When it comes to strong and healthy hair, I’m a big believer in nourishing the body from the inside out. Filling my plate with nutrient-dense foods where possible is a priority for my overall long-term health and also for supporting hair growth and strength.
However, did you know that lifestyle factors can also impact the health of our hair? Stress, sleep, medications, hair products and grooming behaviours all play a role.
To keep it simple, I’ve put together 7 lifestyle and dietary tips to keep in mind when it comes to healthy, luscious locks.
I always ensure my meals contain a mix of protein, complex carbohydrates and a source of mono/poly unsaturated fats (olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds, oily fish). This way I am nourishing my body from the inside out. For example, we need amino acids from protein for hair cell repair and renewal and healthy fats to nourish our hair and give it that silky shine. Restricting food groups or simply not eating enough calories can result in hair loss and often occurs in the period post-dieting.
It seems simple but it’s easy to overestimate how much water we are actually drinking. I aim to drink 1.5-2 litres every day for hydration for my hair, skin and bodily processes. If you are sweating due to heat or exercise, aim for a little extra!
Eating a wide range of different foods means that I am more likely to be getting in my essential minerals. At lunch and dinner I usually fill half my plate with dark leafy greens that are mineral rich and I eat a variety of both plant and animal protein sources. I also take my JSHealth Hair + Energy formula that contains two important minerals for hair health; iodine and zinc.
Emotional and physical stress can result in hair thinning due to hair loss. Whilst we all experience stress, when stress becomes chronic it can result in health issues and one of those can be hair loss. To help manage my stress levels, I try to take time out each day to breathe deeply and rest my body and mind. Some days this is a yoga class or a swim in the ocean, whereas other days when I am time poor. Therefore, on those days it can be as simple as putting my legs up against the wall for 10 minutes whilst practising my deep-belly breathing.
I try not to use my hair dryer, hair straightener or curler too often and only wash my hair 1-2 times per week. Over-washing your hair can strip it of its natural oils and for some can also result in a dry and irritated scalp. Some days I use a leave in conditioner or massage some argan oil into my hair to give it a bit of extra love.
For some people, iron deficiency can result in hair loss. If you are vegan, vegetarian or are experiencing hair loss it is always worth checking in with your doctor to see where your iron levels are at. For me personally, I eat a mix of plant and animal sources of iron to help keep my iron levels within range.
Lastly, it is important to take care of your thyroid health as this can have an impact on hair growth and strength. If you are experiencing hair loss and are displaying symptoms of fatigue, weight gain, hair thinning, dry skin or brain fog it may be worth checking in with a doctor to explore this further.
Jessica Sepel is a clinical nutritionist, best-selling author, international health blogger and the beloved voice behind JSHealth and @jshealth. She is passionate about helping people overcome fad dieting and disordered eating, having gone through her own struggles with food. Her philosophy is focused around balance, rest and building a healthy relationship with food. She recently launched the JSHealth App, which features a world-first nutrition clinic, hundreds of healthy recipes, a daily meal planner, health guides, body love support and much more.