Having a mane of healthy and shiny hair is everybody's dream. But, given our busy schedules and eating pattern, we do not give our tresses the care they deserve, until it is too late and hair starts falling out at alarming rates. So, what can we do to reverse the damage? Eat right!
Each strand of hair is attached to our scalp by the hair follicle. Hair goes through three stages during their growth cycle, namely, the growth phase, transitional phase, and the resting phase. The growth phase lasts for approximately 1000 days, after which the follicle rests for 100 days, which is followed by shedding, and then new hair grows out in its place. So, it is essential to understand that some amount of hair fall is normal. But, when there is some factor such as stress or illness, a large number of follicles are prematurely pushed to the shedding phase while there is no new hair to replace it yet. That is when hair fall becomes a problem.
Fortunately, this problem can be efficiently fought with the right diet. To eat right for our hair, we must first know what our hair is made up of. The primary component of hair is keratin (a protein), apart from amino acids, raw elements, and water. Eating foods rich in protein, vitamins A and D give the body the amino acids necessary for it to make keratin. This means the food that we eat every day can provide the right nutrients and boost hair growth and thickness. Let us see how.
Eating for Healthy Hair:
Here, we have a list of foods that promote hair health in different ways.
Protein: Considering hair is 91 % protein, a diet lacking in protein can completely stop hair growth causing weak hair that easily breaks. Foods rich in protein include eggs, chicken, cottage cheese (paneer) and chickpeas.
Omega 3: It is the scalp's natural lubricant and can prevent and even reverse hair fall. Since it is not produced by the body, it is essential to include it in our diet. Sardines and salmon are a rich source, but fish is not the only source of omega-3. The vegetarian sources include chia seeds, flax seeds, walnuts, almonds, and canola oil.
Iron: Iron carries oxygen and nutrients to the hair bulb. So, with insufficient iron, your hair does not get the nutrients it requires, making it thin and lack-luster. Some iron-rich foods you can take are red meat, spinach, broccoli, lentils and cashew nuts.
Vitamin C: Vitamin C not only helps with the iron absorption but also helps in producing collagen for the blood vessels that supply oxygen to your hair, in turn, making your hair strong and healthy. Fruits such as lemon, orange, pineapple, and kiwi are abundant in this vitamin.
Vitamin A: Vitamin A helps make sebum, which is a natural conditioner. A deficiency in vitamin A can cause our hair to become very dry and the scalp to get flaky. Orange-colored foods such as papaya, carrot, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotene which promote healthy hair. In fact, drinking a glass of carrot juice is the simplest way to excellent hair growth.
Selenium: Adding selenium to your diet along with another important mineral, namely, Zinc, acts as an antioxidant and slows down the process of thinning of hair due to aging and also fights a fungus that is responsible for dandruff. You can benefit from the selenium content in sunflower seeds, white button mushrooms, and oats.
Biotin: Biotin is a B vitamin that activates the amino acids to make keratin, and so, is vital in strengthening your hair. Some dietary sources of Biotin are cooked egg yolk, cauliflower, almonds, and whole grains.
Vitamin D: In recent years, vitamin D has been linked to hair growth by the formation of new hair follicles. You can get your required amounts from seafood, cod liver oil, egg yolk, cheese, kidney bean (rajma), lentils (dal), and fortified orange juice.
Vitamin E: Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps in tissue building and repair. Apart from applying a hair oil containing vitamin E to your scalp, you can also benefit from including it in your diet. Good sources include avocado, spinach, broccoli, plant seed oil (sunflower oil, wheat germ oil, and olive oil), and nuts (peanuts, almonds, and hazelnut).
In short, if you want a healthy head of hair, all you have to do is mix up a variety of foods that include vitamins, minerals, and proteins. It does not matter if you are vegetarian, non-vegetarian or vegan; nutrition is the key. So, start eating your way to good, healthy hair.
For more information consult a hair fall specialist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/dermatologist/hair-fall
Last reviewed at:
30 Aug 2019 - 4 min read
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