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Foods for healthy, rich, shiny and strong hair.

Which foods can deliver those appealing hair locks?.

What many would do to have such great looking hair is to apply chemicals.

Instead of applying chemicals, which sometimes can have detrimental effects on hair, nutritionally, hair can be made thick, healthy, shiny and look fresh.

For a long time scientists have ignored the influence of nutrition on beauty, instead scientist’s have directed their attention more to impact of nutrition on health. What is becoming clear as more and more research is being carried out and published is that proper nutrition can promise a stunning hair locks.

As usual, desirable, long lasting changes, cannot be achieved overnight, they require diligence and consistency. To achieve wonderful hair would require long term (at least 6 months) health nutrition and care.

Nutrients Necessary for Gorgeous Hair.
Healthy, Lustrous and strong hair depends on two key things: Healthy scalp with healthy follicles and a body with the building blocks to construct strong hair shafts. Nutrients required for health scalp and the necessary building blocks are: protein, healthy fats, water, vital vitamins, and minerals-in the correct amounts.

Protein
Hair is about 97 percent protein, making protein a key requirement for nice, strong hair. Deficiency in protein means that the body cannot make new beautiful hair to replace that it has lost. The hair is made up of protein called keratin which gives it strength and elasticity. Foods that provide the necessary protein to guarantee strong and health hair include: salmon, yogurt, walnuts, oysters, fish, shellfish, turkey, chicken, beef, lamb, soybeans, eggs, nuts, and dairy products.

Lack of protein can cause the hair to become thin, break and become pale due to loss of pigment.

Omega 3 fatty acids
The hair shaft is made up of about 3% fat. Fats are needed to build the cell membranes in the skin of the scalp and for the natural oil that keeps the scalp and hair from drying out.

A lack of essential fatty acids can lead to development of dandruffs and make your hair dry, brittle, and slow growing.

Foods that can provide the required essential fatty acids and Omega 3 Fatty acids include: salmon, walnuts, spinach, mackerel, herring, sardines, trout, flax, hemp seeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, soybeans, and whole grain products.

Vitamins for shiny locks
There are many commercial products offering supplements claiming to strengthen hair, make it longer, make it shiny, prevent hair loss etc. Provided you can obtain balanced diet, there is no need for the supplements. Below are the most essential vitamins for luxurious looking hair.

Vitamin A-Vitamin A helps to produce and protect the oil in the scalp. Note that excess of vitamin A (due to supplements) causes hair loss. It is easy to get significant amounts of Vitamin A from sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, kiwi, oysters, yogurt, salmon and tomatoes.

Vitamin B Complex– Lack of Vitamin B causes slow growth and leads to weak and brittle hair shafts. Vitamin B6 helps create melanin, which gives hair its color.  Although there is no evidence that this vitamin has useful effect, Vitamin B7 is now a common additive to commercial shampoos (check the label of your shampoo).

The best sources of Vitamin B include: walnuts,  yoghurt, spinach, wild salmon,  spinach and oysters.

Vitamin C. Another very beneficial micro nutrient is vitamin C, which plays an important role in both maintaining great hair and fabulous scalp. Deficiency of Vitamin C can cause hair breakage.

It is basic to acquire sufficient vitamin C from most of these foods: peppers, blueberries, sweet potatoes, spinach, tomatoes,oranges, strawberries, lemons, and broccoli

Vitamin E- Vitamin E is an antioxidant which helps protect scalp’s natural oils. Good sources of vitamin E include wheat germ, sunflower seeds, safflower & sunflower oils, almonds, peaches, prunes, cabbage, asparagus, and avocados.

Minerals for lovely hair.
Five key minerals affect many things in hair ranging from growth rate, colour and texture. The ideal way to obtain the required minerals is by eating healthy foods.

Iron-Iron plays a role in hair health because it helps red blood cells carry oxygen to the hair follicles. It has been well established that women with hair loss and baldness often have low levels of iron in their blood. The best sources of iron are oysters, spinach, and tomatoes. Other animal sources of iron include lean beef, turkey, duck, lamb, chicken, pork, shrimp, and eggs. Good plant sources of iron include soybeans, lentils, beans, and bran.

