There are many things that can be done, and many things that can be used to make hair healthy. These include taking care of the body by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and proper nutrition, lowering stress, taking vitamins and minerals designed to promote healthy hair and taking proper care of hair.
A Healthy Lifestyle How hair looks and feels is a clue to one’s lifestyle. When the body is healthy, hair will be too. Smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and stress are all things that not only prevent one from living a healthy lifestyle, but also prevent one from having healthy hair. Smoking actually changes the DNA of the hair follicle, which is where hair grows, and affects the tissue that is located at the end of the hair root, which helps carry nutrients to the hair. In addition, smoking can cause hair to fall out and can actually speed up the onset of pattern baldness in those people who are genetically predisposed to this. Quitting smoking will reverse all adverse effects and result in overall improvement of one’s general health, which includes the hair. Over consumption of alcohol or alcohol abuse can cause a number of health problems, including damage to the skin and hair. In addition, because heavy drinking tends to make one neglect proper nutrition, this can also affect hair health. Stress causes the flight-or-fight reaction in the body. Stress leaches nutrients from the body, which in turnvcauses the hair to lose nutrition.
A Healthy Diet Certain foods can help one achieve healthy hair. These include beef, eggs or egg whites, brown rice, cottage cheese, bacon and salmon. Eating 3.5 ounces of lean beef twice a week provides protein, as well as some of the vitamins and minerals that promote healthy hair. Vegetarians or those who cannot eat meat because of health issues can gain this same benefit by eating a large egg. Those watching their cholesterol can eat the egg whites from a large egg and still get the nutrients that promote healthy hair. Salmon is also a good source of protein as it contains fish oils that promote healthy hair. One-fourth cup of brown rice is a good source of complex carbohydrates, which release energy throughout the day, rather than in a short time, while a 1/4 cup of cottage cheese will provide extra calcium, and can replace a serving of eggs when necessary. Three-and-a-half ounces of bacon provides fat, which is needed for healthy hair. If weight loss or other health issues do not preclude eating this amount of bacon, which is considered a normal serving, then do so with enjoyment, knowing that hair is benefiting.
Enough Liquid The body must remain hydrated for it to function properly. Unfortunately, most people do not drink enough fluids to maintain proper hydration. The 8×8 rule is a good formula for determining how much liquid is needed for proper hydration. Eight ounces of fluid should be consumed eight times a day in order to replace those lost by the body. Water is the best, but any liquid that does affect overall good health is fine too.
Vitamins and Minerals Vitamins A, C and E are all essential to healthy hair. Vitamin A produces sebum, which maintains hair moisture, Vitamin C prevents hair loss and Vitamin E promotes healthy circulation, which increases blood flow to the scalp, promoting a healthy scalp. If the scalp is healthy, hair will be healthy.
Hair Care Along with using Pantene shampoo and conditioner, scalp massage and allowing the hair to rest are beneficial to everyone’s hair. Massage promotes good circulation throughout all areas of the scalp, and down onto the neck where hair grows. Taking a few extra minutes to massage the hair when applying shampoo, using the pads of the fingers, not the fingernails, will provide a good massage. Massaging dry hair at night before bedtime will also help. Also, periodically allowing hair to dry naturally will promote healthy hair.
Around 55-60% of your daily calories should come from carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are an essential source of energy and help in the growth of body tissues, hair. So, it is important to consume more of complex carbohydrates like vegetables, fruits, whole grains and brown rice rather than simple sugars and white flours. Carbohydrate rich foods are good source of B complex vitamins that are vital to healthy hair.
Protein is the building block of hair, so a diet for healthy hair should make up at least 20% of your daily calories. Protein provides strength to the shaft of the hair and reduces chances of hair fall by snapping and splitting. Inadequate protein intake over a lengthy period can cause major hair fall, which will affect its texture and quality.
Foods high in protein are soy, tofu, dairy products like milk, curd, paneer, cheese, nuts, oilseeds, beans and pulses.
Essential fatty acids
Along with a proper diet healthy hair needs essential fatty acids, which aids dry and brittle hair and improves the texture. Essential fatty acids from vegetable oils, whole grains, legumes, fresh nuts and oil seeds, spirulina, flaxseed oil and pumpkin seeds. Roughly 15 – 20% of your daily calories should come from these sources.
Vitamin A is essential for hair growth and a healthy scalp. Beta-carotene is found in green and yellow vegetables and fruits, sweet potatoes, broccoli, apricots.
Vitamin E increases oxygen uptake and improves circulation, thereby improving hair health and growth. Add E to your diet by consuming foods like avocados, rice bran, nuts, dark green vegetables, legumes and whole grains.
This lesser known vitamin helps to maintain healthy hair. Food sources of Vitamin K include dairy foods, figs, asparagus, broccoli, lettuce, brussel sprouts, cabbage, dark green leafy vegetables, oatmeal, rye, soybeans, wheat and yogurt.
To ensure that your hair is healthy and does not split include foods rich in the different B vitamins. These include whole grains, beans, lentils, plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, especially citrus fruits and tomatoes. Biotin deficiency has been linked to hair loss. Foods high in biotin are brown rice, cracked wheat, green peas, lentils, oats, soybeans, sunflower seeds and walnuts. Deficiency of B complex vitamins can lead to greasy hair, dandruff, poor hair growth and grey hair.
Vitamin C is important for good circulation, hair growth and hair colour. If you have enough vitamin C you will have strong, supple strands of hair that do not split. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant that promotes cell and tissue repair and enhances the immune system. Good sources of vitamin C are all citrus fruits like oranges, lime, lemon, berries, vegetables like brussel sprouts, cucumbers, tomato, cauliflower, green leafy vegetables and red peppers.
