I always get asked what is the trick to thick, healthy hair. These are just some of the tricks I use. I rarely wear my hair down (I have two kids and am always on the go), so this is the last picture I took that shows the full length and thickness of my hair.
Follow the below tips on how to get and maintain healthy locks. Let us know your successes!
FOODS TO AVOID:
Nutrition plays an important role in every part of your health and well-being. Ditching the non-foods that do nothing for your body and hair is the most important thing for having healthy hair.
Caffeine/Coffee is one of the things that most people should avoid, especially woman. Studies have shown that women who drink 4-5 cups of coffee per day have a 70% increase in estrogen at the first stage of their menstrual cycle, which can cause estrogen dominance symptoms such as PMS, PCOS, cysts etc. Caffeine and estrogen also follow the same detoxification route in the liver making it harder to expel both efficiently. It is important because hormonal health creates healthy shiny, thick hair. Caffeine also raises your blood sugar level (*see note on sugar) as well as stress out your adrenal glands (your fight or flight mechanism).
Fried Foods overload our bodies with bad oils that are often rancid as they are heated at high temperatures for a long time. This can cause the over-stimulation of oil glands. Excess oils in your body can block pores and stimulate bacteria growth.
Sugar and Refined Carbohydrates are important to avoid or limit to special occasions. There is not a lot of research that studies the affects of sugar and refined carbohydrates on hair loss specifically, however sugar and refined carbohydrates do cause a great deal of inflammation in the body. When people consume too much sugar or refined carbohydrates, it spikes your blood sugar and surges insulin in your body. These, along with androgen's (hormones), can bind to hair follicles and make the hair fall out.
Anything you cannot pronounce on the label--this is the cheat method of having whole foods. If you cannot pronounce it, spell it, or know what it is, do not consume it! Artificial Sweeteners, Fillers, Binders, Preservatives, Artificial Colourings or Flavourings do not belong in our food or our bodies. A lot of these chemicals added to these products have not been tested for long term effects on our bodies. Things such as artificial sweeteners have been linked to hair thinning and hair loss by the FDA (although I haven’t seen the claim on a legitimate source stating this to be true).
FOODS TO CONSUME:
Proteins are the building blocks of the body and play an important role in the building of all body tissues and muscles, including the hair, skin, and nails. It is important to get the right amount of protein and the proper type of protein. You need to make sure you are getting a complete protein. A complete protein is a protein that contains the nine essential amino acids. Meat and egg contain complete protein, so if you eat meat you will be getting the right combination of amino acids. If you are vegan, pay special attention to mixing the right foods so you are getting the right amino acids. If you do not get the right amino acids in your body throughout the day, your body will obtain them by breaking apart muscle and tissue in your body to utilize the amino acids in its processes.
Nuts, Seeds and Fish have proteins, but also contain omega oils (*please see note below underneath supplements for more details on omegas).
Eat a rainbow! Each colour of fruit and vegetables contain a variety of nutrients that help your body perform the functions that it needs to. This is a quick measure to make sure you are getting the right nutrients in your body--always eat a rainbow at every meal. Make sure your meal contains the red/orange/yellow vegetables for its beta-carotene and vitamin A, and green ones for alkalizing properties, as well as the B vitamins.
Bone broth contains collagen which is a main component of your tendons, ligaments and skin. It helps by providing amino acids that may help build hair, fight damage to hair follicles, and thinning.
Omega – Most people are deficient in Omegas, especially Omega 3 Oils. They are found in nuts, seeds, fish, algal etc. Omegas have an important role in fighting inflammation in the body, good for heart health, helps fight depression and is good for skin, hair, and nails. There have been studies done on animals that have shown benefits of omega oils and hair growth and scalp health. Omegas are also good to help fight against inflammation in the body. Other factors such as refined carbohydrates, sugar, and stress are inflammatory and could have less of an impact when the omegas are taken.
This is my favourite omega oil by far. It is a vegan based supplement, made with algal oils, buckthorn berry, raspberry, tomato, and sunflower oil. You can order it here. It is so good that the company offers a four month money-back guarantee on your first order!
Antioxidants – Antioxidants are found in plant-based foods. They help with inflammation, free radicals, increase cell metabolism, help with blood circulation, and tissue repair, among other things. This is not a replacement for a healthy balanced diet but they will aid in helping your body with its normal functions. These are my favourite antioxidants, click here. It is a whole food that has been dehydrated and put into a capsule to provide our bodies with the antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that we need to process free radical damage.
Zinc - Zinc deficiency can cause hair loss. Zinc competes with copper absorption in your diet. If you have an abundance of copper in your body you may need to work on getting it balanced. You can check your copper levels by doing a hair mineral analysis such as this one. Zinc can be found in meat, dairy, eggs, legumes, shellfish, seeds, nuts, whole grains, some vegetables, and chocolate.
Collagen – This is a great supplement for hair and skin. It is an amino acid formula that helps provide the building blocks for strong hair. It may help build hair, fight damage to hair follicles, and help with thinning. I like genuine health marine collagenand organika 1,2,3 collagen. *Please note that there isn’t yet a vegan source of supplemental collagen.
WASH YOUR HAIR LESS:
Each time you wash your hair it strips the hair of its natural oils creating dry, damaged hair (if washed too frequently).
On the other side, heavily conditioning your hair can leave your hair heavy and greasy by the end of the day.
Aim to wash your hair once to twice a week at most. This will allow natural oils to help strengthen your hair and provides its healthy shine. If you wash your hair everyday you might need to build up to this as your hair adapts to washing less frequently. Start by every other day for a few weeks and work your way up. If you find that you’re hair is a bit greasy, add a bit of a starch such as tapioca starch (this is the one I use for my hair… and my pancakes for that matter) or a dry shampoo to absorb some of the oils.
TOUCH YOUR HAIR LESS:
Touch your hair less, the more often you touch your hair the more of the oils on your hands will transfer onto your hair creating a greasy look and feel.
Stress plays a role on all our body systems, your hair included. This topic will require a whole post or two :) Keep your eyes out!
The products you use on your hair also play an important role in the health of your hair, these will be covered in a secondary post so keep watching for more information!
Up to sixty percent of your body is made up of water. When you are hydrated, and drink lots of water your body will expel toxins. One of the keys to healthy skin, hair, nails and just about everything in your body is staying hydrated.
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