Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Hair Care: Healthy Hair Diet

Growing healthy hair is not all about the products that you put on your tresses.  You may be following a strict regimen of pre-shampooing, co-washing, and deep conditioning every week, but still show signs of poor quality hair.  It's about what you put in your body too.  The foundation of healthy hair is the nutrients we eat.  Remember the saying, "you're what you eat"?  In this case, your hair is what you eat.  You may need to step out of the shower and into the kitchen :).

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Instead of buying all the products on the market, practise a well balanced diet that includes plenty of proteins, omega 3 fatty acids, iron and vitamins for healthy hair and growth promotion.

Healthy hair nutrition must include eating enough protein.  Protein is the building block of every part of our body.  Hair is almost entirely protein.  The more protein you eat, the healthier your follicles will be.  There are many low fat foods packed with protein without having to worry about saturated fat.  Foods like chicken, red meat, turkey, fish, and eggs are excellent sources of protein.  However, try to use as little butter or oil in their preparation.  Vegetarian?  Don't despair, get your protein from Tofu, legumes like beans and lentils.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Essential Omega-3 fatty acids are vital in supporting scalp health.  Absence of adequate Omega-3 fats can cause hair to feel brittle and dry, and encourage flaky scalp.  Some of the foods rich in Omega-3 Fatty acids are flaxseeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, cabbage, broccoli, and cold water fish such as salmon, sardines, mackerel, and herring.

Iron deficiency can be detrimental to your hair.  Research has shown that lack of iron in the body can cause hair shedding and thinning.  Eating dark green, leafy vegetables like broccoli, spinach, watercress are excellent sources for Iron.  Other foods are whole grain cereals fortified with Iron, dried fruits like raisins, apricots, and dates, beans such as chick peas, butter and kidney beans.  Animal foods rich in Iron are liver, egg yolk, kidney, red meat, and oily fish.

Vitamins help in the production of follicles.  Vitamin C improves the absorption of Iron into the body, while Vitamin A helps in the production of oil (sebum) to lubricate hair and scalp.  Vitamin B5 stimulates cell growth and repair.  Foods such as dark leafy vegetables, carrots, citrus fruits, brussels sprouts, bell peppers, cauliflower, tomatoes, milk, cheese, and meats should be on your grocery list. 

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To add to the above, you must keep your body hydrated.  Drinking eight glasses of water a day is absolutely necessary for healthy hair - I can't stress on it enough.  It flushes out toxins and keeps your hair moisturised.  Certainly, there are other nutrients which may contribute to the health of your hair.  An overall balanced diet should be practised for healthy hair and beauty.  Plus, you'll get all the other nutritional benefits that these foods have to offer for a healthier and stronger cells in your entire body.  


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