Selenium-Selenium helps keep skin supple and elastic by preventing cellular damage from free radicals. Paradoxically, too much selenium can cause hair loss. Eating any of the following foods will deliver significant amounts of selenium: salmon and oysters, tuna, crab, whole wheat bread, wheat germ, garlic, eggs, and brown rice.

Silicon-In the human body, silicon is found in high concentrations in the skin and hair. It is important to the health of the scalp, plus it helps strengthen the hair. High-fiber diets contain lots of Silicon, which is widely distributed in whole grains, bananas, root vegetables, rice, soybeans, and many other foods.

Sulfur-Sulfur is present in cysteine, an amino acid that makes keratin and is crucial to hair growth. Sulfur helps body to create longer, stronger hair. Consuming any of the following food will provide sufficient Sulfur; eggs, meat, fish, dairy products, onions, and garlic.

Zinc-A zinc deficiency can cause, hair loss, loss of eyelashes and cause the scalp to become dry and flaky. Zinc is an antioxidant and helps guard against free-radical damage to the scalp.

Foods rich in Zinc include:seafood, yoghurt, beef, lamb, eggs, whole grains, and nuts.

Gray Hair:Can it be prevented or is it an inevitable occurrence?

Gray hair is a result of age or genes. Every person is programmed to develop gray (nonpigmented) hair by a certain age, and no amount of nutritional intervention can change that.

However, there are some health conditions that can cause hair to turn gray earlier, or more rapidly, than normal. Correcting these processes can help you keep your natural colour longer.

  • Underlying health conditions, such as thyroid disorders, could make hair turn gray. Hair may grow back in its normal color after recovery.
  • Certain digestive problems that interfere with the ability to absorb nutrients necessary for healthy hair growth.
  • Stress will also cause ageing and premature grey hair.

If you have not yet reached that age and have no underlying condition to lead to gray hair, there are certain things that can help maintain the excellent colour of hair. These include:

  • Getting plenty of iron for building strong hair shafts and drinking lots of water to help keep your hair hydrated from the inside out
  • Consumption of more omega-3 fatty acids. The scalp needs quality fats to produce the sebum that keeps hair under control,
  • Consumption of beta-carotene-rich foods in your diet from which the can synthesize vitamin A to keep your scalp healthy:
  • Intake of  plenty of B vitamins, which help keep hair from becoming weak and brittle. They all work together, so eat many different foods to make sure you get enough of each.
  • Consume lots of vitamin C and Zinc–rich foods to keep your scalp healthy and to help hair growth.
  • Include vitamin E–rich foods in your diet to protect the lipids in your scalp from free-radical damage.

Nutrition to Fight Hair Loss
Hair loss ranges from extensive and permanent (going bald) to mild and temporary (hair thinning). Age, diseases and genes have a great deal to do with hair loss, as do hormonal shifts.

If hair loss is not due to disease, age or genetic, several nutrients can help to fight hair loss.

Sufficient iron intake plays important roles in the health of hair and nails. There are two types of dietary iron: heme (derived from animal foods) and non-heme (derived from plant foods).

The heme variety is easier to absorb in the body; body will take in up to 35 percent of the iron from animal sources.Very good sources of heme iron include chicken liver, Beef, oysters and turkey.

The non-heme variety is more difficult to absorb; your body takes in only 2 to 20 percent of the iron from plant sources. Vitamin C enhances  absorption of nonheme iron, while calcium can decrease it. Four great sources of non-heme iron include. Soybeans, Lentils,Spinach and Raisins.

Make sure you are getting an adequate amount of protein and zinc in your diet each day.

Drink green tea. Some studies have show that green tea may influence the serum levels of certain hormones that are linked to at least one form of hair loss, androgenic alopecia, which is common in women and men.

Super Nutrients in Shampoos and Hair conditioner.
Certain nutrients can help hair if used in shampoo or hair conditioner. However, others labeled as natural and added to hair conditioning cosmetics do virtually nothing. They are added just to increase the price.

