Not all of us are blessed with long hair and due to manageability reasons, not all of us like long hair. Whether straight or curly, long or short, there’s one thing we all want – strong hair. Absolutely no one likes to see their hair fall out on its own or when touched by a comb. So how do we improve our hair health?
Yes, without a shred of doubt, our genetic material has a big say in the type and quality of hair on our head. Equally true however, no hair, no matter how good to begin with, can last long without proper care and nourishment.
Many shampoos being sold today, display a picture of some fruit or other natural food on the label. Do these foods really help improve our hair health? We decided to do some research and began by asking a few questions like:
- What kind of nourishment strengthens hair?
- Are there any specific nutrients that help promote strong hair?
- If we had positive answers to the above two questions, then, what specific foods contain these nutrients?
It took me quite a bit of research to come up with the answers and more importantly, a list of 5 nutrients that contribute to stronger hair.
First, some basics:
Hair is mostly made up of cells stacked one on top of another and these cells are made up of a protein called Keratin. As each new cell is added at the root, the one on top gets pushed upwards and that is how hair grows. To foster growth, apart from protein, our hair needs essential fatty acids, vitamin A, certain B vitamins, biotin, and vitamin C, copper, iron, zinc and water. So here is a list of foods that contain one or more of these nutrients in sizeable quantities.
5 Nutrients that help you improve your hair health
- Foods rich in Vitamin A: Cabbage, Spinach, Carrots, Broccoli and Apricots are all excellent sources of Vitamin A. Ensuring our plate is one-third leafy vegetables is a good way to do it.
- Vitamin B-complex: The B-complex group strengthens the bond between cells in the hair thereby preventing it from breaking. Additionally, the B-complex group also promotes circulation in the scalp and prevents premature greying of hair. So we can strengthen our hair by adding the B-complex group (B3, B5, B6 and B12) to our diet. The best sources are whole germ cereals, seeds and green leafy vegetables.
- Biotin: Biotin is an important catalyst required in the production of Keratin. Add brown rice, whole grains, yeast and nuts to our diet.
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C is an essential antioxidant without which, our body cannot absorb iron. Together it helps maintain the capillaries in the scalp and ensures a rich luxurious hair growth. Add vegetables, citrus fruits, strawberries, pineapple, beetroot and tomatoes to the diet.
- Vitamin E: It is another catalyst required in the production of Keratin. Ideal sources of Vitamin E are wheat germ, vegetable and sesame oil, whole grains and almonds.
We can further improve our hair health by adding mushrooms to our diet. Mushrooms contain copper and it is responsible for the rich, dark colour of the hair. Leafy vegetables and brown rice contains Zinc. Zinc will prevent hair loss. Finally, don’t forget water – we need to consume several glasses of pure water (not beer or soda) a day.
My research suggests that it is our diet more than the shampoo that will determine the quality of hair on our head. Switching over to a healthy diet would be the surest way to improve our hair health.
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