We’ve all seen the commercials: Women strut about in slow motion, swinging their perfect, full-bodied, shiny hair–hair that falls magically into place when the swinging stops. Is it possible to get such glorious tresses from a bottle, or is there more to the story?

While you might want to achieve luscious locks, your body’s first priority is to be healthy, so your hair can suffer when you are fighting an illness. Be sure to keep your immune system strong with a variety of antioxidants from colourful fruits and vegetables. Take a daily multivitamin as part of your health-assurance policy.

Healthy Hair Basics

Remember that hair is essentially protein, so be sure that you’re getting an adequate supply. Look to legumes like beans, peas, lentils, and fermented soybean products for nutrient-rich vegetarian protein sources, along with moderate amounts of meat and fish.

Because your hairs’ cuticles are rich in silicon, be sure to include dietary silicon in your diet to provide elasticity and strength to hair; good sources include cabbage, cauliflower, celery, leeks, onions, and rhubarb. Supplemental silicon is also available as orthosilic acid, which is more easily absorbed in the digestive tract than either silica or silicon dioxide.

To prevent your hair from becoming dry and brittle, ensure that you are getting enough essential fatty acids (EFAs) from fish, borage, and flaxseed oils, as well as adequate vitamin E. Excessively oily hair can also be a symptom of an EFA deficiency. Try 1,000 mg EPA and DHA from fish oils twice daily or up to 3,000 IU of borage oil.

Hair Raising Tales

Hair can tell us plenty about what is going on inside our bodies. Hair loss, for example, could accompany thyroid problems or might indicate a hormone imbalance in either gender. Any woman who is experiencing hair loss should consult a health care practitioner. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, linked premature greying of hair to osteopenia (thinning of the bones). People under the age of 40 who are going grey might be wise to have a bone density scan. Greying hair has been shown to be a potential indicator of B12 anemia and thyroid imbalances.

Avoiding Chemicals

While there is a plethora of products on the market that promise you slow-motion, gorgeous hair, it’s important to consider what chemicals are found in these formulas and how they can affect your health. Parabens and phthalates, used in many beauty and hair-care products, have been linked to cancer and reproductive-system damage. Visit your health products store to find hair-care products that don’t contain these toxic chemicals.

Try these hair-care tips, and you’ll soon have to start moving in slow motion!

Luxurious Locks Made Easy

Before getting into the shower, slather about a tablespoon of organic, cold-pressed olive oil onto your hair. Pop on a shower cap, and wrap your head in a towel for at least 15 minutes. Shampoo as usual.

About the Author

Lisa Petty, RHN, RNCP is a registered nutritional consultant and author of Living Beauty: Feel Great, Look Fabulous & Live Well. (Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2005). livingbeauty.ca