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The saying ‘Beauty comes from the inside out’ is true, literally: how good you look on the outside is a reflection of how healthy you are and how well your body is functioning. Hair is mostly made up of keratin, the same tough protein in your nails, which is produced by the body in the presence of a combination of vitamins and minerals in your food intake.

Sounds complicated but we’ll start with the foundation and most important one of all – protein. Luckily for us, protein is found in many types of food such as beans, fish, eggs, low-fat dairy products, meat and nuts. In fact, experts have shown that you’ll need to consume more protein as you age to help with bone density, maintenance of muscles and, of course, hair health.

Now that you know how to get strong and healthy hair, how do you maintain it?

In an ideal universe, your locks would take care of itself. Sebaceous glands in the scalp produce sebum, which is the naturally occurring oil that moisturizes and acts as a conditioner. But most of the time, sebum is seen as ‘greasy’ and people tend to wash their hair too often, stripping the scalp of its oils.

Keeping the scalp in optimal condition requires a combination of vitamin A, B, C, E, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc and iron. Dark green leafy vegetables such as kale and broccoli contain not only the vitamins necessary for the production of sebum but also iron to prevent hair loss. You can find vitamins and antioxidants in fresh fruits as well, in particular vitamin C that boosts collagen production. To get your dose of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E, look for oily fishes like cod and salmon to keep your scalp moisturized.

Last but not least, drink lots of water! It’s absolutely necessary that you remain hydrated not just for good hair but to make sure you are always in tip-top condition.

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