When I was about fifteen I started dying my hair… Name any color, it was probably on my head at some point. But all of that dye, plus putting heat on my hair really did some damage. I know I’m not alone. My hair thinned out, became dry, had damaged ends and just really did not look healthy. Butttt, now I am happy to say that I loveee my hair without any product or heat. It took me awhile to get to this point though. I stopped putting heat on my hair altogether. I never really used hair products, but I made sure coconut oil was the only thing that touched my hair after washing it and…. *drum roll* I started eating right to heal my hair.
Yes, heal my hair. It’s possible. Your hair needs vitamins and nutrients just like any other part of you. Eating foods that are abundant in the vitamins and nutrients your hair needs, will restore life to it and leave it looking and feeling healthy again! I know everyone has different hair but I guarantee, if you begin to take care of it the same way you take care of your body (by feeding it nutritionally dense foods and drinking plenty of h2O), lay off the products and limit the amount of heat you put on it, you will begin to see changes over time. So let’s explore some plant-based foods and see where we can find vitamins and nutrients that will heal our hair…
For hair loss…
If your hair has thinned out over the years or you’re losing a lot of hair regularly you may be deficient in zinc, Vitamin B2 or inositol (part of the B vitamin family).
Zinc is involved in more body functions than any other mineral and hair loss is one of the first signs that you are not getting enough of this important metal. It is needed for regeneration of every cell in your body— yes, that means hair cells too. Zinc deficiency is common in plant-based diets so to avoid and keep your hair luscious and full, make sure you are incorporating the following into your diet: pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and peas.
One of the main functions of Vitamin B2 is to maintain healthy skin, nails and hair. Therefore, if you have a deficiency in this vitamin it is likely to show up as hair loss. Vitamin B2 is needed daily and can be found in brewer’s (nutritional yeast), cremini mushrooms, almonds and nori. It is a water soluble vitamin. This means to allow your body to absorb it properly, it needs to be consumed with water. When eating foods that contain Vitamin B2, have a glass of water before and after.
Inositol is not a well known vitamin but deficiency in it is known to cause hair loss. It can be found in many plant-based foods such as brown rice, lima beans, cabbage, limes, cantaloupe and soy and sunflower lecithin.
Vitamin A and Selenium can cause hair loss when the body has too much of them.
For dry hair…
Dry hair can be a sign of deficiency of iodine or sulphur.
Dry hair caused by an iodine deficiency can be one sign a larger problem: hypothyroidism. This is when the thyroid gland is not functioning properly. If you think you have hypothyroidism and experience any of the symptoms of it, including dry hair, you should definitely consult a professional health care practitioner. You can also begin to incorporate the following: kelp, wakame, sea salt and strawberries.
Sulphur plays a few important roles in the body and it is found in the cells of our hair, skin and nails. Therefore a deficiency in it is not good for healthy hair. It can be found abundantly in plant-based foods such as onions, broccoli, kelp, cacao, cabbage, kale, garlic and turnips.
Nettle, which is a plant that grows abundantly throughout North America, was used by Native Americans for various health conditions due to its high levels of iron and vitamin C (which helps absorb the iron), this also makes it a good remedy for hair loss not only because iron is needed to help your hair grow, but it also helps to stimulate the scalp when used as a rinse. Drink nettle tea everyday to start seeing changes in your hair or use it as a hair rinse. This same rinse can also help with dry and lifeless hair as well as dandruff!
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you believe you are suffering from hair loss or dry, lifeless hair, you can begin to incorporate more of the foods mentioned throughout this post into your diet. You may also want to speak to a licensed health practitioner about getting a blood test done to check if you are low in any of the vitamins and nutrients discussed above and supplement where needed. The foods mentioned above are not the only plant-based foods that contain these