Longing for luscious glossy tresses? Look no further than your fridge! That’s right, the answer to your hair woes could lie in the kitchen.
On average, your hair grows half an inch or 1.25cm a month and the foundation of all of our new hair, skin and nail growth is the nutrients we eat. If you bake a cake from mediocre ingredients, it’s never going to be a taste sensation. In the same way, your hair is never going to be its exquisite best if you’re not feeding your body the right nutrition.
Not just a delicious winter warmer, soup is also a great way to pack in an abundance of hair-healthy ingredients. We’ve rounded up the best foods to include in your recipes, for the healthy hair you’ve always dreamed of.
Vitamin A is the vitamin your body needs in order to make sebum, the body’s natural oils that moisturise the scalp and hair, so it’s a crucial ingredient for nourished locks. When it comes to vitamin A, think orange. Vegetables that are orange or yellow are high in beta-carotene which makes vitamin A.
So, reach for squashes like butternut or pumpkin as your base for your soup. Simply cut in half and roast before scooping the flesh out with a spoon and adding the broth of your choice.
Wherever he went, Popeye had his trusty can of spinach, the source of his might and rich in iron. Iron’s a critical mineral for hair: too little iron is associated with anaemia and hair loss. Red meat, chicken and fish provide iron, but if you’re veggie or vegan, spinach, kale, broccoli, leafy greens and lentils are great sources.
Kale crisps make a great guilt-free snack and are also the perfect crunchy topping for soup. Simply toss some kale with a little olive oil, a pinch of salt and some black onion seeds. Spread the mix on a baking tray and bake at a low heat (150C) for 20 minutes, turning everything once in the middle.
Essential fatty acids found in Omega 3 are fats which our bodies don’t make on their own, but are important to hair health. Including them in our diet is therefore crucial if we want great hair. Oily fish is the famous source, but avocados, pumpkin and flax seeds, and walnuts are just a few great sources of Omega 3. Toast a handful of pumpkin seeds in a dry pan and top your soup with them to ensure your omega 3’s up to speed.
Epic achievements come from great partnerships like Bonnie and Clyde, tea and biscuits, coffee and cake… vitamin C and iron. Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron better, so it’s a good idea to eat foods rich in vitamin C and iron in the same meal. Sweet potatoes are a great source of Vitamin C and work really well with iron-rich lentils or spinach in soup.
Hair is made of protein, so a high protein diet = healthy hair. It’s that simple. A diet lacking in protein will cause your hair to become weak, brittle and dry. Taken to an extreme, your hair could go on strike, with growth slowing to a crawl and even hair loss. Protein, and our need for it, is no joke. Meats including fish and poultry, dairy products, eggs, legumes (the peas and beans) and nuts are all good sources.
Try topping butternut squash soup with a crumbling of blue cheese and toasted walnuts. Or add cannelloni, kidney beans and greens of all kinds to a broth. Scramble an egg in a bowl and drip it into simmering broth a little at a time and voila – egg drop soup.
Everyone knows toast, whether triangles, soldiers or squares, is the perfect accompaniment to a bowl of soup. You might not know, though, that toast (especially seeded and wholegrain) can help achieve your hair health goals. Fortified cereals and whole grains, the backbone of a good loaf of bread, contain zinc which is important for scalp health. Serious zinc deficiency is associated with hair loss, too. Who said carbs were bad?