Hair is made up of 85% protein known as keratin. This is essential for cell division, growth and repair and is described as the building blocks for hair. The amino acids that are formed from keratin form links, like a chain that make up the structure and help to keep the hair strong. The amino acid composition in foods is an important factor in deciding whether a first- or second-class protein should be consumed and with what frequency they are taken.
- First class protein examples that store in the muscles easily: eggs, fish, dairy products and meats.
- Second class protein examples, that are required every 2-4 hours: whole grains, pulses, soy, nuts.
One of the first things I would advise a patient with broken or damaged hair is to monitor their protein and for meat eaters to eat two portions (sample meal plan) of animal protein a day.
For vegetarians, plant-based protein should be taken up to five times a day to continue to provide enough energy to benefit the hair. Check out our sample meal plan for vegetarians and vegans.