We all know the foods we eat play a role in how we feel, but they also play a role in how we look, too. When you aren’t getting the nutrients you need, the body will naturally shift focus to protecting other areas such as teeth and bones, before worrying about giving the leftover nutrients to external factors such as the skin or hair. Many people choose a vegetarian lifestyle for personal reasons such as not wanting to harm animals, for health reasons, or just as a preference for not eating meat in general. What effect does this have on your curls? Is being a vegetarian bad for your hair? Let’s take a closer look at this topic to put your mind at ease.
Is Being a Vegetarian Bad for Your Hair?
This is a loaded question because there are stories of those who switched to being a vegetarian and had serious hair issues after such as limp strands, and even hair loss. Don’t write off vegetarianism just yet! Being a vegetarian isn’t inherently bad for your hair, but you need to do your homework before committing to this or any type of diet. If you were eating a lot of lean protein and nutrient rich fish, and you suddenly switch to eating less nutritious greens without a full spectrum of options, your hair will definitely have more than a few issues. For example, eating a diet of only a few types of veggies or fruits without taking into consideration the overall needs of your body, and subsequently, your strands, will only lead to trouble.
It should also be noted that all vegetables and fruits are not necessarily created equal. For instance, if you only eat iceberg lettuce and tomatoes, you are missing out on options packed with more essential vitamins and nutrients such as spinach, kale, carrots, and other superfood options that are still vegetarian. Since you will be getting all of the necessary nutrients from a well-balanced diet, you can rest assured a vegetarian diet isn’t bad for your hair. In fact, according to an article on Munchies.com, Dr. Angela Eakin, a physician with a background in nutrition, talked about the absolutely false claim that a vegetarian or vegan diet was linked to hair loss and hair health concerns. According to Dr. Eakin, “”All the evidence suggests that a vegan diet is protective not only against hair loss, but all of the diseases that can actually kill an individual like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.”” Going meat-free is a healthy move, as long as you pay attention to your nutritional needs overall.
What Other Nutrients Does Hair Need?
When planning your vegetarian diet, you need to make sure you get variety in both food sources and the nutrients they provide. For example, your hair needs high levels of vitamins B, C, and D which can be found in various fruits and vegetables, as well as options loaded with healthy fatty acid complexes such as the healthy fats in avocados. In addition to this, you still need the main nutrients found in lean meats, chicken, and fish, even though they aren’t on your vegetarian menu. The main things to make sure you are incorporating into your diet are sources of iron, protein, and zinc. While these are easier to find in animal products and by-products, they can be found in more vegetarian-friendly options such as grains, legumes, lentils, and nuts.