Introduction We all want healthy hair. Hair health depends on the number of factors. Some of them are age, heredity and hormone level in the body. Likewise, nutrition is another factor that decides hair health. Age and genetics are out of our control. However, diet is one factor which is in our hands. Unhealthy diet and nutritional deficiencies can cause hair fall and hair related problems. Foods that we eat in our daily diet have a major role in deciding thickness or our hair. Foods that are rich in nutrients can prevent premature greying, hair fall and loss of shine from the hair. On the other hand, consuming the wrong foods while suffering from hair related problems can make the condition worse. We need to follow a balanced diet to keep our hair healthy and shiny.
The top 10 foods for healthy hair-Include these foods in the daily diet plan to keep hair healthy and strong.
Hair growth requires a daily supply of an adequate amount of nutrients to the body. Deficiencies in these vital nutrients are the main cause of excessive hair fall. Nuts are rich sources of many nutrients. Moreover, nuts can be consumed in a variety of ways. Adding them to a daily diet is easy and not much of a task. Almond is one of the healthiest nuts as it is a rich source of vitamin E and B, along with essential fatty acids and zinc. These nutrients help in hair growth. Vitamin E is the nutrient that is essential to keep hair full of lustre. It also increases hair thickness. Almond can be eaten raw, roasted, soaked and peeled. Add it to smoothies, fruit salad or else eat a tablespoon of almond butter to fulfil body's vitamin E requirement. On the other hand, walnuts are rich sources of alpha-linolenic acid and linolenic acid. These are polyunsaturated essential fatty acids. In case of their deficiencies, it may lead to excessive hair loss from the scalp as well as from eyebrows.
Seeds not only promote physical health but also are good for hair health. They are full of nutrients such as vitamin E, selenium and zinc which are essential for hair growth. Seeds such as sunflower seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds are all good for hair health. Chia seeds and flaxseeds are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients nourish the hair and make them thick. Sunflower seeds are rich sources of vitamin E and B. Consume wide varieties of seeds by adding them to the daily diet to ensure the daily nutritional requirement of the body is fulfilled. These seeds can be eaten as snacks in between meals. They also supply essential fats to the hair.
Eggs are rich sources of biotin essential for hair growth. Biotin keeps the scalp healthy. Biotin deficiency makes hair brittle. Eggs also contain vitamin D required to keep hair shiny and strong. It also helps in creating new hair follicles. Consequently, it helps in making hair thick. Protein is required to increase muscle mass in the body. It is also essential for good hair health. Eggs are considered as one of the best sources of protein. Moreover, hair is made up of protein. Thus, we must fulfil the daily protein requirement of the body to prevent hair loss and other hair related problems.
Dark green vegetables are rich sources of vitamins A and C. Both of these nutrients aid in the sebum production important for hair health. It is a natural hair conditioner that keeps the scalp well moisturized. It can be considered as a scalp oil. Dark green vegetables such as spinach, kale, broccoli, Swiss chard keep hair healthy. Spinach is one of the best green leafy vegetables that need to be added to the daily diet plan as it rich sources of iron, vitamin A, vitamin C, beta carotene and folate. All of these nutrients strengthen hair and keep it healthy and well moisturized. It also helps in sebum production. Iron present in spinach is essential for hair growth. Iron deficiency in the body is associated with hair fall.
Oily fishes are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids which is essential to keep hair thick and shiny. In the deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids, the scalp turns dry, and hair fall takes place. Moreover, omega-3 fatty acids are essential to keep the scalp healthy, and free from inflammation which prevents hair fall. Seafood such as mackerel, salmon, sardines, and oysters are rich sources of healthy fats. Omega-3 cannot be produced in the body. However, we need them to keep our bodies healthy and disease-free. We need them to keep our hair healthy, shiny and thick. Thus, we need to provide these healthy fats to our body by eating foods that are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids or by taking supplements.
Yoghurt is rich in protein and is good for hair health. Protein promotes new hair growth. Those who regularly apply yoghurt on hair remains free from dandruff and other hair problems. After a few applications, one can see the remarkable shine in hair. Protein deficiency retards hair growth as the body starts saving the nutrient to support vital organs. Consequently, hair does not grow well in its deficiency. Yoghurt and other sources which are rich in protein need to be added to the daily diet plan. An adequate supply of protein to the body will make sure hair grows well and remains healthy.
