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While the basis of beautiful hair lies somewhere in the genetic makeup of each individual, there are several things you can do to make sure that you have a beautiful mane. For instance, insuring that you have eliminated all bad hair related habits, such as brushing wet hair with a fine toothed comb or using hot irons on a daily basis, should help with the health of your hair.
Similarly, the health of your hair has to originate from within your body, which means that what you eat will also have an effect on how your hair looks. There are certain foods that are great for your body, in particular your hair. In this article, we will look at such foods:

Protein:

Hair is essentially made of protein, which means that the body needs to have enough protein to keep making new hair. If there is not enough protein in your diet, then chances are that your hair will become dry and weak, ensuring that hair will break off really soon and easily. As a matter of fact, there are studies that have shown that people, who have very little protein in their diet, are more prone to facing hair loss in the long run. Your diet needs to have a minimal of 20% protein, to have healthy hair. This protein will ensure that your hair shaft has adequate strength.

Minerals:

There are several minerals, which are great sources of nutrition for the hair:

minerals for healthy hair

Iron:

Iron is perhaps the most important mineral for healthy hair, and when there is a deficiency of this mineral, the body suffers from anaemia. While a lot of people might not know, deficiency of iron can lead to massive hair loss. It is iron that carries oxygen to all parts of the body, including the hair follicles. When there is not enough iron in the body, the oxygen does not reach the hair, making them dull and weak.Anaemia hinders the supply of nutrients to the hair follicles, which in turn affects the growth of hair, and can also lead to loss of hair.

Potassium and magnesium:

Potassium is yet another essential mineral which is important for the transfer of nutrients to the roots and follicles of hair. Potassium allows for the proper transfer of nutrition through the cell membranes. Bananas are a great source of potassium and should be included in the diet regularly.
Similarly, magnesium too is essential for hair growth and will allow for better flow of nutrients through the length of the hair. Foods rich in magnesium include:

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Whole grains and pulses
  • Fruits
  • Dairy products
  • Nuts

Selenium and zinc:

When you have dandruff in your hair, you will wash your hair regularly with a shampoo that has selenium in it. This goes to show how important selenium is for a healthy scalp and nourished hair. You will be able to include selenium in your diet, if you consume:

Similarly, it is zinc that helps build the hair proteins, and enables the hair to remain in good condition. Zinc actually stimulates better growth of hair, by enhancing immunity. If there is not enough zinc in your diet, you will notice that your hair is falling more than normal and the scalp is dry as well as flaky.

Vitamins:

Now that we have discussed minerals and proteins, it is time to move onto vitamins.

Vitamin A:

In order for the body to produce sebum, vitamin A is required. It is this sebum that offers natural hydration to the scalp, and allows it to remain healthy and conditioned. If there is a lack of sebum, you might notice that your hair has become dry and the scalp has become itchy. Essential for proper hair growth as well as for a healthy scalp, vitamin A or beta carotene is often found in yellow and green vegetables, broccoli, apricots and sweet potatoes.

Vitamin B:

In order to ensure that your hair remains healthy and there are no split ends, you need to make sure that you have sufficient vitamin B in your diet. If there is not enough vitamin B in your body, you will notice that your hair has become greasy and your hair is also turning grey. In order to ensure that your body has sufficient vitamin B, include whole grains, beans, lentils, fresh vegetables and fruits.

Vitamin C:

If you eat vitamin C in addition to foods that are rich in iron, you can be sure that the latter will be absorbed better. Vitamin C, an antioxidant, will also assist in the better production of collagen, which in turn makes the capillaries supplying nutrients to the hair shafts, stronger. In addition, it promotes the faster repair of tissues as well as cells, all the while improving the immune system of the body.

Vitamin E:

Vitamin E provides essential protection against the sun, which is an important step in ensuring proper hair growth. In addition, it also increases the uptake of oxygen and also helps improve blood circulation. You should consume:

    • Nuts
    • Dark green vegetables
    • Avocados
    • Legumes and whole grains
    • Rice bran

It is also important that you include essential fatty acids, such as Omega 3 and biotin in your diet. These will ensure that your hair does not age prematurely, remains of a good texture and grows long, with minimal chances of breakage and split ends. Food rich in essential fatty acids include vegetable oils, nuts, oil seeds, whole grains and legumes. Oily fish such as herring, mackerel, salmon, sardine and trout are also good sources of the same.

Below is a table depicting some of the important nutrients for hair and their rich sources.

table for important nutrients for hair


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