Belfast Telegraph

5 foods that keep your hair healthy, glossy and flake-free

Despairing over flat, lifeless locks? Fear not, for Liz Connor's nutritional tips will keep your mane on top form this Christmas

The festive season is not without its stresses: Christmas shopping without blowing your entire budget on self-gifting, facing a whole week of arguing with the in-laws and attempting to get through the entire period without forgoing all diet and exercise regimes.

But the biggest conundrum is how to look vaguely human with a packed diary of events that leaves you looking worse for wear before you've even gotten round to tucking into your Christmas dinner.

A crucial place to start is your hair. A shiny mane can hide a multitude of sins, making even the most party-weary among us look put-together.

It's also an outward sign of inward health, meaning the best way to give your locks a boost during party season is by eating a nutrient-rich diet.

Here are a few key foods for strong and supple strands this season.

1. Carrots

Sporting unsightly flakes? Ditch the anti-dandruff shampoo and try eating carrots instead.

The potent power behind this veggie's orange hue is beta-carotene, a provitamin that is converted into vitamin A in the body.

This nutrient is vital for the production of sebum, the oily substance created by the sebaceous glands that acts like a natural conditioner, promoting a healthy and flake-free scalp.

2. Spinach

Popeye's favourite food doesn't just give you bulging muscles, it can also keep your hair looking salon-worthy. That's all thanks to its high iron content, which feeds the hair at follicle level (having low levels can be a major cause of hair loss).

As well as spinach, you could try packing more iron-rich red meat, fish, lentils and kale into your diet for a double dose.

3. Chicken

Rich, strong, glossy hair requires one key player: protein. Your hair shaft is made up largely of keratin, which is a special type of protein rich in sulphur.

The first sign you're not getting enough protein in your diet is damaged, tired and brittle hair.

Augment your intake with protein-rich foods such as chicken, turkey, fish and eggs.

If you're vegetarian or vegan, you can opt for alternative sources, such as legumes and nuts.

4. Salmon

Fatty acids in fish such as salmon help to promote hair growth, as well as adding shine and elasticity to hair.

The essential vitamin in salmon, omega-3, can prevent a dry and itchy scalp and can even help to reverse hair loss.

Since the body is unable to create omega-3 independently, we have to obtain these essential nutrients through foods.

If you're not a fan of fish, you could always try plant sources such as avocado, pumpkin seeds and walnuts.

5. Blueberries

Not just a tasty topping on porridge, blueberries are a pretty useful source of vitamin C, which helps build collagen to maintain hair strength.

This vital vitamin also plays a necessary role in absorbing iron which, as mentioned earlier, stops your hair from shedding into your shower and clogging up your plughole.

As experts say, your hair is a garden - the stronger the roots, the better the foliage.

Belfast Telegraph

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