Diet plays an important role in keeping the skin and hair healthy. The foods people intake has an impact on the growth, strength, and volume of their hair. Hair grows from the roots so the key to healthy hair growth lies in improving the health of the scalp and hair follicles.
Below mentioned are some nutrients which are crucial for hair health in many ways.
VITAMIN A- This vitamin plays a vital role in proper cell growth. It helps in producing sebum (oil in the scalp), which keeps hair from drying out and
breaking. Although too much vitamin A can cause toxicity and can
actually result in hair loss.
SOURCES- Cod liver Oil, Carrots, Spinach, Peaches, Spinach.
VITAMIN E- This vitamin is a powerful antioxidant that repairs and builds tissue and is essential for healthy hair growth. On applying Vitamin E to the scalp, inflammation reduces, blood circulation increases, oxygen supply gets boosted up and damaged hair follicles get repaired. It’s important to remember to discontinue the use of vitamin E prior to any type of surgery due to its blood-thinning properties.
SOURCES- Almonds, Avocado, Broccoli, Pumpkin, Peanut Butter.
VITAMIN C- Besides boosting our immunity and protecting us against
frequent colds and other infections, this vitamin plays a vital role in
strengthening the hair. The reason is that vitamin C helps the body create
and produce collagen (a vital protein for healthy hair, skin, and nails).
Moreover, it is considered an antioxidant that fights free radicals that damage body tissue.
SOURCES- Oranges, Red Bell Pepper, Strawberries, Lemon.
VITAMIN D- Low levels of vitamin D are linked to alopecia(a technical term
for hair loss). Researches have also shown that this vitamin may also help
create new follicles (tiny pores in the scalp where new hair can grow) and
helps in hair production.
SOURCES- Salmon, Eel, Maitake Mushroom, Portabella Mushroom, Sunrays.
A single strand of hair is made up of protein fiber (keratin) which means that it requires an adequate dose of protein to grow. Deficiency of protein will lead the body to ration the quantity available by cutting off the supply to the hair follicles which might make hair dry and brittle. Every cell requires protein for life; they are needed for tissue repair and for the construction of new tissue.
Also, lack of proteins may cause a large number of strands to enter the resting phase at the same time which would turn hair loss more evident. Protein treatments are a popular option these days for addressing a number of hair problems, especially hair loss. They generally work by coating the outside of the hair follicles and strands with proteins to harden them and protect them from breakage and further damage.
Amino Acids- Amino acids are the organic compounds composed of Nitrogen, Carbon, Oxygen & Hydrogen. Amino Acids are classified into 2 Categories Essential and Nonessential. Our body needs about 20 different types of Amino Acids. Amino acids help build protein chains and play a supporting role in almost every part of your body. A balanced diet can help ensure that you get a healthy intake of essential and nonessential amino acids throughout your day. Without an adequate intake of amino acids, your body will not be able to produce proteins in your body as effectively, and in some cases the proteins in muscle and tissues will start to weaken or degrade.
They are the building blocks of proteins both plants and animals. However, there are eight essential amino acids that the body does not produce and must be derived from the diet. When we eat protein it breaks down into amino acids, which are then used in different body functions.
Essential Amino Acids- Our body can’t produce them. They must be taken by food or supplements.
Non Essential Amino Acids- Our body produce them throughout the day.
Amino Acids & Athletics
Amino acids plays a vital role in athletics. Here is how amino acids helps athletics to push them beyond there levels :
- Decrease muscle recovery time
- Increase body pain tolerance level
- Boosts Immune system
- Enhances Metabolism
- Increase Antioxidants level in the body
- Support blood flow to improve endurance
SOURCES- Cheese, Milk, Soy, Lentils, Green Peas, Yogurt, Eggs, Meat, Fish.
Within our bodies, we have two kinds of iron- Serum iron and Ferritin. It’s ferritin that plays a part in the strength and health of our hair follicles. A lack of this can not only cause general hair fall but also changes in the condition or structure of hair, increased dryness, loss of volume, loss of natural color, and shine. What fuels the body is also needed to boost hair health.
When hair follicles grow, they require a lot of iron. Women with heavy menstrual periods are at a high risk of becoming iron deficient which makes hair loss one of the most common causes in women. Some ferritin is stored in hair follicles. It’s presumed that ferritin loss occurs when someone loses their hair. Whenever the body is low in iron, it can essentially “borrow” ferritin from hair follicles and other sources that are less vital to the body in illness.
Avoid using any hair growth treatments unless otherwise directed by your doctor. For amounts of hair loss, minoxidil(Rogaine) may help.
SOURCES- Meats especially red meat are a great source of ferritin, a type of stored iron that helps the body produce hair cell protein. Other sources are Nuts, Beans, Chickpeas, Soybeans, Green leafy vegetables, Fish.
Zinc deficiency leads to changes in the protein structure of hair follicles leading to weakening of their structural integrity. This means new hair will fall off quicker than they should. Moreover, there are recorded cases of people whose hair changed back from dull, aging gray to their original colors when placed on diets rich in zinc. Another study puts the importance of zinc to regrowth on the mineral’s crucial role in DNA and RNA production.
This is a requirement for the efficient division of follicle
cells leading to an improved anagen stage of the hair growth cycle. In addition, the effectiveness of zinc in reversing hair loss due to negative enzymatic reactions has been demonstrated in the tropical application of the mineral.
SOURCES- Meat, Shellfish, Chickpeas, Lentils, Nuts, Eggs, Whole grains, Potatoes, Dark Chocolates.