Have you been having a bad hair day…over and over again? If your hair has been in subpar condition, restoring your strands may be as easy to correct as a trip to the grocery store. Incorporating some new foods into your diet and cutting some of the old ones out can have a dramatic effect on the look and feel of your hair.
Dry hair can be due in part to a lack of vitamin A. “Vitamin A is essential to the induction of the genes that control the process called keratinization, which is part of the cycle of how hair grows. But if you’re not getting enough vitamin A or the right proportions of it, your hair can become dry,” says Fort Lauderdale, FL, dermatologist Will Richardson, MD.
How to correct it: Load up on foods rich in essential fatty acids and healthy fats. “Foods that are high in omega-3 and -6 fatty acids like lineolic acid will ensure proper hydration to the hair,” says Dr. Richardson. Also, make sure you drink at least one to two liters of water per day to keep hair supple.
Foods to include: fish like tuna, salmon and trout; flaxseed; walnuts, fruits and vegetables
Foods to avoid: processed foods
Hair that’s brittle is more prone to breakage and split ends. If you’re not feeding your body with essential fatty acids, the strands become even more vulnerable to damage from heat styling and chemical processes. “When your diet is low in omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, sulphur, vitamin A or deficient in calories, the result can be brittle hair,” says Dr. Richardson.
How to correct it: To reinstate the health of your hair and repair it, include vitamin E and essential oils in your diet to oxygenate and fortify the hair.
Foods to include: nuts, grains and green, leafy vegetables
Foods to avoid: caffeine, coffee and refined sugar
If your hair is dull, it’s because it’s unable to properly reflect light. When the hair is healthy, it lies flat, and, when light hits it, the light bounces off the cuticle, making it supershiny. But if you’re not getting enough protein in your diet, the cuticle will gnarl and lift. Overexposing the hair to stripping agents, like bleach, can also be a cause.
How to correct it: Stock up on protein-rich foods, which allow the cuticle to grow and lie properly
Foods to include: lean meats like poultry and salmon, cleansing vegetables like algae and wheatgrass
Foods to avoid: complex carbohydrates, junk food