By Panchali Moitra
When it comes to healthy hair, shampoo and conditioner alone won’t give you the healthy hair you crave. For the most luxurious locks possible, you shall be required to step out of the shower, and focus more on what you put on your plate than on your tresses.
Our hair tends to grow about 1/4 to 1/2 inch every month, and the foundation of all of our new hair, skin, and nail growth is the nutrients we eat. If we eat a healthy and balanced diet, we will be able to grow stronger and healthier cells throughout our entire body — inside and out.
It is quite evident that if you were born with fine, thin hair, you’ll never have rope-thick locks — no matter what you eat — but a well-balanced diet that includes plenty of growth-promoting protein and iron can certainly make a difference and reduce your every day hair woes.
You are sure to find innumerable beauty supplements and dietary pills on the shelves of most stores to thicken hair or make it grow faster, but it is advisable to try to get the nutrients you need from foods whenever possible.
I have listed down the diet solutions for a few commonly encountered hair problems.
Follow the suggested dietary guidelines and you would be able to lay the foundation of a strong and healthy hair.
Hair Problem No-1- Dry Hair which breaks easily
If your hair is dry and breaks easily, it is probably a lack of essential fatty acids. Essential omega-3 fatty acids are needed to support scalp health and a deficiency can result in a dry scalp and thus hair, giving it a dull look.
By including plenty of good sources of essential fatty acids in your diet you can give your hair back its strength and lustre.
- You can find these essential fatty acids in oily fish such as tuna, sardines, trout, salmon, herrings and mackeral. Also in seeds, nuts, olives and avocados. You should try to eat four servings of oily fish a week.
- Sprinkling flaxseed oil and pumpkin seeds over your morning cereal is another great way to get these much needed essential fatty acids in your diet.
Another nutrient important for hair strength and growth is trace mineral silica. Silica is vital to the strength of hair, and can stop hair breakage. Unfortunately, food processing and chemical soil treatments strip our foods from the trace minerals. Hence, when possible, try to choose organic produce and whole foods over pre processed packaged foods. Foods that are rich in silica are rice, oats, lettuce, parsnips, asparagus, onion, strawberry, cabbage, cucumber, leek, sunflower seeds, celery, rhubarb, cauliflower and green, leafy vegetables.
Hair Problem No-2 – Greasy and limp hair:
A lack of vitamin B in ones diet can lead to oily, greasy hair. To fight off greasy hair, be sure to eat lots of whole grains, nuts, seeds, dairy products, eggs, wheat germ, legumes and green, leafy vegetables. These are all great sources of B-complex vitamins.
Also steer clear of oily and fried foods.
Hair Problem No-3- Premature greying of hair:
Although the link between premature greying and diet hasn’t been established, evidence does suggest the amino acid tyrosine – which acts as a precursor to color producing pigments in the hair and skin – can help!
Spinach, like broccoli and Swiss chard, is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, which our body needs to produce sebum. The oily substance, secreted by our hair follicles, is the body’s natural hair conditioner. Dark green vegetables also provide iron and calcium, the two most important nutrients needed for optimum hair health.
Hair Problem No-4- Hair that is starting to thin and fall out:
- Thinning hair or hair loss may be a sign of iron deficiency. Be sure to eat plenty of iron rich foods, such as red meat, eggs, legumes, wholegrain cereals, dried fruits and green, leafy vegetables.
- Since hair is composed mostly of protein, your hair will most likely respond well to the addition of high protein foods such as meats, eggs, cheese, seeds and nuts. These protein-rich foods can help reinforce the hair follicles and prevents the hair from falling out.
- There is some evidence suggesting soya protein helps stimulate growth, so switch to soy milk and include some tofu, miso and soy beans in your diet.
- Vitamin E is found in green, leafy vegetables, nuts and grains and can also help hair loss. Hair loss can also be a sign of thyroid dysfunction. To stimulate the thyroid gland, eat foods rich in iodine such as seafood and kelp.
- Also including iron and B vitamins in your diet will help. Stick to a diet rich in antioxidants – fruit, vegetables and tea – to help slow the ageing process in general.
Diet Solutions for Common Hair Problems
The top 5 foods which are basic to a healthy hair menu are-
Healthy Hair Food No. 1: Fish
When it comes to foods that pack a beauty punch, it’s hard to beat fish. Loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, this high-quality protein source is also filled with vitamin B-12 and iron.
If you are a Vegetarian, then include one or two tablespoons of ground flaxseed in your daily diet .
Healthy Hair Food No. 2: Beans
Yes, it’s true. Legumes like kidney beans and lentils should be an important part of your hair-care diet. Not only do they provide plentiful protein to promote hair growth, but ample iron, zinc, and biotin. Be sure to include three or more cups of lentils or beans each week.
Healthy Hair Food No. 3: Nuts
Nuts are one of nature’s best sources of selenium, an important mineral for the health of your scalp.
Walnuts contain alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid that may help condition your hair. They are also a terrific source of zinc, as are cashews, pecans, and almonds. A zinc deficiency can lead to hair shedding, so make sure nuts are a regular on your healthy hair menu.
Healthy Hair Food No. 4: Eggs
Without adequate protein or with low-quality protein, one can experience weak brittle hair, while a profound protein deficiency can even result in loss of hair color. Eggs also provide iron with a high degree of bioavailability, meaning your body can easily reap its benefits. They also contain biotin and vitamin B-12, which are important beauty nutrients. However, if you have a history of heart ailments, then switch to egg white instead of whole eggs. Vegetarians can opt for low fat dairy products and soybean for similar benefits.
Healthy Hair Food No. 5: Whole Grains
Sink your teeth into hearty whole grains, including whole-wheat bread and cereals like oat bran, sorghum(jowar), millets, nachni/ragi, for a hair-healthy dose of zinc, iron, and B vitamins.
Boost your hair health by including a well balanced diet with emphasis on foods high in vitamin B, C, E, A and K.Advertisements