What to eat for healthy hair
The hair’s life cycle
The Hair cycle consists of three phases: generation phase, growth phase and fall phase. After the fall phase, the hair, ideally has to return to the first phase, i.e, growth phase with rapid cell division at a high rate. If the body condition is not sustainable for this rapid cell division, the hair roots remain dormant or in a resting phase, where there is no generation of new hair.
If this sleeping phase continues, the follicles are considered dead and will not grow again. Diet and nutrition play an important role in hair growth. Good hair growth requires a toxin-free environment and supply of good nutrients is essential to support the rapidly dividing cells during the growth phase. Food consumption today is irregular and against the body cycle. Food consumed is not locally grown and is not in sync with climatic, regional or seasonal preferences.
The food consumed today is man-made and not naturally grown. Food yield is increased by using artificial chemicals, insecticides, fertilizers and pesticides. High protein diets, also known as the acid ash diets favored by fitness experts create acid during metabolism and cause the blood to become acidic which leads to re-absorption of iron, calcium into the blood to counter the acidity. There is increase in the urea nitrogenous waste from high protein consumption and accumulation of these metabolic toxins makes internal body environment unsuitable for rapid cell division and hair growth. The same occurs in carbohydrate free, only protein diets.
Diet dos and dont’s for healthy hair
Avoid fried foods, bakery foods and red meat to reduce the over activity of oil and sebum glands. It also reduces the accumulation of free radicals which are harmful to rapidly dividing cells.
Next is to avoid sugar-based foods such as chocolates, pastries, sweets, (some sugar in tea or coffee is permitted). Increased sugar leads to insulin release, which in turn causes release of testosterone from its binding protein and makes it available for conversion to DHT.
Avoid foods with artificial flavors, taste makers, additives, preservatives and colas as these chemicals lead to formation of free radicals in the body. Juices are best avoided for their fruit sugar, better is to eat fruits along with the fruit skin. Nutrients and vitamins in the fruit are concentrated just below the fruit skin, pulp contains only fructose and water. Having fruits with the fruit skin provides fiber and nutrients.
Fast foods and junk foods should be avoided because they do not contain any nutrition and are made using chemical flavoring agents, additives and preservatives. Chinese foods made with aginomoto MSG can adversely affect hair.
Include a variety of protein sources and antioxidants like steamed sprouts, green vegetables, salads, all kinds of beans, pulses, mushrooms, cottage cheese, chick peas and nuts can improve hair growth still reducing the ill effects of meat.
Add fat soluble vitamins to your diet: Vitamins are of two kinds: water soluble and fat soluble. Adding a spoon of ghee or a slice of cheese can provide the fat soluble vitamins required for the bounce and luster in the hair. A strict no-fat diet can make the hair dry, lifeless and flat.
Having 12 glasses of water a day is essential in order to maintain skin/scalp hydration and prevent dryness.
One of the theories behind hair loss is the ischemia theory or the reduced blood flow theory. Avoid smoking if you are losing hair. Smoking constricts blood flow to the hair roots inducing ischemia which leads to hair loss. Smoking also causes accumulation of free radicals which are harmful to growing hair roots.
Foods to Avoid
- Mutton, Red meat, Fish Fry, Tandoor Chicken. Home made fish or chicken cooked without fryingcan be eaten once in ten days, It is advisable to keep the portions limited, at the most 2 pieces without gravy.
- Coconut gravy, groundnuts or peanuts, excess potato, pasta & noodles.
- Fried foods – wada, samosa, puri, papad, dosas, chips and other foods which have excessive oil content.
- Sugar foods – chocolates, pastries, cakes, ice cream, sweets, desserts etc.
- Bakery foods – biscuits, toasts, khari, puffs, patties, rolls, croissants, doughnuts, cup cakes.
- Chinese foods – agino moto or Chinese salt is bad for the hair.
- Fast foods – Pizzas, Burgers and others
- Canned foods
- Aerated drinks and packaged juices
Foods to Add to your Diet
- Steamed Sprouts – 3 times a week,
- Green leafy vegetables – 3 times a week
- Green Beans – 3 times a week, like Gavar, Chawli, Wal, Papdi, French Beans, broad beans, Ghewda.
- Raw Salads – Radish, Beet root, Carrot, Cucumber, Tomato, etc. cut and add salt, pepper, a dash of lime, no mayonnaise, no salad dressing, no sauce.
- Dry beans like Rajma, black beans, yellow beans, kidney beans – twice a week.
- All types of dals – black dal, yellow dal – turn by turn – daily.
- Paneer (Cottage Cheese), Chola (Chick peas), Soya, Tofu – each – once a week.
- 4 – Walnuts / 4 – Almonds on alternate days.
- 1 – glass milk per day.
- 1– tsp ghee per day or 1 – slice of cheese per day.
- 4 Fresh Fruits per day – cut & eat, with the fruit skin – no juice.
- 10 – 12 glasses of Water per day
Dr. Rajesh Rajput
Hair Restore, M.S., M.Ch.,
Aesthetic & Hair Transplant Surgeon
Dr. Rajesh Rajput, a Trichologist & Hair Transplant Surgeon, has an experience of 25 years in providing focused solutions for hair transplant surgery for women and men. He has performed over 3,500 transplant procedures for patients from all over the world. He has also pioneered Cyclical Hair Treatment which controls hair loss & induces over 30% new hair growth in 2-4 months without side effects.
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