According to Dr. David Kingsley, one of the respected hair loss experts in the world, the following are some of the nutrients that can be added to hair cosmetics and deliver results.

  • Collagen is used as a conditioning agent.
  • Castor oil is used as a moisturizer in hair conditioners.
  • Olive oil has conditioning benefits, particularly for very dry, coarse hair.
  • Plant proteins (wheat proteins) have conditioning and hair- strengthening benefits.
  • Vitamin B3 (niacin): when applied topically, niacin-based products, such as nicotinic acid, have been shown to improve hair growth in a small study for women when compared to a control group.
  • Vitamin B5  (panthenol) helps provide moisture to the hair shaft.
  • Vitamin E (tocopherol acetate), a natural antioxidant, has UV protection properties.

Last thing: Tips to maintain the shiny and strong Locks
Here are simple tips that will help maintain the wonderful results delivered to your hair by the good nutrition.

Use Chemicals on Your Hair in Moderation. The chemicals used for curling or relaxing hair chemically alter the shafts, and long-term use of these chemicals can do irreversible damage to the hair or cause hair loss. Combining processes; for example, getting your hair colored and relaxed at the same time; means double the stress for your hair. Limit hair treatments as much as possible and avoid mixing chemical processes.

Blow Dry in Moderation. Blow-drying more than three times a week will damage hair. Try to avoid very hot blow dryers and avoid very hot settings on heated flat irons and curling irons. Air-dry your hair when possible.

Shampoo Your Hair Properly. Shampoo with warm water to open the pores in your scalp and rinse with cool water. A cool rinse (with either water or vinegar and water combined) will close down the cuticle and add shine. Keep in mind that excessive shampooing can strip minerals and natural oils from the hair.

Don’t Twist Your Hair to Wring out the Water. Towel-dry your hair and resist rubbing it or creating any sort of friction. Use a hand towel and squeeze your hair dry, working your way up from the ends to the roots.

Use Leave-In Conditioner. This helps reduce frizz by rehydrating your hair during the day. Some conditioners contain UV filters to protect hair from sun damage.

Wear Your Hair in a Loose, Easy Style. Avoid tight braids or heavy ponytails—these can create bald spots or wide part lines on scalp. Every time you pull your hair back into a tight ponytail or bun, the pressure breaks hair shafts all along your hairline. The short remnants of broken hair pop up as frizz.

Have Your Hair Trimmed Every Six to Eight Weeks. It won’t make your hair grow faster, but it will stop split ends from splitting up the hair shaft.

References:
Kingsley, D.H. (2007). The Hair-Loss Cure: A Self-Help Guide. iUniverse, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA.

Lisa Drayer, (2009). The beauty diet : being gorgeous was never so delicious. Mc Graw Hill, New York, USA.

{ 26 comments… add one }
  • Melida July 29, 2011, 10:31 am

    I’m so in love with your article.I have just read it and find it helping.I used to have a strong ,long , healthy looking hair, but now i have problems with my hair.It is breaking,thin and becoming fluffy.Iam going to use your tips and I am 100% sure that your tips are going to help me.

    • Joshua Arimi July 29, 2011, 5:27 pm

      You are very welcome Melida. Try them and please let me know the results.

  • shivani August 10, 2011, 9:27 am

    i like ur article.i am suffering from bad hair conditions.some times i think that i will lost my hair.but ur this article help me .thanx.

  • karthik September 22, 2011, 5:06 am

    very helpful article..

    And there r some oils in adverdisements that regrowth the hair in short term period..shall i use that?

  • Henry September 27, 2011, 3:50 pm

    Nice work.I did read somewhere that an ingredient in shampoos i.e sodium laureate sulfate(there is also another sulfate whose name I forget) which is used so as to make the shampoo soapy(the same sulfates are found in tooth pastes and soaps) is quite damaging to the scalp by making it very dry by stripping off all the natural oils on the scalp and the recommendation was to avoid shampoos having this ingredient.Can you research on this?

  • Marge October 26, 2011, 4:41 pm

    I will use your tips. I have been eating too much tomato, whole wheat (I have read the ingredients and it is good, however, I have read that wheat can cause hair loss) and kiwi and my hair is falling a lot. Joshua I appreciate your feedback. I enjoy your website a lot!

