Straight, silky and shiny or curly, wavy and bouncy—whichever way you like to wear your hair, the basics of healthy hair remain the same. The four must things that are required are: nutritious food, adequate rest, plenty of water and managing your emotions [read stress] well. Hair loss can occur due to a lack of one or more of the above.
Here we’ll focus on how the right nutrition can do wonders for your hair.
Going on a weight loss diet? Don’t forget your locks
If you’re going on a weight loss diet, it will most likely involve the exclusion of carbohydrates. Such harsh restrictions create a lot of stress to your system, and also damage the hair follicles, hampering hair growth.
Include 5 – 6 servings of fruits and vegetables per day to maintain a healthy intake of carbs. To ensure that this does not interfere with your weight loss goals, go for fruits and vegetables that are low in fructose and starch and high in fibre. Whole grains and cereal are a complex form of carbohydrate providing nutrition for the hair. Say no to refined products and table sugar.
Is there enough protein on your plate?
Proteins are the building blocks of your hair [and all the cells in your body]. It not only enhances hair growth but also maintains good lustre.
If you’re an egg lover, gorge on the scrambled eggs, omelettes or boiled eggs. Weight watchers should avoid eating egg yolks everyday, consume it only twice a week. You can include it as a breakfast option or for dinners in the form of bhurji with roti or boiled egg white salad and soup. Eggs provide essential amino acid required for healthy hair.
If you are a vegetarian then paneer paratha or paneer wraps make for good hair healthy breakfast option.
In sea food, salmon is best source of protein for hair.
These fats won’t make you fat
Don’t restrict yourself from consuming the recommended allowances of good unsaturated fat. Fats help in the absorption of vitamins A, D, E and K which are necessary for hair growth.
Walnuts and almonds are good for hair health. Have 4 – 6 nuts as a pre-lunch or pre-dinner snack.
Note that eggs also provide unsaturated fats and essential fatty acids required for your hair.
Will drinking lots of water help?
Only water will not help. But it is required to absorb biotin, a hair-friendly vitamin. So a diet rich in biotin and lots of water will surely help.
Drink 10 – 12 glasses of water per day and also include fresh fruit juices, vegetable juices or soups in your diet. Carrots, cucumbers, spinach, lettuce, cauliflower, eggs, strawberries and goji berries are all rich in biotin. So have lots of these.
Vitamins and minerals, though termed as micronutrients, play a key role in keeping your hair healthy. Without these micronutrients all the efforts taken for hair care would amount to nothing. Consumption of foods rich in B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, iron, and zinc promote the growth of hair.
Low levels of zinc weaken the hair follicles causing the strands to break. Low haemoglobin level caused by a deficiency of iron is directly associated with weakening of hair follicles.
Spinach is a good source of calcium, iron and B-complex vitamins. You can consume it in the form of vegetables, soups, or parathas. You can even use spinach as a base for making gravies and pasta sauces.
Raisins and dates are abundant in minerals and vitamins. Add them to your porridge and smoothies.
Practise a daily exercise routine and ensure you get eight hours of sound sleep as this shall reduce physical stress to your system. Remember stress stops the hair growth or slows it down.
Stop worrying and adopt good coping abilities to handle your emotional stress as it can be detrimental to healthy hair growth.
Green elixer for shining tresses
Spinach leaves: 7 – 10 washed
Lettuce leaves: 5 – 6 washed
Cucumber: 1 peeled and diced
Corriander leaves: few sprigs
Rock salt: to taste
Juice the spinach, lettuce, coriander and cucumber in a juicer. You could also grind it to a pulp in a grinder and pass it through a sieve. Add some water and dilute it to the consistency of juice. Squeeze some lemon juice to this and add a pinch of rock salt for flavour.
Have this magic potion everyday and you will notice the difference in your hair heath within a month.
A century of losses
We all lose some hair daily and hair loss of about 100 strands per day is considered normal. If your hair has started shedding more than it used to, don’t wait till you think you’re losing more than 100 hair per day. That number is just a rough estimate, considering that our hair grows and falls in cycles. But if you notice more hair on your pillow, comb or bathroom drain than before, seek the advice of an expert. Hair loss usually happens gradually. Take action before it’s too late.
This was first published in the September 2013 issue of Complete Wellbeing.
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