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Food For Hair
Hair is an important part of our body. Just as our body needs proper diet and care, our hair also demands nutritious diet to stay healthy.
Diet plays an important role in the health of our hair. Dr Sonal Shah, Indias first certified woman Trichologist, finds a proven connection between dietary deficiencies and hair loss. "Our hair is a great indicator of a right and wrong diet. Shiny and bouncy hair reflects a healthy body whereas dull and lifeless hair reflect ill health," she says.

Hair is nourished by blood, which may be nutritionally abundant, deficient or may contain hormones, drugs and waste material. Today, nutritional deficiency is a leading cause of hair loss among youth. Also called Loose Anagen Syndrome, Dr Shah, elaborates, "You know youre not eating right if you notice your hair falling off and on examining the strand of hair, you can spot what is called a white tip at its head. This is actually the root and its presence proves that the root is not strong enough to hold the hair in the hair follicle."

Crash dieting is one of the main causes she discloses, whose clientele includes many celebrities. "No wonder some of our top celebrities have many hair problems," she states.

From older people, to pregnant women-each ones dietary needs vary. While certain medicines can cause changes in the micro nutrient balance, anti-acid medication prescribed for stomach ulcers reduces the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals. Stress deprives a lot of nutrients, especially magnesium. While tobacco neutralises vitamin C and other anti-radical vitamins, alcohol interfaces with the absorption of vitamin B.

A varied and balanced diet with more than 20 different foods a week provides for the necessary vitamins and trace elements. Over fried or long cooking destroys vitamins. Simple home cooked food is the best.

Nutrients contributing to hair growth
Proteins-primarily made up of proteins, our hair requires adequate dietary protein intake.
Fats -helps in lustrous hair, as linoleic acid stimulates the sebaceous gland. Sebum secreted form the sebaceous glands give hair its shine.
Vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and essential amino acids are necessary for harmonious cell balance. Therefore, they affect the cells responsible for hair growth.
Vitamin E and C, or betacarotene, specifically act as anti-oxidants, protecting our hair from free radicals helping our hair stand up to pollution, chemicals, cold, sun, stress and medication.

Balanced nutrition for healthy hair
55 per cent carbohydrates, especially those of slow assimilation (eg pasta, rice, potatoes).
30 per cent lipids, half of which should be monosaturates like olive oil, a quarter should be polysaturates like groundnut oil and sunflower oil and another quarter of saturates like butter, cream, cheese, animal fat etc.
15 per cent proteins (found in cereals).
Fruits and vegetables should represent in volume, half of your foodstuff.

These are some tips maintaining healthy hair
Follow a low-fat, high-protein diet rich in minerals and vitamins.
Carrots, Beets, Curry leaves and greens prevent premature graying.
Drink at least two liters of water a day.
Limit the intake of coffee, tea, alcohol and other fluids that increase water loss.

Recommended hair foods
Palak, Paneer, Milk and Almonds-any two daily.
Soya-bean or Chinese Cabbage-any one daily
Kabuli Channa or Bajra-any one weekly.
12 to 14 glasses of water everyday.
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Posted on : 14/11/2005
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