5 Essential Nutrients To Add To Your Diet For Healthy Hair
When it comes to growing healthy, long and beautiful hair, there are many factors at play. Diet is one among them. The appearance of your hair truly represents what you are feeding your body. Therefore, it’s important that some essential nutrients are included in your diet.
In this article, let’s learn from a Delhi-based dermatologist, Dr Nirupama Parwanda, what all nutrients facilitate hair growth and how you can include them in your daily diet.
5 Nutrients for healthy hair
1. Protein: Protein is the most essential building block of your body, and your hair is made up of protein called keratin. When the protein intake is drastically reduced in your body, it tends to balance itself by shutting down production of non-essential protein and this impacts your hair growth. After about one month of this drastic reduction, you might notice hair loss in the form of clumps of hair falling off.
As per Dr Parwanda, you must consume 50-60 grams of protein in a day which is about 10-30% of your total calorie intake. To meet your protein requirements, you can consume fish, eggs, chicken, soya protein, cheese and nuts.
2. Iron: Iron deficiency is one of the world’s most common deficiency. Haemoglobin concentration is a good predictor to find out if there is iron deficiency, but it is not a confirmatory diagnosis. Many times, it is seen that haemoglobin is normal but still a person has iron deficiency. Therefore, several other tests like Serum ferritin are done to assess body iron stores.
How does iron deficiency lead to hair loss?
Though the mechanism is not very well described, it is known that hair follicular matrix cells are one of the most rapidly dividing cells of the body and they are sensitive to even a minor decrease in the iron concentration which can lead to diminished hair growth and increased hair loss.
In such a situation, you need to supplement iron in your diet. Dr Parwanda says that vegans and vegetarians have 1.8 times higher requirement of iron as compared to non-vegetarians. She suggests that vegetarians can consume green leafy vegetables, nuts, legumes, and various iron fortified foods to meet their daily iron requirements. Non-vegetarians on the other hand, can have meat which is a very good source of iron.
3. Biotin: If you have been extensively studying and researching about diet to reduce hair loss, you must have come across a vitamin called biotin. Many dermatologists prescribe biotin as a supplement for patients suffering from hair loss. Though there are a limited number of studies showing efficacy of biotin as an agent to decrease hair loss, there are studies which point out that people who consume biotin for a considerable period show improvement in hair fall.
Biotin has an essential and important role to play in protein synthesis especially in the production of keratin which is important for nail and hair growth. To fulfil your body’s biotin requirements you can have nuts, legumes, egg yolk and unpolished rice.
4. Omega-3 Fatty Acid: These fatty acids are not synthesised by the body on its own, so it’s important to get them through diet. Apart from improving the brain function, decreasing the risk of heart attacks, and reducing blood pressure, these fatty acids have an important role to play in improving the health of your hair.
Dr Parwanda says to get these fatty acids in your diet, you can have fish, nuts, walnuts and even flax needs, which can be eaten in a roasted form as an evening snack.
5. Vitamin D3: Vitamin D3 is an essential nutrient which is required for your general health. People suffering due to hair loss can get their Vitamin D3 levels checked and if the levels are low, a dermatologist may suggest injections, capsules or sachets to replenish their stores.
How to include the above nutrients in your diet without making major changes?
Include almonds and walnuts to get omega 3 fatty acid to your diet. You can also add eggs or cottage cheese for protein. Having sprouts also helps to replenish your iron and other mineral stores.
For lunch, you can have chicken, lettuce, or pulses. You can also add yoghurt for a wholesome meal.
For evening time, you can replace your unhealthy snacks with healthy ones like roasted almonds, walnuts, and even flax seeds.
For dinner, you can have something light like salad with a few pieces of chicken or cottage cheese if you are vegetarian. This will help you to meet your protein requirement, if you have not been able to meet it during your lunch or breakfast hours.
Stop relying too much on artificial shampoos and conditioners, add the above superfoods to your daily diet and keep your hair healthy from inside out.
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