For healthy hair, include salmon, poultry, eggs, spinach, yogurt, avocados, walnuts, chocolate, sweet potatoes, oysters, and pumpkin seeds in your diet.
Healthy people lose hair due to three main factors - genetics, aging, and nutritional deficiencies. Those with health issues may also lose hair due to the underlying medical conditions. Hair thinning could also be a side effect of certain medicines or medical procedures. According to statistics, nutritional factors comprise the major cause for hair thinning in healthy women below the age of 50. Those with underlying medical conditions can tackle hair thinning by getting the condition treated. In case of healthy people, genetics and aging are two factors that cannot be rectified or treated. However, the third common cause - nutritional deficiencies, can be countered effectively.
We all know that a proper diet is one of the basic requirements for the healthy functioning of the human body. Apart from promoting the health of the internal organs, a proper diet is also necessary for maintaining the health of the skin, hair, and nails. So hair thinning in healthy people could be due to a poor diet that is deficient in hair vitamins. Vitamins promote faster growth of the strands and enhance their tensile strength too.
They are necessary for various vital functions of the human body. These water-soluble vitamins are mostly found in protein-rich food. There are eight types of B-vitamins - thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), piroxidine (B6), folic acid (B9), cyanocobalamin (B12), and biotin (B7). When it comes to hair health, all are beneficial, but the main ones are B3, B7, and B12. Apart from making the hair strong, most of the B vitamins enhance the sheen, thickness, and color of the strands. While biotin fights premature graying; niacin or vitamin B3 improves blood circulation in the scalp, thereby promoting hair growth. B vitamins are abundant in legumes, whole grains, meat, poultry, bananas, potatoes, milk, eggs, etc.
This is another water-soluble vitamin which is vital for the health of hair. Vitamin C is responsible for developing collagen and maintaining its level in the body. Collagen is the main structural protein in connective tissues, and it strengthens hair. Apart from that, vitamin C is vital for absorption of iron, which is essential for hair growth. A deficiency of vitamin C can make the hair dull and thin. The hair follicles may get clogged, thereby making the strands weak. As this vitamin cannot be synthesized in the body, it is derived from foods like citrus fruits, cantaloupe, papaya, kiwifruit, pineapple, broccoli, bell peppers, tomatoes, and spinach.
Though the role of vitamin D in hair follicle cycling is still not well understood, it has been suggested that vitamin D receptors in the cells and tissues are vital. They actively involved in anagen initiation of the cycle. Absence of vitamin D receptors has been linked to alopecia. Another study shows that women who experience hair thinning has low levels of vitamin D and iron. Egg yolks, salmon, tuna, mackerel, cheese, powdered milk, etc. has considerable amounts of vitamin D.
A lipid soluble antioxidant, vitamin C improves blood circulation, which in turn is good for hair growth. Being a good antioxidant, vitamin E enhances overall health and slows down the process of aging. Thus this vitamin is beneficial for delaying hair graying. Almonds, kiwi fruit, papaya, avocado, spinach, collards, and kale are rich in vitamin E.
When it comes to the nutrients that are necessary for the health of hair, protein tops the list. Protein is made of amino acids. While the human body produces some amino acids, others are derived from the diet. Lysine, methionine, tyrosine, cystine, and homocysteine are some of the main amino acids that are derived from food. A protein-rich diet offers most of these main amino acids. Apart from protein, unrefined carbohydrates and good fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated ones) are also beneficial for hair growth. Iron, zinc, and essential fatty acids (vitamin F) are also vital for hair growth. In fact anemia (iron deficiency) is one of the common causes of hair thinning, especially in women. It is always better to consume foods rich in these nutrients. You may also take supplements, after consulting your health care provider. However, overdose of certain vitamins can be harmful.
Minerals like copper, magnesium, zinc, iodine, and sulfur are also useful for the health of hair. Apart from using these nutrients, there are various other factors that have to be considered, if you are concerned about your hair problems. Adopt a healthy lifestyle and a good exercise regimen. Avoid smoking and excess alcohol consumption. Drink at least eight to ten glasses of water per day, and have good sleep. Avoid use of hair care products with harsh chemicals. Regular perming and teasing can be harmful for the hair. Stress is one of the main factors that are detrimental for hair. So it is highly essential to curb stress, if you are facing hair problems. If you have symptoms other than hair thinning, it would be wise to consult your doctor to rule out the possibility of underlying medical conditions.