According to the American Academy of Dermatology, a person’s hair grows an average of six inches per year. The secret to growing long hair is to start with healthy hair. Though hair is essentially dead protein, it’s a mirror of your general health. The better you take care of your body, the easier it is to grow long, healthy hair.
Feed Your Hair
Though eating a balanced diet won’t make your hair grow faster, it can give you the foundation for growing healthy hair that is stronger and less prone to damage. Dave Zinczenko and Matt Goulding, contributing authors for Men’s Health, put together a list of foods you should eat in order to grow healthy hair. Iron in the form of lean beef, soybeans and fortified cereal decreases the risk of thinning hair, a problem some women experience as they age. Foods rich in vitamin C, such as kiwi, red bell peppers and strawberries, promote iron absorption. Ground flaxseed and eggs are full of protein and vitamin B12, the building blocks of healthy hair. Other good-for-your-hair foods include brown rice, cottage cheese and salmon.
Give It a Break
Too much stress and not enough sleep can really do a number on your hair and cause it to look dull and lifeless. Ninety percent of hair is in the growing phase at any one time with 10 percent in the telogen, or resting, phase. As a result, it’s normal for you to lose some hair each day through regular washing and brushing. But in cases of extreme emotional or physical stress, more hair is forced into the telogen phase and falls out at an increased rate. A sudden and unexpected amount of hair loss is called telogen effluvium. This often temporary condition can result from stressors such as childbirth, chronic illness, job loss and divorce.
Show Some Love
To maintain the health and integrity of your hair, treat it with respect. Your hair puts up with a lot of daily abuse in the form of washing, brushing, styling and overuse of product. Reader’s Digest offers a few tips on how to have healthy hair. To condition hair naturally, mash together one ripe avocado and raw egg. Apply the mixture to your hair, and leave on for 20 minutes. To restore the natural pH balance of your hair, mix together one part apple cider vinegar and one part water. Massage onto your scalp, and then shampoo as usual. To prevent split ends, wrap your hair in a towel to absorb water instead of rubbing it dry. Use a blow-dryer until your hair is about 90 percent dry, and then let it dry naturally the rest of the way. During winter months when hair is prone to dryness, use a humidifier to add moisture to the air.
- girl with hair spray image by Dmitri MIkitenko from Fotolia.com