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Everything you need to know about the gut-hair connection
YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT!
Picture this: you’ve been committed to your hair care routine for a few months now. You’re using all the right serums and masks to keep your hair in-check, yet despite your best efforts, your hair always seems a little… dull. There’s a chance that your hair’s health is off because of what you’re putting into your body rather than what you’re putting in your hair and it all comes down to your gut. Here, we break down the connection between fabulous hair and a fabulous gut and how to ensure your strands, and consequently your gut, are as healthy and thriving as they can be.
YOUR HAIR AND GUT
Your gut microbiome impacts nearly every hormone in your body, including oestrogen, thyroid hormones and melatonin and can regulate the hormones that control the transition between the three phases of hair growth: anagen (regeneration/growth), catagen (degeneration), and telogen (rest).
An imbalance of these hormones & the types of gut bacteria that make up your gut microbiome can trigger an inflammatory immune response. How does this affect your hair? Hormones imbalances are triggered by inflammation (affecting your hair growth phases) and cause scalp inflammation (causing hair loss and dull strands).
KEEP YOUR GUT HAPPY FOR BETTER HAIR
They say you are what you eat. Turns out, that’s actually how you support a healthy gut and healthy hair. Certain foods ‘feed’ beneficial bacteria, allowing them to thrive. These are things like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, which are full of fibre. If you want to have good hair, making the necessary dietary and lifestyle changes will not just help your hair but your entire body. Below are our top five foods to consume for a healthy hair and gut relationship, and they’re all packed full of the good stuff (duh!):
1. Oily Fish
Fish like salmon and tuna are packed with omega 3 fats which feed good bacteria and reduce inflammation. Omega 3 fats are also key for hair repair, moisture content and overall strand flexibility.
Full of fibre for nourishing good gut bacteria and high in vitamin E, avocados are your best friend. Avocados are rich in antioxidants, biotin, minerals, essential fatty acids as well as vitamins A & B-5 — All of which help prevent breakage and improve your hair’s shine.
READ MORE: Find out more about the benefits of Avocados for your hair here.
Tomatoes contain important Vitamins like A, B, C and E which are excellent stimulants for healthy hair. These vitamins help prevent hair loss, give natural shine and help treat scalp odour and dandruff. Eating about 4 to 5 tomatoes a day ensures you have great hair health and shiny tresses to show off but simply adding tomatoes to your meals will have you on your way to healthier hair in no time!
4. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate that is at least 70% cocoa is rich in flavanols which feed beneficial gut bacteria and reduce inflammation. The antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and nutrients found in dark chocolate benefit your hair like nothing else. Apart from improving the volume of your hair, simply eating dark chocolate also helps improve the overall health and appearance of your mane.
Legumes like lentils, beans, peas, soy beans, peanuts and mung beans are powerhouses packed with nutrients that can support your overall wellness as well as your hair. They’re full of gut-friendly fibre and are high in zinc, supporting hair’s healing and integrity. They also contain important vitamins and amino acids that are important for hair health.