We are always on the lookout for good products for our hair. To find a product that suits your hair and helps improve it is harder than finding a life partner. But did you know, there’s only so much that such hair products can help with? That is right, strengthening or nourishing hair from the inside is more important. So we are going to discuss nutrition for hair in this article.
Get to know your hair better
Hair is actually a protein called keratin that is present in a filament form on your skin. The human body except for some areas is covered with hair that grows from tiny follicles in the skin called hair follicles. These follicles contain living cells that divide and grow to form the hair shaft. The blood vessels present in the hair follicles deliver the essential nutrients and hormones to promote the growth of hair.
Factors that affect the quality of hair
Let us take a look at the factors that affect the quality and growth of hair 1. Hormonal imbalance – An imbalance in the sex hormones called estrogen and testosterone affects the hair quality in women and men respectively. Androgen, also known as male hormones is also responsible for quality and hair health.
2. Underlying health conditions – Certain health conditions such as thyroid or other disorders that affect the hormonal levels affect hair health. Autoimmune diseases such as Crohn’s or Lupus also affect the hair.
3. Genetics – Your genes decide your characteristics. The quality of hair or characteristics of hair such as hair color, texture, density also depends on your genes. You can observe typical hair traits such as hairline, bald patterns running in a family.
4. Lifestyle – Your sleeping pattern, stress, and diet all affect the quality of your hair. Increases stress levels, less sleep, and an inadequate diet can lead to deteriorated quality of hair. Many nutritional deficiencies can also affect quality and health.
5. Exposure to toxins – Toxins from various cosmetic products, smoking, and pollution are major factors when it comes to hair health. These toxins accumulate in the body and deteriorate the quality of hair.
6. Infections – Fungal or other infections of the scalp affect the quality of hair. Infections such as dermatitis, alopecia, dandruff, etc., affect the scalp and cause inflammation of the hair follicles. Once subsided, hair quality can be regained.
7. Aging – As individual ages, the living cells that are responsible for hair growth eventually die and thus affect hair growth. This may cause hair thinning, receding hairline, and baldness. A healthy lifestyle and proper diet can help delay these effects.
Nutrients for hair
In order to improve the quality of hair, it is important to nourish them from the inside. While the other factors such as genetics, diseases, and exposure to toxins are not completely in your control, diet is. Apart from eating clean and healthy, it is important to address the deficiencies and correct them. Your hair needs some extra care when it comes to nutrition.
Here is the A, B, C, D, E of nutrition for hair, quite literally. Following nutrients are crucial for healthy hair
1. Vitamin A – It plays a role in cell growth, and more importantly it is required for sebum production. Sebum is the oily compound that keeps your scalp moisturized and nourished. Include foods such as carrots, sweet potatoes, green leafy vegetables, eggs, and fish in your diet.
2. B Vitamins – These play an important role in forming blood vessels that deliver hormones and other nutrients to the hair follicles. This helps to promote growth as well as the quality of hair. Biotin particularly plays an important role when it comes to hair. Include foods like whole grains, cereals, nuts, and seeds for B vitamins.
3. Vitamin C – It is an antioxidant vitamin that protects the body from free radical damage. Free radical damage can cause a hindrance in hair growth and lead to hair thinning. Apart from that, it also plays an important role in boosting collagen that is a part of the hair structure. Include foods like citrus fruits, leafy greens, and berries in your diet.
4. Vitamin D – The role of vitamin D in hair growth is not fully discovered yet, but the deficiency of it is linked to an increased risk of alopecia. Alopecia is a condition where an individual loses patches of hair and goes bald over a period of time. Although sun rays are the main source, include foods like fish, mushrooms, etc., in your diet.
5. Vitamin E – This vitamin is also an antioxidant nutrient that helps in reducing oxidative damage in the body and protects it from free radical damage. Having said that, vitamin E promotes hair growth and improves the quality of hair. Include rich sources of good fats such as nuts and seeds, fatty fish, and avocados in your diet.
6. Protein – The basic structure of hair is keratin – a type of protein. Proteins are therefore called the building blocks of the body. They are required for the growth and nourishment of hair. A diet deficient in protein will affect new hair growth and may lead to hair loss, and unhealthy texture. Include sprouts, pulses, lentils, eggs, and lean meat in your diet.
7. Iron – Iron is the carrier of oxygen. The role of this nutrient is to deliver oxygen to all parts of the body. A deficiency of Iron leads to a condition called anemia, this condition is linked to deteriorated hair quality and density due to a low supply of oxygen. Include foods such as leafy greens, fresh dates, lentils, etc., in your diet.
8. Zinc – Being a micronutrient, it is often neglected. It is a micronutrient but is crucial for healthy hair. Zinc deficiency is often linked to hair loss or baldness. It promotes hair growth and improves the quality of hair. Include zinc-rich foods such as lentils, leafy greens, whole grains, seeds, etc.
Biotin for hair
Out of all the nutrients required for healthy hair, the most important is Vitamin B7, also known as Biotin. You must have come across people who swear by biotin supplements for hair. This is because it plays the most important role in hair growth and quality. This is the most trending supplement that you will come across on social media today.
How does Biotin help in hair growth and quality?
Your hair is primarily made up of keratin – a type of protein. Biotin promotes the production of this protein and boosts hair growth. It also nourishes hair follicles and increases the rate of follicle growth. This helps in improving the density as well as the texture of hair.
Biotin supplements are available for both – topical and internal use. There is a wide range of hair care products that contain biotin, especially shampoos and conditioners. Although, since the topical use is superficial, the effect is temporary and might not last long. Biotin supplements are more beneficial since biotin cannot be stored in your body for long, regular consumption is suggested.
Consult your doctor or health expert before starting any supplements. To help you provide the right nutrition to your hair, andMe has launched a plant based Biotin Powder! This powder is made with 7 unique herbal extracts, Amino Acids, Omega 3, Hair Vitamins, DHT blocker. This powder helps with hair growth, strengthens hair and repairs hair structure.