Ever wondered what’s the secret to getting fabulous, sleek locks that will make anyone envious? It’s time to ditch the expensive conditioners and hair products, because your eating habits and lifestyle could very much be the reason behind dry, lacklustre hair!
Much like the rest of our body, our crowning glories too require proper nourishment to keep them thick and healthy. So what should we eat to keep hair shiny and strong? Here’s a handy guide to get you started:
Hair is made out of a tough protein called keratin, hence, having sufficient protein in your diet should be a top priority if you wish to achieve healthy hair! Eggs are not only a good protein source; it is also rich in biotin, a vitamin B essential for a healthy scalp and to encourage hair growth. Nina DiBona, RD, dietitian and nutritionist, remarks that a deficiency in biotin may result in brittle hair, and in worst-case scenarios, hair loss. But don’t panic –our bodies produces biotin in the intestines, and biotin can be easily found in an assortment of other common foods such as bananas and cauliflower. How eggs-citing!
Lentils are usually a brilliant source of protein for vegetarians, but consuming more lentils in general can help encourage healthy hair growth! Lentils also contain biotin and are high in iron and folic acid, which are essential for healthy hair. Iron and folic acid improve oxygen circulation to the scalp and hair follicles – in short, faster cell regeneration and stronger hair.
Here’s another good reason to back up your cravings for salmon sashimi – salmon is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which can only be obtained through our diet, as they cannot be synthesised by the body. These fatty acids are a crucial component in the cells that line the layer of the scalp that contains keratin and has water-holding capabilities, helping to keep hair healthy and hydrated. A tell-tale sign that you’re lacking of Omega-3 fatty acids is when your hair is lacklustre, and your scalp dry. Other oily fish like mackerel and sardines are good options; while for vegetarians, flaxseeds are a good alternative.
4. Sweet Potatoes & Carrots
Although we usually associate Vitamin A with improved vision, this vitamin also lends a hand in keeping our hair healthy and shiny. This is because vitamin A produces sebum for the scalp, a natural conditioning substance. A deficit of vitamin A leads to dry, flaky skin, which may lead to dandruff and dry hair. One way to get our vitamin A fix is from foods rich in beta-carotene, such as sweet potatoes and carrots. Beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A in the body, which nourishes the scalp and keeps hair well-conditioned and sleek.
When it comes to healthy hair, go nuts for all sorts of nuts! Walnuts are a popular choice as it contains biotin, which strengthens hair and encourages hair growth. Walnuts are also rich in vitamin E, which is required to restore damaged locks and prevent breakage, as well as Omega-3 fatty acids to rejuvenate hair.
Spinach is a green, leafy powerhouse – it contains all the good stuff for the making of a great mane. Spinach is rich in iron, calcium, magnesium and vitamins B, C and E. One of the B vitamins found in spinach, folate, helps the synthesis of red blood cells, while iron helps the blood cells carry oxygen to the hair follicles in the scalp. The vitamin E too helps prevents brittle hair. Chow down on spinach for sleek, sexy hair!
7. Black Sesame
According to the Compendium of Materia Medica, the largest and most comprehensive medical writings in the history of Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), black sesame seeds are able to ‘reverse grey hair after 2 years’. Black sesame seeds have the highest content of vitamin E of foods from plant origins. Consumption is encouraged for those seeking to improve hair growth and prevent premature greying. However, an excessive intake of black sesame seeds will have an adverse effect, so do take in moderation.
8. Bell Peppers
Sweet and a colourful addition to any dish, bell peppers are valued for their vitamin C content, which is able to enhance and stimulate hair growth. Vitamin C also plays a role in the synthesis of collagen, which surrounds the hair strands and keeps them strong. Boost collagen by having more vitamin C instead of taking collagen supplements, as collagen itself will still be broken down into amino acids as it is a protein. The amino acids from the collagen will be pooled together for use by the whole body, and will not necessarily be channelled to the body’s production of collagen. Citrus fruits, tomatoes and dark leafy greens are more good sources of vitamin C!
Do keep in mind that other factors do come into play when it comes to having healthy hair, such as hormonal issues, stress, and other environmental elements.