It turns out your hair can actually tell you a lot about your health

Photo / Getty

Photo / Getty

If you struggle with a dry scalp, hair loss, or thinning, it speaks volumes about your overall health, a leading hair expert says.

Speaking to Daily Mail Australia, Perth trichologist Simone Lee said common hair and scalp issues can be due to hormone imbalance or dehydration.

"Appropriate consumption of water is essential for life - two-thirds of our skin tissues are made up of water.

"The human body loses approximately two litres of body fluids each day, which is replaced through consumption of water and other liquids".

Lee recommends drinking at least two litres of water a day to keep up moisture levels.

Another reason for dry skin can be zinc deficiency - combat this by upping your intake of foods like nuts, shellfish and legumes.

Hair grows around half an inch every month, but poor health or medical treatments like chemotherapy can disrupt this process.

Telogen Effluvium, or sudden and temporary hair shedding, is often caused by stress or trauma. Sudden diet changes and weight loss can also cause shedding, as well as other stressors like travel and exposure to ultraviolet light.

Increasing your iron intake can help reverse the effects of these, strengthening and regulating the hair growth cycle - think red meat, dark chocolate, fish and spinach.

There are several reasons why you might experience hair loss, Lee says, but hormonal imbalance is one of them.

Female pattern hair thinning, known as Androgenic Alopecia, can be treated with medication but you can also up your nutrient intake to strengthen and support your hair.

These nutrients include protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water - protein is especially important for producing the amino acids that make the hair protein keratin.

"Of these amino acids, lysine and methionine are classified as essential, meaning they are not formed by the body and must be made available through our diets," says Lee.

She recommends eating more lean meat and dairy products to boost keratin production.

Meanwhile, add some simple carbs like fruit and lentils and healthy fats in fish and some oils into your daily meals to help absorb vitamins - your hair will feel the difference.

This article was first published in 2019 on the NZ Herald and is republished here with permission.