Hair for Thought
Is being a vegetarian affecting your hair?
There are many paths to living a healthy lifestyle; from working out, to mindfulness, to eating a balanced diet. Some people choose to eliminate all animal products (meat, dairy, etc.) and consume only a vegetarian diet, whether it is for health, moral or religious reasons. While a vegetarian diet can be beneficial, it can also affect the health of our skin, nails and specifically, our hair. If you are a vegetarian and are noticing your hair is breaking or thinning, here are some nutrients and foods to discuss with your doctor or registered dietician to ensure that you get everything you need to keep your hair strong, thick and shiny:
Don’t Forget Protein
Our hair is comprised mainly of protein, so a lack of meat or fish can definitely wreak havoc on the strength of our locks. Luckily, there are numerous vegetarian and plant based sources for protein, including nuts, seeds, beans and lentils. If you can incorporate these nutrient-rich protein sources into your diet, you can fuel your hair.
Pump Up on Iron
Another nutrient that is vital to the health of our hair is iron, naturally found in meat sources. Iron is important for the growth cycle of our hair, so adding in plenty of dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale can provide a vegetarian with this mineral. Other nutrients that contribute to the overall health of our hair include zinc, biotin and vitamin D. Vegetarian sources of zinc include soybeans, oats and wheat germ and vegan sources of biotin include sunflower seeds and cauliflower. Vitamin D can be found in fortified milks, such as almond milk or a daily dose of sunshine.
A Balanced Diet
No matter what kind of diet you follow, vegetarian or not, eating well-balanced meals with a variety of proteins, grains and vitamin sources is essential to having strong, healthy hair. A final key factor to getting healthy strong hair is limiting heat styling. This means hair dryers, irons and chemical treatments, which can often be a major contributor to thin, brittle and breaking hair.