Helps to carry oxygen to the hair. Without enough iron, hair and its follicles are starved of oxygen. This means that the goodness in the root of your hair is much less effective along the length of the strand. You can increase your iron intake by eating dark green vegetables, whole grains, garden cress seeds or by adding iron supplements under supervision.
Banana is the best source for potassium, which is important in nutrient transfer through cell membranes an
Magnesium is an important mineral for hair growth. Include foods like whole grains, green leafy vegetables, dairy products, fruits, nuts and pulses.
Zinc builds hair protein and thus plays a vital role in maintaining good hair condition. Zinc stimulates hair growth by improving immunity. Its deficiency often results in poor hair growth and considerable hair loss. Natural Sources of zinc are legumes, mushrooms, non-fat dry milk, spinach, whole grains, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds.
Water makes up one-fourth of the weight of a strand of hair. Moisture makes the hair supple, so make sure you get plenty of fluids. Water is a medium that helps to eliminate all toxins, chemical wastes and other pollutants from the body. Water not only hydrates our bodies, but also keeps our hair silky and shiny. Ideally, you should drink between eight and ten glasses of water a day.
Hair fall and baldness is increasingly becoming a problem for most people who love to eat junk food, follow an unhealthy eating pattern and have a stressed lifestyle. Hair fall can also be caused by anxiety, insomnia, hair abuse or excessive use of chemicals like bleaching treatments, perming and colouring.
Sugar is highly acidic, destroys B vitamins and decreasing minerals, leading to unhealthy hair. Soft drinks, snacks like the fried, overcooked junk snacks, caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine have detrimental effects on the nutrients that enhance hair growth.
Stress, tension, some medications and poor dietary habits are known to retard hair growth.
1. Along with a healthy hair diet it is important that you exercise properly as it will ensure that there is proper blood flow to your scalp and will help in the growth of hair.
2. Treat your hair delicately. Avoid unnecessary brushing, combing or handling. Use a soft, round bristles brush.
3. Have a weekly scalp massage to provide stimulation to the hair follicles.
4. Have regular trims to eliminate split ends and allow the hair to look and feel healthier.
5. Get plenty of rest and sleep to allow your body to grow hair.
Healthy hair food plan
Follow the diet plan given below as a starting point for healthy and lustrous hair:
-Skim milk / Soy milk
-Whole grain bread or toast or poha or breakfast cereal or sprout
-Bowl of fresh fruit
-Fresh vegetable juice like carrot or cucumber juice
-Handful of nuts like walnuts, soaked almonds, raisins, dates
Healthy hair food plan
-Fresh veg. soup or salad
-Whole-wheat flour or jowar or bajra chapatti
-Dals or whole pulses
-Curd / Tofu
-1 glass skim milk
-Kurmura or roasted channa or popcorn
Fresh veggies and fruit juice (carrot, apple, lemon, dudhi, palak)
-Fresh veggie soup or salad with sprouts
-Fruit like watermelon or banana
-Use natural substitutes like fruits, dates, figs or honey instead of sugar.
-Fruits like berries, grapes, apples and cherries have useful enzymes that can add value to your hair health.
What Is Hair Loss?
Hair grows everywhere on the human skin except on the palms of our hands and the soles of our feet, but many hairs are so fine they’re virtually invisible. Hair is made up of a protein called keratin that is produced in hair follicles in the outer layer of skin. As follicles produce new hair cells, old cells are being pushed out through the surface of the skin at the rate of about six inches a year. The hair you can see is actually a string of dead keratin cells. The average adult head has about 100,000 to 150,000 hairs and loses up to 100 of them a day; finding a few stray hairs on your hairbrush is not necessarily cause for alarm.
At any one time, about 90% of the hair on a person’s scalp is growing. Each follicle has its own life cycle that can be influenced by age, disease, and a wide variety of other factors. This life cycle is divided into three phases:
Anagen — active hair growth that lasts between two to six years
Catagen — transitional hair growth that lasts two to three weeks
Telogen — resting phase that lasts about two to three months; at the end of the resting phase the hair is shed and a new hair replaces it and the growing cycle starts again.
As people age, their rate of hair growth slows.
There are many types of hair loss, also called alopecia:
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Involutional alopecia is a natural condition in which the hair gradually thins with age. More hair follicles go into the resting phase, and the remaining hairs become shorter and fewer in number.
Androgenic alopecia is a genetic condition that can affect both men and women. Men with this condition, called male pattern baldness, can begin suffering hair loss as early as their teens or early 20s. It’s characterized by a receding hairline and gradual disappearance of hair from the crown and frontal scalp. Women with this condition, called female pattern baldness, don’t experience noticeable thinning until their 40s or later. Women experience a general thinning over the entire scalp, with the most extensive hair loss at the crown.
Alopecia areata often starts suddenly and causes patchy hair loss in children and young adults. This condition may result in complete baldness (alopecia totalis). But in about 90% of people with the condition, the hair returns within a few years.
Alopecia universalis causes all body hair to fall out, including the eyebrows, eyelashes, and pubic hair.
Trichotillomania, seen most frequently in children, is a psychological disorder in which a person pulls out one’s own hair.
Telogen effluvium is temporary hair thinning over the scalp that occurs because of changes in the growth cycle of hair. A large number of hairs enter the resting phase at the same time, causing hair shedding and subsequent thinning.