So is your hair letting you down? Clumps in your hairbrush, dull, lifeless strands? You need a hair—and diet—makeover. Of course harsh hair styling tools can affect your hair health but what you eat on a daily basis has a huge role to play in transforming a drab mane to a fab one. As nutritionist Naini Setalvad says, “Women (and men) who don’t eat a well-balanced diet suffer from thin hair and loss. The ideal hair friendly diet should include a mix of whole wheat grains, protein, and healthy fats besides a daily Biotin supplement (like HealthVit Biotin 5000mcg 60 Capsules For Hair, Skin & Nails).” While there are no ‘miracle foods’ to transform your less than fab locks, these eight superfoods will definitely give you heathier, softer and shinier tresses.
Carrots are a powerhouse of Vitamin A, a necessary nutrient to regulate sebum production and promote hair and scalp health, says Setalvad. “A deficiency will lead to hair loss, so include carrots, both cooked and raw, in meals or just as a snack to munch on between meals.”
This potassium-rich fruit is a great way of getting an instant energy boost and tank up on your daily potassium requirement, a key ingredient for healthy, happy hair. So make sure you eat one banana daily, even if you’re on a diet.
Breakfasts never tasted so good! “Eggs are a great food for healthy hair,” says Setalvad “because they are rich in Biotin, Choline, Vitamins B5 and B12 that stimulate hair growth and thicken the hair shaft. Plus, they are a great source of protein, one of the key building blocks of hair.”
This superfood is not just good for your figure, it’s great for your hair too. Apart from keeping you full for longer, spinach and other dark green leafy veggies are a great source of iron needed to keep hair healthy and thick. How would you know if you were deficient in iron? “Scanty hair on the temples is a sure sign of low iron,” says Setalvad.
The humble rajma is an excellent source of essential hair care nutrients. This protein rich food is also a good source of iron, zinc and biotin. In fact the American Dietetic Association recommends three or more cups of kidney beans every week for shiny, thick strands. If you find beans hard to digest, alternate with mung or masoor lentils for the same benefit.
All nuts including almonds, pecans, cashews and walnuts are excellent for your hair. However, almonds are considered the best for preventing hair loss and promoting hair growth because this zinc-rich nut plays an important role in maintaining healthy circulation in the scalp, a necessary perquisite for shiny, well-moisturized hair. Almonds are also a great source of heart and hair friendly Vitamin E and Omega-3 fatty acids that add shine and volume, prevent split ends and promote growth. Low in calories, they’re perfect for an anytime snack.
One of the best sources of Vitamin C and beta carotene. And tasty too! This is a must-eat if you have dandruff. Beta carotene is converted into Vitamin A in the body, the necessary nutrient to prevent dry, dull skin. From now on, swap your regular potato with the sweet variety. Added benefit: sweet potato has a lower glycemic index that regular spuds, making them a dieter’s dream.
Low fat milk is the best source of calcium and Vitamins D and B-5 that play a major role in hair growth. Choose low-fat dairy options like cheese, yogurt and 2 percent or skim milk that contain protein rich casein and whey that prevent dry scalp conditions.