Hair Update – The Hair Journey Continues – The Importance of Nutrition for Hair Growth and Health

Over the past ten years I have learned a lot about my hair.  The main lesson that I have learned is that what you put inside your body is as important as what you put on the outside of your body when it comes to hair care.  I learned this lesson the hard way.  When you are older and you don’t have as much time to spend on your hair as you did when you were younger (as in my case), it is easy to overlook things that can end up having a detrimental effect on your hair.  In my case,  I have food sensitivities, and because of that I had eliminated a major source of protein (in the form of yogurt) from my breakfast (I am allergic to milk). I had also eliminated my favorite source of iron (Malt-O-Meal cereal) from my breakfast because of a slight wheat sensitivity.  (I’m allergic to dietary wheat, not wheat based products applied to the skin and/or hair).  I eliminated these two sources of nutrients, and didn’t replace them adequately, and as a result, my hair suffered.  Even though my multivitamin has 100% if the daily RDA of iron for women, this form of iron doesn’t absorb as well as food sources of iron. I know because I can tell the difference in my hair now that I have added a food source of iron back to my diet (see below).   Hormonal changes (those that come with age) also affected my hair. It took several years, but even with taking care of my hair on the outside, the elimination of important nutrients affected my hair from the inside.  My hair became dry and brittle, and it broke off and thinned.  I knew something was going on, but again, being very busy, I didn’t take the time to really look at my hair until the damage was done.

So phase two of my hair journey is the process of me nurturing my hair back to health from the inside out.  These are the things that I have started to do to nuture my hair:

  1. Eat two hardboiled eggs a day (for protein). Based on what I am seeing with my hair I think that the eggs are better than the yogurt I was eating previously. According to Dr. Mercola “Eggs are a phenomenal source of protein, fat, and other nutrients, including choline and the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. They are so good for you that you can easily eat one dozen eggs per week, which is actually a simple and cost-effective way to add valuable nutrition to your diet.”
  2. Take 1 tablespoon of organic blackstrap molasses a day for iron.  According to what I have read, food sources of iron are much safer than supplements.  The brand I take is Plantation. Their organic blackstrap molasses is rich in iron, calcium and magnesium. I mix it with almond milk for a beverage, or almond butter for a creamy treat.
  3. I’ve changed my hair routine to go heatless.  I have challenged myself to do my hair without any form of heat.  I still believe that pressing hair has its place (see my earlier posts) and I am not against hair pressing as a way to manage natural hair, but I think that it is good to have multiple options when dealing with natural hair, and for my needs at this point in my life I have decided to go without heat.  As a result, I am learning to do two strand twists on my hair, and have developed a couple of new products to help with this process (I will talk about my experience doing two strand twists and a twist out in an upcoming post).

Eat Your Way To Healthy Hair – Salmon and Other Types of Fish

If you want an easy way to contribute to your personal health and the health of your hair, add salmon or other fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids to your diet.  Omega 3 fatty acids are some of the most important substances you can eat to contribute to the health of your hair and your body. Omega 3 fatty acids have many benefits including contributing to blood circulation (which helps bring oxygen to the scalp nourishing hair follicles) and contributing to softer hair and skin. Not all fish is a good source of omega 3 fatty acids. Some of the richest sources are wild caught salmon (as opposed to farm raised), sardines, and anchovies.

There are many ways to add fish to your diet (if you have not done so already).  Salmon steaks or fillets can be prepared by simply rinsing the raw fillet, putting it in a pan, sprinkling a little salt and seasonings on the fish, and baking it at 425 degrees F until done (it should look like the photo above).  You can also add fish by adding canned salmon or sardines to a salad.  You can liven up a sandwich by making an anchovy spread (mix 3 parts mayonnaise to 1 part anchovy paste and use as a sandwich spread).  And if you can’t add fish to your diet, you can get the same benefits of adding omega-3 fatty acids to your diet by taking a fish oil supplement.

A Healthy Body Is Important Too!

One interesting observation that I have made during my hair journey is that many people are not as concerned about the foods they eat as they are about the products they use on their hair.  While I think that the products you use on your hair are important, I believe that taking care of your body from the inside out is even more important. What good is long hair if the rest of you is suffering from poor health? In the near future, will be writing posts on healthy foods that also contribute to healthy hair.