  • nje November 8, 2011, 10:56 am

    I really do appreciate your script on hair.It hard at time for nutritionist to dwell on beauty like you just put it at the beginning yet many women dwell on beauty issues.

    Now i have a a question for you i see Yoghurt has every health benefit in the body now can it be used as a facial instead of the facial scrubs we buy from the market lets talk about looking younger…………….what are the foods involved?

    Thanks

    Nje

    • Joshua Arimi November 10, 2011, 10:31 pm

      Hi Nje,
      Yoghurt is healthy but perhaps it is not good to apply it on the face. There are several foods that act on the skin and help it to maintain radiance and youthfulness such as berries (Blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and plums), green tea, nuts such as walnuts, some sea foods including salmon and whole grain cereal products. Happy smooth and young skin.

  • sam May 20, 2012, 2:48 am

    it works nicly on the hairs

  • juliana May 26, 2012, 7:16 pm

    My hair was damage 20 years ago from a chemical burn. However, I have fuzz in the area. I have seen two hair doctors and a hair transplant specialist who told me that my scalp was damaged and that there is nothing that they can do or give me to help my hair to grow again. My
    hair is in very bad condition. I feel as though I already gave up. I am writing, because just may be there is a spec of hope for me. Do you think that there is anything that you can say or do to help me?

  • Josyline Makena July 24, 2012, 11:16 am

    This article is educative.i recommend all ladies should read this.I have very long hair but i dint know how i could maintain the look.Now i know.Thanks to you.

  • Afere morenike August 3, 2012, 10:44 pm

    Any other application for long hair

  • kranti October 29, 2012, 8:58 am

    Hi,
    I have been using the traditional indian soap nuts (reetha) and shikakai instead of a shampoo for years. Also Indian gooseberry (amla) is known to have a good effect on the hair. Another tip for a natural conditioner- honey. I mix honey with warm water, leave it on for 5 mins and rinse my hair once. Makes the hair very soft.
    Apart from that methi (fenugreek) seeds, yogurt,eggs combined with henna work wonders

  • akanksha mishra November 16, 2012, 1:04 pm

    how to control hair falling pls sugest

  • akanksha mishra November 16, 2012, 1:05 pm

    mere ball bich s tutate h kuch btaiye

  • lisa January 9, 2013, 8:31 am

    Pls doctor I would advise against all this soybean recommendation…soy is powerful phytoestrogen and it causes women to be fat and cellulite and men to be too feminine cuts the libido..i get breast tenderness and stinging when i eat soy and it makes me sick and puts weight on it is dangerous food for most people

  • chris March 21, 2013, 9:28 am

    Your article is wonderful it will be of great help.My hair breaks alot.

  • Bernadette Bernal May 25, 2013, 6:37 am

    Thank you for the informative tips and suggestions on how to have a healthy and beautiful hair..I hope it would help alot to enhance my black long hair.God bless.

  • Annie Becker July 9, 2013, 8:35 pm

    Excellent Advice for HAIR!!!!!!! Thanka to those who took a vital iniative to compile all these points.

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  • Chris Ashenden site July 25, 2014, 1:15 am

    The antioxidant property in green tea has catechins
    which are known to be effective for various infection conditions and the associated damage caused by bacteria, etc.

    Cayenne, a natural phytonutrient derived from capsicum, helps support circulation. These include
    quercetin, a member of the flavonoid family which
    has powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.

  • sophie July 29, 2014, 11:18 pm

    i had hair loss for 3 years all balding slowing until i started eating wholemeal bread without any spirit vinegar or preservativesin it, just palm oil in it and wholegrain wheat bread fresh from supermarket bakery, my hair is started to grow now and slowly covering up the bald patch, i also stoped all spicy foods ans acidic fruits which is major cause of inflamation of the stomach, i was nutrient deficient and wholemeal bread provided all the nutrients for hair growth, but celiac people should avoid wheat if they are allergic to it, milk was also causing balding as i was milk intollerance

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