Winter weather can be especially brutal on hair because of the cold factor and that's not to mention the stress of any existing hair challenges with hair loss, greying of hair, greasy, dull, frizzy hair or split-ends. At Christmas time, it would seem there are a whole battery of hair products emerge such as shampoos, conditioners and hair oils - After all, nothing sells like hair and beauty products. But do they work or is it a simple case of eating a healthy, balanced diet and how does the Christmas dinner work?
Christmas dinner isn’t traditionally known as the healthiest meal of the year as we consume three times our recommended daily calories, however a typical Christmas meal actually contains many good sources of the vitamins and minerals needed for healthy hair.
Turkey or Nut Roast
Turkey is a great source of lean protein -particularly the white meat - so go for the breast and steer clear of the fatty skin. Turkey also contains an amino acid called tryptophan, important for serotonin production, also known as the 'happy' hormone. A lack of protein in your diet can lead to brittle hair and a loss of natural hair colour. Vegetarians eating nut roast on Christmas day will also be getting a good source of protein. Eighty to eighty-five percent of your hair is composed of a protein called keratin - a special hair protein that gives your strands their strength, flexibility and elasticity. Poultry and nuts have always been considered to be excellent sources of protein. Meat is also a good source of zinc. Without zinc hair shafts can become brittle, fragile and prone to breaking.
Carrots/ Sweet Potatoes
Carrots are rich in beta-carotene which is converted into vitamin A by the body. Vitamin A is needed to make sebum, promoting a healthy scalp and giving you glossy, healthy-looking hair. Sweet potatoes are also rich in an antioxidant called beta-carotene which helps protect against dry, dull hair. It also encourages the glands in your scalp to produce the sebum again which prevents the hair from drying out. Other orange coloured vegetables like pumpkin, cantaloupes and mangoes are also rich in beta-carotene.
Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts and Dark Green Vegetables
Broccoli is an excellent source of iron and vitamin C. It also helps strengthen hair by assisting iron absorption in our body. Iron is needed by the body to transport oxygen effectively; if there isn’t enough iron, the body shuts down non-essential processes to conserve oxygen, one of which is hair growth. In your battle against brittle hair, what leads the army is Spinach! Like so many dark green leafy vegetables, spinach is full of amazing nutrients. It has tons of vitamin A, iron, beta-carotene, and vitamin C. All these nutrients keep your scalp and hair moisturized and prevents breakage.
Parsnips are another source of fibre, potassium and also vitamin C. The cooking methods are where things can go awry. Be mindful about adding honey or parmesan which add calories to an already hearty meal.
Roast potatoes with the skin on are a good source of silica, which is needed to help the body absorb vitamins and minerals. Careful with portion sizes of your roasties, just 3-4 will do. The downside of roast potatoes is that we often remove the skins not to mention lots of calories are added when cooked in fat.
Dried Fruit and Nuts
Dried fruit and nuts, either from festive nibbles, mince pies or in your Christmas pudding, are rich in nutrients and provide an excellent source of iron, sulphur, biotin and vitamin E, which encourages good blood circulation to the scalp. Also look out for walnuts, cashews and almonds, which are a source of zinc. Brazil nuts are also one of the best natural sources of selenium, a mineral which is essential for a healthy scalp.
Diet for Healthy Hair
Deficiencies in your diet can have an impact on the health of your hair, skin and nails. If you are eating a balanced diet you should be getting enough nutrients to ensure a healthy head of hair. However if you fear your diet isn’t as balanced as it could be, then a dietary supplement to help ensure you are getting the nutrients required for maintaining the health of your hair.
So the Christmas dinner works well as part of a balanced diet, as long as we don't over indulge. Alcohol? That's a different story...