Pulses such as peas, chickpeas, beans and lentils are rich sources of plant-based protein. Also, they contain fibre. Legumes such as lentils and beans are rich in iron and protein content which is required for hair maintenance. Deficiency of iron is one of the top reasons for hair loss. Regularly consuming pulses by including them in daily diet helps to fulfil the daily requirement of protein and iron in the body. Lentils contain folic acid which is essential for RBC production which in turn helps in the adequate supply of oxygen-rich blood throughout the body and to the scalp. Beans are rich in protein and zinc. Protein aids hair growth. Zinc helps in hair growth as well as in the repair cycle. Pulses are relatively inexpensive when compared to non-vegetarian sources of protein. Also, as they are highly versatile, they can be easily added to the daily diet plan.
Vitamin C deficiency in the body hinders adequate iron absorption. Iron is essential for hair health. Iron deficiency can result in hair loss. Thus, we need to add vitamin C rich citrus fruits in our daily diet plan. Lime, oranges, kiwi, mango, strawberries are good sources of vitamin C. Also, vitamin C is essential for collagen production which makes capillaries. These capillaries connect hair shafts and make sure the nutrients reach them in an adequate amount. The better the nutrition, the quicker will be the growth of hair. A freshly prepared glass of orange juice or lime juice not only refreshes body but also prevents hair related problems.
Whole grains are rich sources of biotin, vitamin B, zinc and iron. Biotin present in whole grains aid amino acid production which is required for hair growth. Eating whole-grain cereals in breakfast is the best way to satisfy hunger and begin the day. Whole grain pasta is another good option to satisfy hunger healthily. Whole grain pasta is rich in fibre content. We need to purchase whole-grain wheat flour as it is rich in protein and fibre. Whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, and oats all are good for scalp and hair health. These whole grains contain complex carbohydrates in them. Consequently, there is no sudden spike in blood glucose levels. The high amount of vitamins B6, B12, niacin, pantothenic acid and folic acid present in them stimulate the hair follicle. Consequently, hair becomes thick, strong, shiny and healthy. Oats are rich sources of fibre, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc and PUFAs. All these nutrients make hair healthy.
Fruits such as mangoes, kiwis, strawberries, bananas, avocados are all good for hair health. Mangoes, strawberries, and kiwis are rich sources of vitamin C which ensure adequate absorption of iron and prevent thinning of hair. Eating these fruits daily is a delicious way to make sure that hair receives its essential nutrients in an adequate amount which keeps hair healthy and strong. Avocados are rich in vitamin E. This nutrient improves blood flow and aids hair follicles to promote the growth of hair. Also, it helps in the maintenance of oil and pH level balance and prevents the risk of clogging follicles. If hair follicles get clogged, it can prevent hair growth. Vegetables such as sweet potatoes, bell peppers, carrots, tomatoes are all good for hair and scalp health. Sweet potatoes are rich in beta carotene. It then converts into vitamin A in the body. This nutrient nourishes hair and scalp. It prevents dandruff and hair from becoming brittle and dry. Carrots accelerate hair growth and aid the scalp to produce sebum oil which keeps hair shiny and well moisturized.
Keeping hair healthy requires a multi-pronged strategy. In addition to the nourishing food, one has to take care of the hair in many ways. I would like to supplement this article with that information. Some of the tested ways to keep the hair healthy are as follows -
1. Avoid wetting the hair frequently as that can start breaking the hair.
2. Use a mild pre-shampoo to reduce the friction in the main shampoo round.
3. Do not use shampoos having high chemical ingredients. Better use the Ayurvedic ones.
4. Use the conditioners but rinse them within a few minutes.
5. Avoid heating your hair for hairstyles. It is no good.
6. Do not rub the hair violently with a towel or napkin. Just keep them softly on the head so that they absorb the water. Let hair get dry slowly.
7. If there is dandruff problem then wash the hair thoroughly with anti-dandruff shampoo once a week.
8. Do not use chemical shining and glaring agents as they will harm the hair in the long run.
The health of our hair can certainly be improved with the intake of nutrients. We may add Amla-powder to the list provided by the author as our regular consumption, the dose being half teaspoon twice daily in the empty stomach to derive its maximum benefits in relation to maintenance of lustrous and long hair apart from its huge benefits in strengthening the vision.
While the healthy foods and nutrients are essential for healthy hair, we should avoid the use of such shampoos laden with chemicals which could damage both hair and its follicles. Instead, Ritha and Shikakai applied on the scalp in as powder and washed within 45 minutes would go a long way in providing nutrients to hair if followed twice a week.