The health of your hair has a lot to do with your physical health. In fact, the two are so closely connected that what you eat can have a serious impact on your hair. Many people turn to conditioners and fancy shampoos to fix their hair, and often neglect this simple fact entirely.
Worse still, other people seem to give up entirely, accepting that their hair will lose its vibrancy as they age. You need to know that it is entirely possible for you to maintain a healthy head of hair for quite some time, and a big part of doing so involves eating the right kind of fat.
Sadly, this doesn’t include fried chicken, French fries and cake. In fact, binging on that has been shown to lead to worse hair. No, when we say the right kind of fat, we’re referring what has come to be known as ‘healthy fat’.
For years, fat has been the number one enemy for dieters everywhere, but recent research has proven that this fear is unfounded. Not all fat is bad, and unsaturated fats provide numerous health benefits – although saturated fats contained in fried and processed foods should still be avoided.
The question then becomes; how does fat affect your hair? Before we go into that, we have to give you a quick run-down on what’s happening on your head right now.
If you’d like to skip right ahead to learn more about natural hair-health remedies, you can learn them for free right here.
How Does Your Hair Grow?
Here’s something that might come as a shock. The parts of your hair that you can see are dead, while the part that is responsible for growth is actually found beneath the skin. This is known as the hair follicle, while the outside is called the cuticle.
Next to the follicle is a small gland that produces oil to keep the shaft of your hair lubricated and soft as it grows. This is also what protects your hair from the elements, keeping it soft and supple.
Here is where the fat you consume comes in. The right kind of fats (unsaturated ones) help keep your scalp producing this oil to keep your hair looking and feeling great. Eating a diet high in saturated fats, on the other hand, can result in dry, brittle hair.
How Fat and Protein Work Together
You may already know that your hair is made up of a protein called keratin, which strengthens it. Protein is one of the main foundations of healthy hair. If you want your hair to look amazing, you need a diet that consists of high quality protein.
This includes stuff like chicken, beef, dairy, nuts, seeds and some grains like quinoa, which are all excellent sources. Your body will use the protein it is fed to aid muscle, skin, nail and hair growth. It’s a vital component of healthy hair.
However, what you may not know is that protein works hand-in-hand with fat to do its job effectively. You can’t have one without the other, or else you’re risking having a less than stellar head of hair.
You don’t need to spend a fortune on expensive conditioners, as the right kind of fat does that for you – from the inside. The more healthy fat you ingest, the better those little oil glands work, leading to good results for your hair.
In essence, unsaturated fats act like conditioner from the inside. All it takes from you is to ensure that you get the right type of fats in your diet. They are like all-natural moisturizers that help keep your hair as soft as possible. This keeps your hair flexible, and helps keep it from breaking.
It is important to note that this won’t be an instantaneous process. This isn’t a magic bullet, and it requires some dedication, as well as tweaks to your current diet. In fact, it may take up to 60 days for you to see results, so patience is key.
The Right Kind of Fat
So by now you’re probably asking what exactly are the essential fats needed to keep your hair in tip top shape?
As we mentioned before, you want to be adding unsaturated fats to your diet, but there are a couple of different types within this group, namely polyunsaturated fatty acids and monounsaturated fats. When eaten in the right amounts, these can have numerous health benefits, including lowered cholesterol levels, less risk of heart disease and weight loss.
Polyunsaturated fatty acids are found in vegetable oils, with another great example of them being omega-3 fatty acids, which have shown to help improve the health of your heart.
Monounsaturated fats are also really great, and help reduce the risk of heart disease. Eaten a lot in Mediterranean countries in the form of olive oil, it is thought to be the reason for the incredible heart health of the people in that part of the world.
Best Sources of Healthy Fat
Now on to the most important bit – the best sources of these fats.
- Avocado: There’s a reason that these tasty fruits are taking the health world by storm – they’re an excellent source of monounsaturated fats, and are also filled with vitamin E and folate. All of these nutrients can contribute, not only to the health of your hair, but to your overall well-being as well.
- Omega-3: These are essential because the body cannot produce them on its own, but they are packed to the brim with benefits, including very powerful anti-oxidants. They can be found in capsule form, flaxseed, walnuts and salmon, among others.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Brilliant for heart health, this is thought to be the reason that Mediterranean people have such great hearts, and is a great source of monounsaturated fats, as well as anti-oxidants to keep protect your cells.
- Coconut Oil: Another great one, this can not only aid your hair, but your insides as well by improving your cholesterol levels, and your brain health and memory.
The health of the hair on your head has a direct connection to what you put in your mouth, and healthy fats are one of the main components of strong, vibrant hair. It works hand-in-hand with protein to keep it growing, so you should not neglect them.
Try to include a couple of the foods we have listed in your daily diet, and always remember to have some patience. The results will come, as long as you stick with it.
However, this isn’t the only thing you can do for your hair. There are plenty of natural ways to improve it. If you’d like to know about them, they are explained in detail here.