Hair is the 2nd fastest growing cell in the body (intestinal cells being the 1st) and its growth can be influenced, both positively and negatively, by many factors.
In this post we will talk about what you can do to get your hair growing at its optimum rate – and how to prevent hair loss in the future!
Eat a Well-Balanced Diet
Hair is the 2nd fastest growing cell in your body, but as it’s also not a vital tissue it’s usually the first thing to be affected negatively by a poor diet. Keep in mind the following nutritional tips to help keep your hair growing at its best rate:
Your hair is composed primarily of a protein called keratin, and so including enough in your diet is important to growth. Try to eat at least 120g in weight of a first class (animal) protein with breakfast and lunch. Examples of these are chicken, fish, eggs and lean meat. You can also add protein supplements into your diet for an added boost.
Complex carbohydrates provide cells with slow-released energy and are vital to hair growth. Add some type of complex carbohydrates, such as whole meal bread, rice, potatoes or pasta to every meal.
Energy to form hair cells drops 4hrs after eating a meal, so snack on a complex carb, such as fruit or crackers, between meals to keep your follicles nourished.
IRON & FERRITIN
Low iron and ferritin (stored iron) levels can cause your hair to shed before it reaches maximum length This can cause your hair to stop growing past the length you would like it to and can also cause a general reduction in volume. To help ensure your ferritin and iron levels remain healthy, eat red meat at least twice a week – this is especially important if you are menstruating, as blood (iron) is lost during your period. If you suspect you are anaemic, make an appointment with your GP to have your iron and ferritin levels tested. You can then speak to your doctor and/or trichologist about appropriate supplements.
Being underweight, losing weight too quickly, and also going on extreme diets (such as juice fasts), can cause excessive hair loss. If you are thinking of losing weight, do so responsibly and slowly – and always under the guidance of your doctor or nutritionist!
Keep Your Body Healthy
Your hair is an excellent barometer for your general health and wellbeing. Keeping your body healthy helps ensure healthy hair growth!
Stress is a known catalyst for hair loss. Try yoga, meditation, pilates, or even daily walks to help keep your body and mind calm! Exercise can also be good, but make sure not to overdo it. Over-exercising can also trigger excess hair shedding by increasing certain hormone levels. Moderation is best!
DON’T HESITATE TO GO TO YOUR DOCTOR
If you’re feeling unusually tired, lethargic or are experiencing other symptoms such as unexplained weight gain/loss, increased facial hair or heavier periods – go to your doctor and have blood tests requested. These can be symptoms of underlying disorders such as anaemia, vitamin deficiencies, follicle sensitivity, thyroid imbalances and PCOS. All of which can affect hair growth and the sooner you address them, the sooner your hair growth can improve.
KEEP YOUR SCALP HEALTHY
A healthy scalp encourages healthy hair growth. Try to wash your hair daily (or at least every other day) with the correct shampoo and conditioner for your hair type. Infrequent washing encourages dandruff, and studies have shown that dandruff can cause or exacerbate hair loss. If you already have dandruff, or a flaky/itchy scalp, use specialist shampoo and scalp creams to help clear irritation and flakes.