It’s easy to get caught up looking in the mirror asking yourself, “What the heck is wrong with my hair?!” It happens. As women, we have this innate image of what our hair is supposed to look like, and that is rarely the case in reality. That usually leads us to hit the salon and spend countless amounts of hard-earned money on colorings, stylish cuts, or whatever product our favorite celebrity is promoting on Instagram.
While extensions are a great way to enhance your already-unique look, they need solid, strong roots to begin with, which depend on your physical health. Looking within and caring for your heart plays a major role in the health and look of your hair. Before you can worry about caring for your hair extensions or how to moisturize your hair, you have to start at the scalp and understand the effects of heart health on it.
How Hair Growth Works
As a little girl, you probably grew up with dreams of having hair that would make a Disney princess jealous: long, lush, and perfect. Soon enough, you probably realized that wasn’t all too likely. Between maintenance, time, or personal style preference, odds are you didn’t achieve the Rapunzel-level locks you once dreamed of.
Salon visits and conditioners aside, the length and thickness of your hair is determined by your hair follicles’ natural growth patterns. What affects these patterns is the flow of blood and the nutrient-rich oxygen it carries to your scalp. Hair loss, though, is normal; lots of people live with female pattern baldness, or its male counterpart, and many of us lose 50-100 strands daily. But, sudden, or more than usual loss can be a sign of heart disease because hair growth can be interrupted by irregular blood circulation. Seeing as the blood flow to all parts of your body is a product of your heart’s health, it’s obvious you need to prioritize your heart, and what better time than American Heart Month! A few different aspects go into having a healthy heart that promotes healthy hair growth…
At its core, a healthy diet is good for you. Having a well-rounded mix of proteins, starches, fruits and vegetables can help protect your body combat the onset of disease and strengthen your immune system, all while helping you feel better daily. While eating healthy is good as a rule, a few aspects reign king to the health of your hair…
Your hair follicles are comprised of over 80% of a protein called keratin. With a number that big, it’s important you’re fueling your body with enough protein to supply your hair follicles. The thing with hair and protein is if you aren’t consuming enough, your body will direct the nutrients to more vital areas, such as your muscles. Mixing in more eggs, meats, fish, and dairy are good starts to adding a little more protein to your diet. If you’re looking for an extra kick, try a keratin supplement to add an extra boost to your hair and nail strength. Just be sure to always consult a doctor before dipping into the vitamin supplement space.
Your blood is made up of different components, namely red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. The role of your RBC’s is to carry oxygen through your body. Within your RBC’s is a protein called hemoglobin which does the heavy oxygen lifting through your vessels and around your body. Low iron levels can make this transport stressful on your RBC’s and lead to symptoms ranging from tiredness to hair loss. Iron deficiency is especially common for women with heavy menstrual cycles due to the increased loss of blood. While dropping everything and leading an iron-driven diet isn’t necessarily the solution (too much is also harmful), it’s wise to incorporate a few iron-rich foods into your diet if you aren’t already to keep your levels close to standard.
By now you hopefully know the importance of a healthy diet. More so, cutting out unhealthy habits like fast food is key to feeling the full benefits of a healthy heart. Foods high in sugar, fats, and simple carbs are all directly linked to heart-related issues from high blood pressure, to cholesterol, and even heart attacks. The inclusion of fast food items in your diet can take the place of key nutrients for hair growth and also stall any progress you’re making in the other aspects of your journey toward a healthy heart.
Whether it’s caused by work, family trouble, or figuring out how to fix split ends, stress can plague you in more ways than one. Signs of stress can affect you physically as well as emotionally, and prey on anything from relationships to your well-being. An increased amount of stress in your life can lead to potential health issues like stress-eating, short temper, tiredness, and can even accelerate your hair’s graying pattern. With the added importance that these conditions can adversely affect your hair health, it’s necessary to find some stress-coping mechanisms that work for you, from yoga to extra sleep or exercise.
People who don’t exercise are twice as likely to get heart disease. Exercise can help you achieve a healthy weight for your body and age while also lowering bad cholesterol and high blood pressure which are both indicators of heart disease. Lower blood pressure means better nutrient flow through your body and, in turn, to your scalp and into that luscious hair of yours to strengthen your roots. Incorporating different exercise types can pay off over the long run. If you’re just getting started, though, 30 minutes a day of brisk walking is a good first step to get your oxygen-rich blood flowing through your body and up to your scalp to promote healthy hair growth.
Having great-looking hair doesn’t need to be an option. It’s a right you should be able to enjoy and practice regardless of the length or style your hair naturally is. With plenty of types of hair loss extensions available, there’s an option out there for everyone.
One thing we can agree on, though, is the importance your heart health plays on not only your general well-being, but the strength and health of your locks as well. Protecting your heart will help you lead a healthier, happier life, with the locks you deserve!