Possible deficiency: fatty acids
If you notice that you’ve got flakes raining down after you scratch your head, you automatically think dandruff. But it may also be because you’re not getting enough healthful fatty acids in your diet. “Essential fatty acids, like omega-3s, are a lubricant for our body,” explains dietitian Staci Small. Without it, you’ll go dry. Make sure to eat two fish meals per week to get in omega-3s, she says. Other fatty acids, like alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), are also important. Find these in walnuts and flaxseeds.
Thin, brittle hair
Possible deficiency: B vitamins
You hear all about how important the B vitamin biotin is for strong, healthy hair, and that’s true. However, running low on folate (also called folic acid) may also cause thin, brittle strands, says Small. Folate is often found in enriched grains like bread and cereal. Even one cup of white rice is an excellent source. But if you’ve been cutting out carbohydrates because you’re aiming to lose weight, you may be missing out without careful planning. Grains aren’t a must, though. A cup of raw spinach is a good source, says Small; a cup of cooked asparagus will give you 60 per cent of your daily quota.
A greying part
Possible deficiency: copper
If your part is looking unexpectedly silver lately, check your copper intake. “Copper plays a role in melanin production, which is what gives hair its colour,” says dietitian, Olivia Wagner. Consider getting your copper levels tested if your hair is going grey quickly or surprisingly early (like in your 20s without a family history). Organ meats, seafood, nuts and seeds as well as dark leafy greens are all go-to sources, says the Australian Dietary Guidelines.