Who doesn’t want strong, thick, shiny hair? While age, genetics, hormones, medicines, and stress can affect your hair growth and appearance, diet also plays an important part.
Thick, strong hair is possible by eating a variety of healthy foods, which provide all the essential nutrients to your hair, such as vitamins, minerals, proteins, and fats.
Some of these essential nutrients and their vegetarian sources include:
Your hair is mostly made up of protein. Hence it is important that you include enough protein in your diet, for making hair strong and healthy.
If you don’t consume enough protein, your hair is likely to become dry, brittle, and weak. Protein deficiency can result in loss of hair colour, slow hair growth, and even hair loss.
What to eat: Dairy products (cheese, yoghurt), nuts (almonds, peanuts, pistachios), and seeds (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds).
Also beans, lentils (moong, urad, masoor, toor), soybean products (tofu, soy drinks), chickpeas, and oats.
Biotin, also known as Vitamin B7 or H plays an important part in producing amino acids (protein) that are required for hair growth. Biotin, therefore, helps strengthen hair, improve hair growth, and increase the volume of hair.
Too little biotin can cause dull, brittle hair and may lead to hair loss.
What to eat: Milk, cheese, whole grains (barley, oats, brown rice), wheat bran, raspberries, walnuts, avocados, and cauliflower.
Another important mineral for your hair is iron. Iron helps supply oxygen to your hair follicles and roots, which is essential for healthy hair growth.
Low levels of iron can, therefore, slow hair growth and make your strands weak, resulting in hair loss. Iron deficiency, which causes anaemia, is a major cause of hair loss. It’s especially common in women.
What to eat: Lentils, beans, chickpeas, tofu, nuts and seeds (cashews, almonds, pumpkin seeds), oats, and spinach.
Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron, a mineral necessary for hair growth.
Not only that, vitamin C also helps in the production of collagen, an important part of hair structure, necessary for strong, healthy hair.
Collagen strengthens the capillaries that supply blood (and oxygen) to the scalp and hair follicles. This promotes quick hair growth, strengthens hair, and prevents breakage.
What to eat: Fruits such as guavas, amla, blackcurrants, kiwi, lychee, strawberries, pineapples, papayas, and citrus fruits like lemons and oranges.
Vegetables like chilli peppers, bell peppers, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and kale.
Vitamin A is essential for healthy hair growth. It also protects against dry, dull hair.
Vitamin A is required for the production of sebum, a natural oil that moisturises the scalp and gives hair shine and elasticity. Without sebum, you may experience an itchy scalp and dry, brittle hair, that breaks off easily.
Vitamin A deficiency may, therefore, lead to hair loss.
What to eat: Fruits and vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, cantaloupe, apricots, and mangoes. Also dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, and kale.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that protects hair from pollution and sun damage, and prevents premature greying of hair. It helps repair damaged hair follicles and promotes the growth of healthy hair.
When applied directly to the hair, a vitamin E-rich hair oil can reduce split ends, and give hair more volume and shine.
What to eat: Nuts (almonds, peanuts), nut butter (peanut butter), sunflower seeds, wheat germ oil, safflower and sunflower oils, avocados, red peppers, and spinach.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Your body cannot make these healthy fats, so you have to get them from food.
Omega-3 fatty acids provide oils that moisturize the hair and scalp, prevent dryness and dandruff, and improve lustre and shine. They nourish hair strands, increase hair strength, and promote hair growth.
What to eat: Flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, soybeans, and canola oil (oily fish, like salmon, is the best source).
Other vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), and zinc, also help reduce hair loss and increase hair growth.
Eat the right amount of the above nutrients to supply hair with all that it needs to remain shiny, lustrous, and strong, and give you the hair you’ve always dreamed of.
Disclaimer: All material on Hidoc.co is provided for informational purposes only and should not be taken as a substitute for professional medical or health advice. Always seek the advice of your physician for any questions regarding your symptoms or medical condition and before taking any home remedies or supplements.