Hormones and Hair Health

I unfortunately didn’t inherit my mother’s thick black hair. I’ve always had ‘baby hair’ as a cousin would say (not a lot and thin). Having a hormone imbalance has made my love/hate relationship with my hair swerve more in the intensely dislike direction (I love that my thin hair can be dried and styled in 10 minutes or less though).

It’s been about over a year or so that I’ve been able to control my hormonal acne breakouts and only then I noticed that my hair had thinned out more and that it drops more at different stages of my menstrual cycle (specifically post ovulation when my estrogen is low). This is how I realized that my hormone imbalance had adversely impacted my hair.

One of the things that has really helped the growth and thickness of my hair is good ole’ fashioned coconut oil. I think once you have a Caribbean background you’ve heard about the advantages of coconut oil on hair. At least once a week I massage my scalp with coconut oil and I’ve definitely seen and felt the benefits of doing so (as shown in the pic of my hair growth from June to September this year). The only thing that I don’t like about coconut oil is the smell it leaves after I wash it off. You can add a few drops of almond oil, like I do if you don’t like the after smell also.

A lot of the times we think that the hair products that we use are the main contributors to the poor health of our hair and while sometimes this is the case, a poor diet could actually be the real culprit. As per my last blog about eating to feel better, I prefer to get as much essential vitamins and minerals from my diet than relying solely on supplements. This translates to my hair health as well.

Here are some foods/vitamins/minerals that you can include in your diet to improve your hair quality:

Protein: your hair is made of protein and having enough protein in your diet is crucial for making hair strong and healthy. A very low protein diet can result in dry, brittle and weak hair. Excellent sources of protein are chicken, fish, turkey, eggs and dairy products as well as legumes and nuts.

Iron: This mineral is very important for hair and too little iron in the body is a major cause of hair loss. When iron levels fall below a certain level nutrient supply to the follicle is disrupted which can affect hair growth and result in over shedding. Excellent source of iron are chicken, fish, lentils, spinach, broccoli, kale and other leafy green vegetables.

Vitamin C: This aids in iron absorption in the body and is recommended to eat in conjunction with iron rich foods as they aid in the production of collagen that strengthens hair shafts. Vitamin C helps in the production of collagen that strengthens the capillaries that supply the hair shafts. Excellent sources are black currants, broccoli, guava, oranges, papaya and sweet potato.

Omega 3: I’ve always raved about the benefits of Omega 3 on skin so it should be no surprise that including this in your diet can do wonders for your hair also. Omega 3 is found in the cells that line your scalp and provides the oils that keep your scalp and hair hydrated. Excellent sources are salmon, herring, sardines and plant sources such as avocado, pumpkin weeds and walnuts.

Vitamin A: This is needed by the body to make sebum which is an oily substance created by our hairs sebaceous glands and acts as a natural conditioner for a healthy scalp. A lack of sebum can result in an itchy scalp and dry hair. Excellent sources can be found in orange/yellow coloured vegetables such as carrots, pumpkins and sweet potatoes.

Zinc: A lack of this mineral can lead to hair loss and a dry, flaky scalp. Excellent sources are whole grains, fortified cereals, beef, oysters and eggs.

Vitamin E: We all know how damaging the sun can be to our skin but it can also damage our hair as well. Vitamin E provides this protection. Excellent sources can be found in most nuts.

 

“Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.” – Leonardo Da Vinci

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