Who doesn’t want strong, thick, shiny, bouncy hair? The state of our hair can be an indication of overall health. While emotional stress, genetics, medications and hormonal issues affect our hair, diet also influences hair health and appearance. Regular oiling or deep conditioning can improve the quality of your hair, but what you put into your body will make a greater difference. Thick, healthy hair is possible with foods rich in nutrients, such as protein, iron, omega-3, biotin, vitamins A, C and E. These are not only good for your hair but also for your overall health.
Here is a list of foods you should eat for strong, shiny, and healthy hair:
Spinach and other leafy green vegetables such as broccoli, lettuce and kale, are tremendous sources of vitamin A and iron. Vitamin A is essential for the production of sebum, a natural oil that conditions the hair and gives it shine and elasticity. Another important mineral for your hair is iron. When your body is running low on iron, oxygen and nutrients do not get transported to the hair roots and follicles adequately, which can inhibit growth and make your strands weak, resulting in hair loss.
Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene, which when consumed gets converted to vitamin A. Vitamin A protects against dry, dull hair and is needed by the body to make sebum. Sebum is an oily substance produced by the hair’s sebaceous glands and provides a natural conditioner for a healthy scalp. Without sebum, we may experience an itchy scalp and dry hair. Orange-colored fruits and vegetables are rich in beta-carotene, such as carrots, pumpkin, cantaloupe, mangoes etc.
Whole grains, such as barley, oatmeal, and brown rice are good sources of biotin along with iron, zinc, and B vitamins. Biotin is a water-soluble B vitamin. It is needed for cell proliferation and plays an important part in producing amino acids (protein) that are required for hair growth. Too little biotin can cause brittle hair and may lead to hair loss. Biotin rich foods include egg yolk, soya bean, cranberries, raspberries, yeast etc.
Lentils are a great source of iron and protein. Protein is the building block of hair. If you are not consuming enough protein in your diet, your hair is likely to become dry, brittle and weak. Extremely low protein diets may result in hair loss. Lentils are better known in India by their Hindi names such as moong, urad, masoor, and toor.
Eggs are packed with protein and biotin, a B vitamin. These two nutrients are extremely significant for the health and maintenance of your hair. Your hair is made up of protein; hence it is vital to ensure that you have sufficient protein in your diet, for making hair strong and healthy. Biotin is responsible for hair growth and increasing the volume of hair.
Although we often think of oranges as the best source of vitamin C, one guava packs four to five times as much. Vitamin C allows for better absorption of iron into the body. Moreover, vitamin C helps in the production of collagen that strengthens the capillaries that supply blood to the hair shaft, thus ensuring regular supply of nutrients and quick hair growth. Good sources of vitamin C include strawberries, sweet potatoes, broccoli, kiwi fruit, blueberries, oranges, and papaya.
Nuts, such as almonds and walnuts, are the among the best source of vitamin E. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that can absorb damaging UV light and protect skin cells. It also repairs sun damage on the scalp, which can cause hair to thin. Avocado, olive oil, sunflower oil and spinach are also good sources for vitamin E. Nuts, like walnuts, are also very rich in omegs-3 fatty acids, which nourish the hair and support thickening.
Fatty fish like salmon, trout and mackerel are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in the cells that line the scalp, and provide the oils that keep your scalp and hair hydrated. These oils help defeat dull, dry hair and scalp, and improve luster and shine. Plant sources of omega-3 include avocado, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds and walnuts.
Healthy hair, it begins within!