to the hair. This is why it is so important to regularly consume this element in sufficient quantities.
Iron can be found in eggs, beef, yeast, fatty fish, nuts, legumes, nettles, parsley, prunes, bran, beetroot, pumpkin seeds and avocados. However, it is important not to consume more iron than the norm as this is harmful to health.
Zinc – Hair is made up of amino acids and it is thanks to them that hair is formed. In the body, it controls the metabolism of amino acids, and therefore influences the normal growth of hair, by affecting the formation of keratin.
It also improves immunity and ensures protection of body cells against free radicals. Zinc regulates the sebaceous glands and improves the absorption of vitamin A.
It is found in many products, but consuming it together with some substances reduces its beneficial effects. Therefore, it is necessary to bear in mind that even when consuming large amounts of zinc with sweets or fibre, it will not be absorbed and large deficiencies may occur.
Zinc can be found in oysters, beef liver, calf liver, stewed meat, roast turkey, onions and green peas. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to meet the daily zinc intake, because only oysters contain more zinc. In other products the zinc content is much lower.
Copper has a significant impact on our hair, because by strengthening disulphide bridges in hair, it also strengthens its structure.
Copper also influences the formation of keratin, the protein of which hair is composed. In addition, copper influences the colour of our hair, its elasticity, skin reaction and the ageing process.
The best sources of copper are liver, walnuts, bran, oatmeal, cocoa, meat and dairy products.
Silicon – improves strength and elasticity of hair. In addition, it also increases hair thickness. It also participates in the synthesis of collagen, keratin and elastin and thus influences the health of skin, hair and nails.
It improves the condition of hair, increases its growth rate and reduces hair loss.
It is present in many fruits, vegetables, brown rice, wholemeal bread, potatoes, spinach, bran, oatmeal, strawberries, field horsetail, garlic and chives.
Antioxidants are substances which protect our body against free radicals, and thus have anti-cancer properties.
Antioxidants are divided into exogenous, i.e. those which are taken in with food, and endogenous, i.e. those which are produced in the human body. Antioxidants include carotenoids, polyphenols, vitamins C and E.
Antioxidants influence the improvement of blood supply to the skin, which in turn ensures better nourishment of hair follicles, which in turn improves the condition of hair.
The largest sources of antioxidants are found in green tea, fruits – especially blueberries and bilberries, vegetables, nuts, as well as wine, liver, tuna and eggs.
Despite supplying the body with antioxidants in the diet, one should also remember to stimulate the formation of endogenous antioxidants. Therefore, it is important that the diet does not lack fish, especially sea fish, nuts and sunflower seeds.
Maintaining a balanced diet and taking care of a healthy lifestyle is very important, but it should be remembered that both deficiency and excess of elements or nutrients causes significant damage to health. Therefore, it is important to exercise moderation and to consume the recommended daily dose of each element and nutrient.