When it comes to hair growth, nutrition plays a role that’s important but not exclusive. Most people can improve their hair growth through better nutrition, although genetics plays an important role in regulating a variety of observable hair traits like colour, length, and thickness. Lustrous, beautiful and healthy hair is a result of a healthy body and a healthy diet and any nutritional deficiencies can lead to problems like dryness, brittleness, dandruff and ultimately hair loss.
Regular intake of essential nutrients is beneficial in maintaining the health of hair. A balanced diet of protein, vitamins and minerals is the best way to get all the nutrients needed for a healthy body, skin and hair. Here are some of the nutrients you need to regularly consume:
OMEGA 3 FATS
Fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids have incredible beauty benefits, including glowing skin and shiny strands. They’re found in cell membranes on your scalp and in the natural oils that keep your scalp and hair hydrated. Omega-3 fatty acids are important fats our body cannot make itself, and therefore must be obtained through our diet.
Sources: Look out for oily fish such as salmon, herring, sardines, trout and mackerel and plant sources including avocado, pumpkin seeds and walnuts.
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.
Sources: Foods high in protein are soy, tofu, dairy products like milk, curd, paneer (cottage cheese), cheese, nuts, oilseeds, beans and pulses.
The sun can damage our hair just like it can damage our skin so ensure you eat foods rich in vitamin E to provide protection for your hair. Vitamin E is good for hair when taken internally and applied externally too! Nuts are nutritional powerhouses, providing zinc and selenium as well as vitamin E so try to include them as part of a balanced diet.
Sources: Add vitamin E to your diet by consuming foods like avocados, rice bran, nuts, dark green vegetables, legumes and whole grains.
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.
Sources: Natural Sources of zinc are legumes, mushrooms, non-fat dry milk, spinach, whole grains, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds.
Because our bodies make their own biotin in the intestines, and it is plentiful in many common foods, deficiency is very rare. But in those few cases in which people are very ill and don’t have use of their intestines, biotin deficiency causes hair loss. So yes, biotin is important for hair health, but it the best consumed in natural food forms.
Sources: Rich natural sources of biotin are eggs, peanuts, almonds, wheat bran, salmon, avocados, and low-fat cheese.
Vitamin C improves scalp circulation and thus encourages hair growth. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant so is used readily by the body. It helps in the production of collagen that strengthens the capillaries that supply the hair shafts.
Sources: 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.
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.
Sources: You can increase your iron intake by eating dark green vegetables, whole grains, garden cress seeds or by adding iron supplements under supervision.