Healthy, happy hair

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A diet rich in protein, good fats and minerals aid hair growth and upkeep

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Which of us do not like healthy, shining hair? But to raise looks of envy for your tresses, you need to look after your hair not just by applying expensive shampoos or through expensive saloon treatments, but also by improving your daily diet. A balanced diet for healthy hair is important as the cells and processes that support strong vibrant hair depend on a nutritious diet. Deficiencies in diet can take a little while to show in the vibrancy of your hair than it does in your skin, but nevertheless hair becomes weak with an unhealthy or unbalanced diet.

Here are some tips to ensure that your hair is healthy and happy.

1.   Proteins

Hair is about 97% protein and without an intake of enough protein, your body can’t replace the hair that you naturally shed every day. Proteins are important, as the lack of them can make hair lacklustre and dry, weak and brittle. Try adding protein rich foods like skinless chicken, fish, turkey, lentils, beans, nuts and dairy to your daily diet.

2.   Omega-3

About 3% of your hair is made of fatty oils. Omega-3 oils are found in cell membranes in the skin of your scalp, and in the natural oils that keep your scalp and hair hydrated.

Good sources of Omega-3 are fish like salmon, herring, sardines, trout and mackerel, as well as vegetarian options such as avocado, pumpkin seeds and walnuts.

3.   Iron

Iron is especially important, because it helps cells carry oxygen to the hair follicles, and too little iron (anaemia) is a major cause of hair loss and prevention of growth. Red meat, nuts, dried apricots, spinach and other dark green leafy vegetables are a good source of iron.4.  

4. Vitamin C

Vitamin C is critical for circulation to the scalp and supports the tiny blood vessels that feed the hair follicles. It helps in the production of collagen that strengthens the blood capillaries that supply blood to the hair shafts. Too little vitamin C in your diet can lead to hair breakage. It also aids the absorption of iron so foods high in vitamin C are good to eat in combination with iron-rich foods. The best sources are blackcurrants, blueberries, broccoli, guava, kiwi fruit, oranges, papaya, strawberries and sweet potatoes.

5.   Vitamin A

Vitamin A is needed by the body to make sebum, an oily substance created by sebaceous glands in our hair that works as a natural conditioner for a healthy scalp. It helps protect and produce the oils that sustain your scalp, and being low on vitamin A can leave you with itchy, dry skin or dandruff. Sweet potatoes, carrots, mangoes, pumpkin, and apricots are all good sources of beta-carotene which your body turns into vitamin A.

6. Vitamin E

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 helps improve scalp circulation, prevents hair loss and split ends, nourishes the scalp and repairs damage to hair. Vitamin E is found in wheat germ, wheat germ oil, muesli, olive oil, sunflower oil, nuts and seeds.

7. Folic Acid

Folic acid is essential in restoring red blood cells that supply the skin and scalp with much-needed oxygen. Folic acid is also essential for hair growth and cell renewal. Lentils, beans, asparagus, spinach are excellent sources of folic acid. Make sure to have plenty of lentils in your meals.

8.   Zinc

A zinc deficiency can lead to hair falling. Zinc in your diet helps to combat premature greying of hair, and is also needed for protein synthesis and growth. Beef, mussels, eggs and oysters are rich sources of zinc and are helpful in improving the appearance of hair. Pecan nuts, almonds and cashews are also a good source of zinc.

9.    Biotin

Biotin helps to activate certain enzymes that aid in metabolism of carbon dioxide as well as protein, fats and carbohydrates. A deficiency in biotin intake can cause brittle hair and can lead to hair loss. Good sources of biotin are cereal-grain products, liver, egg yolk, soy flour, and yeast.

10. Selenium

Selenium is important for the healthy hair scalp. Brazil nuts, seafood and organ meats are the best sources.

 

So with a healthy dose of protein, healthy fats and minerals to your diet, look forward to great-looking hair.