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Just like any other part of our body, our hair also needs essential nutrients to function properly and stay healthy and strong. Read on to find out what your hair needs and which foods are the best source of those nutrients.
What Does Your Hair Need?
3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
6. B Vitamins
7. Vitamin C
- Biotin – Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin that is originally a part of the B Vitamin (B7) family. It aids the body in metabolizing carbohydrates, fats, and protein, converting them into energy. Since it’s a water-soluble vitamin, it cannot be stored in the body. Therefore, biotin stores in the body need to be continuously replenished. Deficiency of biotin can result in hair loss and skin problems since it plays an important role in maintaining hair and skin health, although a biotin deficiency is rarely seen. Biotin helps to strengthen the protein (keratin) structure of the hair shaft.
- Protein – The infrastructure of the hair is made up of hardened proteins called Keratin. Keratin is a protective protein, shielding epithelial cells from damage. It is also less prone to tearing or scratching than any other type of protein cells in the body. When protein levels in the body are low, it slows down the generation of Keratin, resulting in slow hair growth and vulnerability to damage.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Omega-3 Fatty acids are a group of unsaturated fatty acids that are crucial parts of human cell membranes. They are present in the scalp skin, as well as in the natural oils produced by the scalp and skin to stay moisturized and healthy. If you’re deficient in Omega-3 fatty acids, it can result in a dry scalp and dry and dull hair. They provide essential nutrients to the scalp and hair follicles and prevent hair follicle inflammation, preventing or lowering the chances of hair loss. Moreover, it also promotes circulation in the scalp, which speeds up hair growth.
- Iron – Oxygen in the body travels with iron in the red blood cells. Blood flow is essential for a healthy scalp and healthy and strong hair; since the body also gets other nutrients through the bloodstream. When iron levels in the body are low, it diminishes the iron storage in the body. This results in slow hair growth, weaker hair and hair follicles, and consequently, hair loss. If you have enough iron, your hair follicles will have access to iron, oxygen, and other nutrients in the blood that are necessary for hair health.
- Zinc – Zinc is an essential trace mineral that is not naturally produced in the body. Zinc is essential for protein synthesis, growth, and development in the human body. It strengthens the hair follicles and prevents hair loss by binding the proteins. Moreover, Zinc also keeps the hair moisturized by regulating the oil glands in the scalp, also preventing dandruff and dryness. Even though zinc does not directly affect hair growth, it keeps the hair healthy and strong, all of which is essential for the hair to grow.
- B Vitamins – Other than Biotin, your hair also needs other B-Vitamins. These include Vitamin B6, B12, and Folate. These B vitamins are part of red blood cells that provide oxygen and other essential nutrients to the hair follicles and scalp. If your B Vitamin levels are running low, you are essentially starving the hair, making them vulnerable to damage, hair loss, slow growth, breakage, etc. They also produce new cells in the body, which naturally improves the texture and quality of your hair.
- Vitamin C – Vitamin C plays an essential role in hair growth and maintenance. Vitamin C helps the body in the production of Collagen. Collagen is a building block – made up of amino acids – that creates bones, muscles, skin, tendons, ligaments, as well as teeth and blood vessels. Collagen helps in hair regeneration, using the amino acids to build hair protein while also strengthening the roots of the hair and the hair follicle to minimize follicle damage, breakage, hair shedding, and greying. Moreover, Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron, which, as mentioned above, is an essential nutrient for hair. Additionally, Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant and protects the hair and scalp from oxidative stress and free radical damage.
Which Foods Contain These Nutrients?
3. Fish and Shrimp
4. Osyters and Clams
5. Nuts and Seeds
8. Carrots and Sweet Potatoes
- Eggs – Eggs are rich in protein and biotin. Both of these nutrients are essential for hair health, making eggs a must-have for everyone. Eggs can be eaten in any form, whether boiled, fried, or however you like. Moreover, you can even apply egg to the hair directly, although it will not be as effective as eating it.
- Meat – Much like eggs, meat is also full of protein, as well as other nutrients that help hair growth. Moreover, red meat, particularly, contains a lot of Iron that is easy to absorb into the bloodstream. Organ meats like liver are also abundant in iron.
- Fish and Shrimp – Fatty fish such as Salmon, Herring, and others are particularly abundant in fatty acids and protein. Shrimp is an excellent source of protein, Zinc, Iron, Vitamin D, as well as B Vitamins.
- Osyters and Clams – Oysters are one of the best sources of Zinc. Whereas, Clams are rich in Vitamin B12.
- Nuts and Seeds – Nuts are rich in essential nutrients, including protein, Vitamin B, Zinc, and Vitamin E. Peanut butter and almond butter also provide much of the same benefits. Apart from Vitamin E, Fatty Acids, and Zinc, seeds also provide Selenium.
- Berries – Berries, be it blueberries and blackberries, or strawberries and raspberries, are full of antioxidants and vitamins, including Vitamin C.
- Spinach – Spinach is a leafy green vegetable rich in beneficial nutrients such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Iron, and Folate. All of these nutrients are essential for hair health. Moreover, other leafy greens have much the same composition of nutrients and are great for hair health.
- Carrots and Sweet Potatoes – Sweet potatoes and Carrots are a rich source of Beta Carotene, which converts into Vitamin A when ingested. A medium-sized sweet potato contains 4 times the amount of Vitamin A needed every day.
- Avocados – Avocados are an excellent source of Vitamin E, which is known to support hair growth.