What you eat decides how your head is crowned!
Shiny, silk salon hair is not the result of the latest technology employed by pharmaceutical firms; nor does it sprout from old-age wisdom packaged in an organic box.
Doctors and nutritionists consider the condition of our hair as a good indicator of what’s going on under the scalp. “Think of hair like the leaves of a plant,” says Jyoti Lalwani, chief dietician at Mahim’s PD Hinduja Hospital. “If the nourishment at the roots is transferred to the leaves, they look healthy. If your hair lacks quality, texture and shine, or it’s falling, it’s due to a lack of nourishment.”
So what should we put in our tummies so that it shows on our heads? Lalwani tells us.
Eggs and dal
They pack in: Protein
Protein is the building block of hair. A dip in the body’s protein reserves can lead to weak, brittle hair or reduced growth. Egg whites are a good source. Low-fat cottage cheese packs in protein and calcium. Vegetarians need to pay special attention to protein intake, which follows a hierarchy — first class proteins come from whey, soya and milk; sprouts and dals travel second class.
Jaggery & Guava
They pack in: Iron and Vitamin C
Indian hair typically grows an inch a month, but if it is not watered with enough iron, the rate could slow down. Green vegetables, dates, jaggery and chana deliver the needed boost for growth. Iron cannot be absorbed without the presence of Vitamin C, which comes from lime juice, amla (dried and powdered, or raw) and guavas.
Almonds & Walnuts
They pack in: Vitamin E
Vitamin E is often discussed when hair rues are the subject of debate. It has rich anti-oxidants that inhibit the destructive effects of oxidation, and can fight damage by free radicals to reduce aging. Free radicals are present in our food, air and the environment. Essentially, compounds that seek an electron in order to become atomically balanced, they attack body cells, stealing electrons from any substance they come in contact with. By removing electrons from healthy compounds, free radicals end up inflicting damage that is known as oxidation, which is an irreversible process. Antioxidants, like those in Vitamin E rich foods, can anticipate the damage by donating the needed electron and balancing the substance. When ingested, Vitamin E helps propel cellular growth and regeneration, strengthens the hair shaft and softens it. When massaged into the scalp as oil, it protects the hair from breakage and split ends, and leave the strands glossy. Almonds, walnuts and sprouts are great sources of Vitamin E.
They pack in: Omega 3 Fatty acids
Omega 3 fatty acids are the poster-boys of good fats, and is found within oily fish such as mackerel (bangda), flax seeds and walnuts. The acids help you if you have a particularly dry scalp, and work towards preventing hair breakage.
They pack in: Liquid
For nutrients to be absorbed by the body, the digestive system has to be clear. Fruits, with their fibre and water content, mop the digestive track as they travel through it. Coconut water, green tea and just plain water work towards flushing out toxins, after which nutrients can be promptly absorbed.
Macademia nuta and brown rice
They pack in: Zinc
Dull hair points fingers at a zinc deficiency. Coarser the grain you eat, the more zinc you can get from it — so replace polished grain with whole wheat and brown rice. Nuts are saviours. Cashew nuts, walnuts and macademia nuts contain enough zinc to bring back lustre to your hair.