Thick, lustrous locks aren’t just markers for beauty, they’re great indicators of your overall health too. Brittle hair doesn’t just mean that it’s time to switch up your haircare routine, it might mean that you have to revamp your diet as well.
The conditions for hair growth are strongly dependent on both the hormonal and nutritional state of the body, so if you keep finding yourself frustrated by dull and slow-growing hair,it might be because you’re not giving your body the nutritious essentials it needs for hair growth.
It seems obvious that since hair is made up of protein, consuming a protein rich diet would be optimal for your crowning glory, however the conversation doesn’t end there. There are a myriad of different kinds and sources of protein, but which one is best for your locks?
When it comes to maintaining great hair days, nothing can beat iron-rich protein. The combination of both the amino acids in protein plus iron makes up an unbeatable combo that will save you from desperate trips to your stylists.
So…what makes iron-rich protein special and how exactly does your diet contribute to hair growth?
Why Iron-Rich Protein is the Most Important Hair Food
To understand, we need a quick recap of how hair is produced. Hair growth begins in your hair follicles that are buried in the dermis. The bulb, which is at the very bottom of your hair follicle is the living part of the hair where cells divide to produce your hair strands.
Both oxygen, protein, and nutrients are needed for this process, which is being provided by the capillaries located at the base of each follicle.
The need for protein is pretty straightforward. The amino acids from the protein you consume are recreated into a hard protein called keratin which is the major component for your hair.
The more amino acids you infuse into the production of keratin, the stronger each hair strand will be. The minute your body detects a lack in protein, it automatically rations out the protein your body has available, and reserves those for the more vital functions in the body. This means that your hair follicles will not get enough of what it needs to produce strong and healthy hair.
Now, why do we specify that iron-rich protein is the best? As I mentioned, oxygen is a crucial part of hair growth, and to be able to get the air you breathe all the way up to the tiny blood vessels in your scalp, you are dependent on the body’s circulation system.
Here’s a cheat sheet for those who dozed off in science class: your red blood cells (RBC) have hemoglobin, an iron-containing protein that helps RBC carry oxygen to reach different parts of your body. A lack of iron means that much less oxygen reach your hair follicles. When hair follicles don’t get the components they need to product healthy hair, it causes hair growth to slow or even stop altogether.
This isn’t an old wives tale – wide scale studies on pregnant women or those who have unusually heavy periods show that they are more likely to experience increased hair fall, mainly due to the iron deficiency in the body.
Aside from ensuring your blood circulation is in tip-top shape, consuming iron-rich proteins help keep the hair follicles structure healthy as you age too.
A lot of men and women dread aging because they think it’s synonymous to baldness, but studies are also showing that that’s not always the case, especially when you have a protein rich diet!
A common hair myth is that we lose hair follicles as we grow older. This belief is strengthened when you compare teenage and present pictures and notice the severe lack of hair. Now it’s time for the myth to quit. We have a set number of follicles since birth, but as the scalp stretches, patches start to show.
Aside from the scalp stretching, growing older also causes hair follicles to be tinier, shriveled up versions of themselves. Because of this, the follicles that make healthy hair before are now producing fine wispy hair instead of thick strands.
Now here comes the good news. According to scientists, the shrinkage of hair follicles seem to be preventable if it is continually nourished. This is the role of iron-rich protein, it keeps the blood vessels strong so that it continually transports blood to the base of the hair follicle. Keeping hair follicles constantly dilated through steady blood flow means that you get to enjoy having a full head of healthy hair for much longer.
So stock up on the protein!