Lustrous, beautiful and healthy hair is a result of a healthy body and a healthy diet. Any nutritional deficiencies can lead to problems like dryness, brittleness, dandruff and ultimately hair loss.
On the other end, there are certain foods that make your hair healthy and strong. Hair like other tissue is largely made up of protein. HealthMeUp expert, Mickey Mehta, India’s leading Holistic Health Guru says foods rich in this nutrient should form an important part of the diet.
Eating right, exercising, reducing stress and getting plenty of sleep, will help you maximise your hair growth potential. Also, incorporating healthy foods in your day-to-day diet will lead to a difference in hair. Mickey Mehta sheds light on the best health foods you need for healthy hair.
Around 55-60% of your daily calories should come from carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are an essential source of energy and help in the growth of body tissues, hair. So, it is important to consume more of complex carbohydrates like vegetables, fruits, whole grains and brown rice rather than simple sugars and white flours. Carbohydrate rich foods are good source of B complex vitamins that are vital to healthy hair.
Protein is the building block of hair, so a diet for healthy hair should make up at least 20% of your daily calories. Protein provides strength to the shaft of the hair and reduces chances of hair fall by snapping and splitting. Inadequate protein intake over a lengthy period can cause major hair fall, which will affect its texture and quality.
Foods high in protein are soy, tofu, dairy products like milk, curd, paneer, cheese, nuts, oilseeds, beans and pulses.
Essential fatty acids
Along with a proper diet healthy hair needs essential fatty acids, which aids dry and brittle hair and improves the texture. Essential fatty acids from vegetable oils, whole grains, legumes, fresh nuts and oil seeds, spirulina, flaxseed oil and pumpkin seeds. Roughly 15 – 20% of your daily calories should come from these sources.
Vitamin A is essential for hair growth and a healthy scalp. Beta-carotene is found in green and yellow vegetables and fruits, sweet potatoes, broccoli, apricots.
Vitamin E increases oxygen uptake and improves circulation, thereby improving hair health and growth. Add E to your diet by consuming foods like avocados, rice bran, nuts, dark green vegetables, legumes and whole grains.
This lesser known vitamin helps to maintain healthy hair. Food sources of Vitamin K include dairy foods, figs, asparagus, broccoli, lettuce, brussel sprouts, cabbage, dark green leafy vegetables, oatmeal, rye, soybeans, wheat and yogurt.
To ensure that your hair is healthy and does not split include foods rich in the different B vitamins. These include whole grains, beans, lentils, plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, especially citrus fruits and tomatoes. Biotin deficiency has been linked to hair loss. Foods high in biotin are brown rice, cracked wheat, green peas, lentils, oats, soybeans, sunflower seeds and walnuts. Deficiency of B complex vitamins can lead to greasy hair, dandruff, poor hair growth and grey hair.
Vitamin C is important for good circulation, hair growth and hair colour. If you have enough vitamin C you will have strong, supple strands of hair that do not split. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant that promotes cell and tissue repair and enhances the immune system. Good sources of vitamin C are all citrus fruits like oranges, lime, lemon, berries, vegetables like brussel sprouts, cucumbers, tomato, cauliflower, green leafy vegetables and red peppers.
Helps to carry oxygen to the hair. Without enough iron, hair and its follicles are starved of oxygen. This means that the goodness in the root of your hair is much less effective along the length of the strand. You can increase your iron intake by eating dark green vegetables, whole grains, garden cress seeds or by adding iron supplements under supervision.
Banana is the best source for potassium, which is important in nutrient transfer through cell membranes an
Magnesium is an important mineral for hair growth. Include foods like whole grains, green leafy vegetables, dairy products, fruits, nuts and pulses.
Zinc builds hair protein and thus plays a vital role in maintaining good hair condition. Zinc stimulates hair growth by improving immunity. Its deficiency often results in poor hair growth and considerable hair loss. Natural Sources of zinc are legumes, mushrooms, non-fat dry milk, spinach, whole grains, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds.
Water makes up one-fourth of the weight of a strand of hair. Moisture makes the hair supple, so make sure you get plenty of fluids. Water is a medium that helps to eliminate all toxins, chemical wastes and other pollutants from the body. Water not only hydrates our bodies, but also keeps our hair silky and shiny. Ideally, you should drink between eight and ten glasses of water a day.
Hair fall and baldness is increasingly becoming a problem for most people who love to eat junk food, follow an unhealthy eating pattern and have a stressed lifestyle. Hair fall can also be caused by anxiety, insomnia, hair abuse or excessive use of chemicals like bleaching treatments, perming and colouring.
Sugar is highly acidic, destroys B vitamins and decreasing minerals, leading to unhealthy hair. Soft drinks, snacks like the fried, overcooked junk snacks, caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine have detrimental effects on the nutrients that enhance hair growth.
Stress, tension, some medications and poor dietary habits are known to retard hair growth.
1. Along with a healthy hair diet it is important that you exercise properly as it will ensure that there is proper blood flow to your scalp and will help in the growth of hair.
2. Treat your hair delicately. Avoid unnecessary brushing, combing or handling. Use a soft, round bristles brush.
3. Have a weekly scalp massage to provide stimulation to the hair follicles.
4. Have regular trims to eliminate split ends and allow the hair to look and feel healthier.
5. Get plenty of rest and sleep to allow your body to grow hair.
Healthy hair food plan
Follow the diet plan given below as a starting point for healthy and lustrous hair:
-Skim milk / Soy milk
-Whole grain bread or toast or poha or breakfast cereal or sprout
-Bowl of fresh fruit
-Fresh vegetable juice like carrot or cucumber juice
-Handful of nuts like walnuts, soaked almonds, raisins, dates
Healthy hair food plan
-Fresh veg. soup or salad
-Whole-wheat flour or jowar or bajra chapatti
-Dals or whole pulses
-Curd / Tofu
-1 glass skim milk
-Kurmura or roasted channa or popcorn
Fresh veggies and fruit juice (carrot, apple, lemon, dudhi, palak)
-Fresh veggie soup or salad with sprouts
-Fruit like watermelon or banana
-Use natural substitutes like fruits, dates, figs or honey instead of sugar.
-Fruits like berries, grapes, apples and cherries have useful enzymes that can add value to your hair health.