What you eat feeds your hair. The hair root, from where hair grows, needs a constant supply of nutrients to multiply into healthy hair. Lack of iron, minerals, biotin and proteins is a major cause of unhealthy hair. Before you learn what is good for hair, it is important to know what to avoid in order to have a healthy mane.
Specific Foods For Specific Hair Disorders:
Pattern Hair Loss:This is one of the most common types of hair loss. Research reveals that consuming soy products can reduce hair loss and thinning of hair. When the body breaks down isoflavones from soy products, one of the resulting compounds is equol. It blocks DHT, a form of testosterone linked with hair loss and baldness. Take 30-40 gm of soy per day. This can be in the form of soy flour mixed with wheat flour in a 1:1 ratio. Non-flavored soy milk or soy snacks are a good alternative.
Hair Loss Due To Low Iron Levels:This is a leading cause of hair loss especially among women. Vegetarian diets that are not supplemented or balanced with iron and protein, coupled with long periods of fasting, deplete iron levels further. Pump up iron with:
- Garden cress seeds – 2 tbsp, soaked overnight with lime water.
- Eggs – 3 a week.
- Organ meat like liver and kidney – 50 to 75 gm/week.
- Jaggery instead of sugar – 2 to 3 tsp/day.
- Black raisins – 5 to 6 every day, soaked in water for 10 to 15 min.
- Legumes – 2 small bowls per day.
- Wholegrain bread/tortillas/chapatis.
Diet alone is not sufficient to raise iron levels, as some people can’t fully absorb the iron they eat.
Scaly Scalp (dandruff, seborrhoeic dermatitis or psoriasis):If the flakes on your shoulders aren’t snow, you probably have one of the above three conditions. Flaking is not only embarrassing but can lead to hair loss. A diet rich in Omega 3 – flax seeds, walnuts and fish – can reduce scaling.
Diet Tips For Hair:Poor nutrition will leave hair feeling brittle and under nourished. A healthy diet will help your hair to stay strong and glossy.
Essential Fatty Acids:Salmon, mackerel, tuna and other oily fish are high in Omega 3 fatty acids, which play an important role in strengthening skin, nails and hair. Other good sources include nuts – especially walnuts and almonds – and flax seed oil.
Folic Acid And B Vitamins:In particular, Vitamins B6 and B12 are thought to be of importance to the condition of your hair. Luckily they are key players in a normal healthy diet, being found in fresh fruit and vegetables. Folic acid is found in beneficial quantities in wholegrain and fortified grain products such as bread, and bananas, spinach and potatoes. As vegetarians and vegans can suffer from deficiencies in the major sources of Vitamin B12, which is found in meat, poultry and dairy products, you may wish to consult a nutritionist about supplements.
Protein:Eating fish, chicken, lean meat, eggs and soy products are critical for protein intake, which has a direct effect on the health of your hair.
Trace Minerals:If you are unsure whether your diet is rich in trace minerals, such as magnesium and zinc, you may wish to consider a daily mineral supplement. Severe deficiencies in magnesium and zinc can lead to coarse, dry and brittle hair. If your hair doesn’t suffer from these conditions, you probably have an adequately mineral-rich diet.
Hair Care:In addition to eating healthy and identifying medical reasons for hair loss, following a correct haircare regimen is important. Wrong procedures often lead to severe hair damage.
- Do not wash your hair with soap or detergents. Use a pH balanced shampoo.
- Wash your hair at least twice a week with warm rather than hot water.
- Allow hair to air dry naturally or lightly dry with a towel. Hair dryers give off too much heat and strip hair of moisture. If you must use a hair dryer, adjust it to low heat and keep it six inches from your scalp.
- Never brush dripping wet hair as it is more elastic at that time and can break. Untangle your hair with your fingers before combing it.
- Massage hair regularly with warm coconut/olive oil.
- Massage hair in a circular motion, starting at the forehead, move to the sides, and work over the crown to the nape of the neck. Continue till the entire scalp and upper neck have been massaged. Treat hair to this massage at least once a week.
- Avoid curlers, straightening and perming procedures, colors and highlights and ironing procedures as much as possible.