Having a bad hair day? Maybe it’s your diet. You wonder why even the best shampoos, conditioners, serums and hair masks can’t give your hair the shine or the incredible softness they promise. Have you considered you could be taking the wrong route to ravishing hair? You can put an end to split ends, dry, frizzy or thinning hair, just by eating right.
Foods for hair
According to Brian Thompson ( principal trichologist and director of product development at Philip Kingsley Trichological Centre in New York and London), “Hair is a fast growing tissue and it’s likely to make demands on your body. You need a mixture of protein, complex carbohydrates, and vitamins and minerals to boost it.”
Here are some valuable foods to add health to your hair:-
■ Proteins at every meal
Protein has amino acids, essential for the building of hair cells. Inadequate protein intake can cause hair loss and slow growth.
Source : Lean meats, fish, eggs, dairy products, soya, nuts, wholegrains, seeds.
■ Balance with carbohydrates
Carbohydrates help in the growth of body tissues, including hair. They are an important source of the B vitamins that are vital to healthy hair. Have a power-packed combo of proteins and complex carbohydrates.
SOURCE : Oats, brown rice, buckwheat, barley, wholewheat, bajra and jowar.
■ Store up on good fats
The body needs sufficient levels of good fats to maintain bouncy tresses and tackle dry, coarse hair and even dandruff in some cases.
SOURCE: Oily fish, seeds, nuts and olive, rapeseed or sunflower oils.
■Vitamins and minerals
Vitamin- A and beta carotene ensure production of healthy sebum in the scalp to keep it moisturized. It may help to boost your intake if you suffer from dandruff.
SOURCE : Fish, meat, milk, cheese, eggs, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, apricots, mangoes, peaches.
■ Vit C maintains hair health. Helps prevent split ends.
SOURCE :Amla, guava, citrus fruits, strawberries, pineapple, tomatoes, capsicum, and leafy greens.
■ Vit E enhances scalp circulation and brings life to dry hair.
SOURCE” Olive oil, soybeans, raw seeds/nuts, dried beans, leafy, green vegetables.
■ Biotin is essential for healthy hair, skin and nails. Helps produce keratin which may prevent greying. Niacin helps in the production of melanin which gives hair its color.
SOURCE : Wholegrain, egg yolks, liver, rice, dairy.
■ The B complex brigade of Niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6) and B12, prevent hair loss and greying.
SOURCE : Wholegrains, egg yolk, organ meats, fish, chicken, lean meat.
■ Iron helps transport oxygen to the hair. Oxygen-starved hair is weak at the root and along the length and can cause hair loss or hair breakage.
SOURCE : Add dark green, leafy vegetables, beans, dried fruits (dates, raisins,apricots), eggs, bajra, watermelon to your diet. Combine with Vitamin C-rich food to optimise iron absorption.
■ Zinc is involved in cell production, tissue growth, repair and the maintenance of the scalp’s oil-secreting glands. This moisturises dry hair and tackles dandruff too.
SOURCE : Shell fish, nuts, pumpkin seeds, legumes, and wholegrains.
TOP TIP : Protein from sprouted pulses is more easily bio-available to the body, so sprout them whenever possible. Have fruit or vegetable juices to increase your anti-oxidant intake.
Hydrate and exercise
Every hair strand is made of almost ¼ water. It is the moisture content that contributes to the suppleness of your hair. Pamper your hair by drinking 1.5 to 2 litres of water daily to stave off dryness and the subsequent problem of split ends. Regular exercise boosts blood supply to all cells, essential to regenerate and repair hair. Even a 30-minute exercise regime, 3 times a week is enough.
Anti-Nutrients Tea, coffee and alcohol are powerful stimulants that initiate the stress response, increasing the excretion of water and important nutrients from the body. They also hinder the absorption of nutrients from food. Restrict tea or coffee to 1 cup a day. Substitute the rest with water, herbal teas and fruit/vegetable juices. If you notice a change in your hair after you took supplements, consult your doctor. Be patient, it will take at least 3 months of healthy eating to rebalance your body and achieve dark, shiny, lustrous hair and renewed hair growth.
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