A lot of people think that you can increase your hair's vitality by what you eat – and they are correct. However, a lot of people are wrong to assume that you need to consume a lot of protein, and specifically animal protein, to have healthy hair. For example, some people recommend those with fine hair consume a lot of eggs. Nothing could be further from the truth!
Here's a personal example. My mother and I both have fine, thin, straight hair. She has eaten meat all her life, while I am a strict vegetarian (vegan). No matter that our diets differ, we both have similar quality hair. Of course part of this is genetic. But also, this is because we both get a well-balanced diet (mine just doesn't contain any animal products).
To increase the vitality of your hair through diet, you need to include the following on a regular basis:
A wide array of fruits and vegetables, preferably raw or cooked low-heat
A good selection of protein from several sources including: soy protein/flour, plant protein (like whole grains and rice) and brewers yeast.
I also recommend a high-quality multivitamin. In particular look for multivitamins with biotin and folic acid. These are the amino acids required for hair growth.
Knox Gelatin sells packets and capsules of ground-up gelatin and markets it as a supplement to strengthen hair, skin, and nails. Before I became vegetarian my mother and I tried consuming these packets and capsules – along with eating tons of Jello -- for a period of four months. Neither of us saw a bit of difference in our hair, skin, or nails. Perhaps it takes longer to work but I doubt it. Besides, the thought of eating ground up animal bones (that's what gelatin is) just isn't appealing.
Are You Vegetarian/Vegan?
You might have encountered good-natured people who tell you that eating meat will increase the diameter or quantity of your hair. And I'm sure you know this just isn't true. I can believe you get all the nutrients you need through a well-balanced diet. However, if you are thinking of adding anything to your routine in an effort to help your hair, skin, or nails, I'd recommend the following supplements:
Flaxseed (oil form or ground up) – add to a variety of dishes, this provides omega 3 fatty acids typically found in seafood.
Nutritional Yeast – add to dishes, tastes kind of like mild powdered cheese. Make sure you buy the nutritional kind, not the kind for baking bread or from the brewing process.
People who are not vegetarian/vegan will benefit from adding any of the above-mentioned into their diets, too.
Yes, diet does play a role in the health and vitality of your hair. However, eating too much animal protein won't thicken fine hair – but probably will thicken your arteries! So, be healthy and get your protein from plant sources. Don't be fooled by well-meaning, but uninformed people when it comes to having great health and fabulous hair!
Holly Houff considers herself a champion for women "cursed" with straight, fine, thin, limp hair - and tirelessly works in the pursuit of happy hair days! She reviews fine hair products and techniques at her website, http://www.finehairsecrets.com