Long luscious hair, for many people, is the crowning glory on one’s head. For a good number of people, great genes play a key role in beautiful hair, but for many, it is a question of putting in effort to grow it. It is not a surprise that many people therefore put in a lot of work to grow long shiny hair.
One of the ways in which you can enhance this is by the foods that you eat. A healthy diet plays an integral role in the proper and healthy growth of hair. To understand this correlation, it helps to look at the structural makeup of hair. Each hair strand is made up of cells that are rich in keratin
Keratin is a tough protein that is responsible for hair’s tensile strength. For the right amount of keratin and proper development of the hair strand, it is vital that the hair and scalp gets adequate vitamins and minerals for strong hair. With this in mind, below are the foods you must eat for healthy hair growth.
NOTE: 1. This is a general guide, and must not be used to treat any medical conditions. Additionally, do not take any of the food listed below if you have an allergy against respective types of foods.
2. While it is great to invest in worthwhile hair products, it is extremely important to ensure that you eat healthily as diet is one of the key pillars for healthy hair.
Why it is recommended: Eggs are excellent sources of protein, which is precisely why they are good for the hair. As mentioned above, keratin is one of the main proteins that make up hair. A constant supply of proteins allows the hair strands to develop well, leading to healthy and strong hair.
In addition to proteins, eggs also have a high concentration of a compound known as biotin. Biotin falls under the Vitamin B family, and is essential for a healthy scalp and hair growth at the cell level. Include eggs in your diet for healthy hair growth. The best thing about using eggs is that they may also be applied topically on the hair with the same excellent results.
2. Spinach as Well as Green Leafy Vegetables:
Why it is recommended: Spinach and green leafy veggies make for a healthy addition to one’s diet. Not only are they a rich source of fiber, they are also laden with vitamins and a number of minerals, all of which are required for healthy hair growth.
Some of these nutrients include potassium, magnesium and iron while the vitamins include B, C and E. Spinach is also packed with iron which is required for the optimal function of the red blood cells. The red blood cells are tasked with transporting the said nutrients to the hair follicles, at which point the hair and scalp are nourished.
3. Sweet Potatoes:
Why it is recommended: Sweet potatoes are rich in a nutrient known as beta-carotene. When absorbed by the body, the beta-carotene is converted to Vitamin A. The presence of Vitamin A in the body prevents the scalp from drying out while maintaining your hair’s health. A dry scalp is prone to itching, which often leads to dandruff. To prevent this and promote a healthy scalp, find ways to incorporate more beta-carotene in your diet.
Why it is recommended: Salmon is one of the richest sources of omega-3-fatty acids. The fats are great for hair as they have anti-inflammatory properties which counter inflammation and irritation on the scalp. In addition to this, omega-3 is required for the synthesis of healthy hair follicles. So important is this set of fatty acids that a deficiency leads to dry brittle hair and increases scalp itchiness. Other great substitutes for salmon include sardines, herring and trout. Non-fish sources of the same include pumpkin seeds, avocado and walnuts.
5. Citrus Fruits:
Why it is recommended: Get your daily dose of citrus fruits to boost the amount of Vitamin C in the body. This is very important because Vitamin C is required for iron absorption in the body. As mentioned above, iron is necessary for healthy hair growth because it transports nutrients for the development of hair follicles.
The other reason why Vitamin C is important for hair is that the vitamin is used in the synthesis if collagen. Collagen is a type of protein found in blood vessels. In adequate amounts of the Vitamin C, the collagen forms strong blood vessels that connect to the hair shafts and allow nutrient and oxygen supply. Great options in this category include oranges, limes, tangerines and lemons.
Why it is recommended: Carrots have long been linked to great eyesight, but did you know that carrots are also recommended for healthy hair growth? That’s right. These crunchy vegetables are packed with Vitamin A goodness.
A deficiency of this vitamin often leads to dry dull-looking hair. Additionally, the presence of Vitamin A helps maintain your hair’s natural oils resulting in conditioned, well moisturized hair. Munch on these low-calories carrots or steam them away for a healthy meal and hair growth.
Why it is recommended: Oysters have one of the highest concentrations of Zinc, an important element in the body. Zinc works as an antioxidant which helps reduce damage to the hair and scalp following exposure to free radicals.
This maintains the hair’s integrity while at the same time allowing proper functioning of the oil glands. In extreme cases, low concentration of zinc in the body leads to hair loss.
Why it is recommended: Avocado is a delicious fruit loved in many parts of the world, thanks to the presence of good fats. The inclusion of the word ‘good’ means that not all fats are bad for the body. Avocado contains the good fats whose functions include maintaining a healthy scalp and giving hair its shiny glossy appearance.
What’s more, avocado helps maintain optimal levels of oil production on the scalp while ensuring pH levels remain balanced. Just like eggs, avocados can be eaten or applied topically during hair washing routines.
TIP: Mash a ripe avocado, mix it with a teaspoon of lemon juice and a dash of black pepper and enjoy on a slice of whole wheat toast. This hair-loving snack is a simple way to indulge healthily while promoting hair growth.
Why it is recommended: Treat yourself to the nutty goodness of almonds that are extremely rich in biotin. In fact, just a cup of almonds provides more than 33% of the recommended intake of biotin! Add almonds to your diet for healthy hair.
Regular intake of the almonds, depending on your hair type and diet changes, could show a significant improvement in your hair’s conditions about 10 weeks later. It helps to keep a handful of almonds nearby for healthy snacking.
10. Whole Grains:
Why it is recommended: Whole grains are good for you because they have more fiber and are packed with zinc, iron and Vitamin B. Biotin, as mentioned above, is necessary for hair cell division. Biotin is also important for the production of proteins which make up the molecular structure of hair. Opt for whole grains to eat your way to healthy hair.
Alongside these foods, there are certain food groups that must be avoided if you would love your hair to grow healthily. These include refined carbohydrates, sugars and fizzy drinks. Refined carbohydrates have the key nutrients stripped off during manufacturing, resulting in low nutritional value.
Sugars on the other hand, actually have no nutritional value and often deplete nutrients in the body. Fizzy drinks have the same effect. Regular intake of these food groups slow down the growth of hair and counter the effects of the recommended foods above. In case you have any doubts, check with your dietician to work out a personalized menu.