Categorized | Prevention

Let Food Help Your Hair

Our hair grows approximately 1.25 cm or 0.5 inches per month.  According to dermatologists and trichologists, the most important thing for the growth of new and healthy hair is the vitamins and nutrients that we get from food.  A well-balanced diet can help strengthen your hair, make it look gorgeous and healthy as well as prevent or even reduce hair loss.

What does your hair need?

Here is a list of elements that should be included in your diet to maintain your hair’s health and beauty.

Protein

Sources of proteins

Sources of proteins

About 90% of each hair strand is composed of a protein substance called keratin which is produced in the cells at the base of the hair.  It is important to supplythe cells with enough protein to produce keratin.  In order to ensure the hair grows healthy, your body should be regularly supplied with food that is protein-rich.  If, for example, you have a protein-free diet, your hair will become dry, brittle and even start falling out.

The most valuable sources of protein are eggs, milk, meat, fish, cheese and cereals. The recommended daily intake of protein depends on your health and age – usually 2-3 servings of protein-rich products will meet the daily needs of an adult person.

 

Omega -3 and Omega-6 fatty acids

Sources of  Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids

Sources of Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids

These acids are essential for the normal functioning of the human body.  Omega-3 fatty acids are found in the scalp cells and provide the oils that hydrate your hair and scalp. Omega-6 fatty acids aid in stimulating hair growth. The lack of these acids may result in dryness of the scalp and dull hair.

These acids cannot be produced by the body. They can be supplied by eating such products as fish (salmon, tuna, sardines, herring, etc.), nut and plant oils, avocado and walnuts.

 

 

Vitamins

Vitamins are very important

Vitamins are very important

Vitamins are involved in all biochemical reactions occurring in thehuman body.  They are an essential component of metabolism and stimulate the functioning of all body organs and systems.  This is why deficiency causes various health problems with the skin and hair the first to suffer.

Vitamin A. There are two types of Vitamin A: preformed Vitamin A (retinol) which is found in animal source foods, and pro-Vitamin A (beta-carotene) found in plant foods.  This vitamin is important for the production of sebaceous matter which is a natural conditioner for your hair. Vitamin A deficiency may cause itchy scalp, dandruff, and dry hair, whereas the excess of this vitamin may provoke serious health problems as well as hair loss.

The best sources of Vitamin A are eggs, cheese, liver, fish oil, cod, carrots, pumpkin, broccoli, apricot and melon. The recommended daily intake of Vitamin A is 900 mcg for men and 700 mcg for women.

Vitamin E is an antioxidant; it significantly slows down the aging processes and assists in the absorption of Vitamin A.  If there is a deficiency of this vitamin in your body, your hair becomes weak, stops growing and starts falling out.

The best sources of Vitamin E are soya beans, cereals, vegetable oils, wheat germ, green-leafy vegetables (spinach, broccoli), nuts, sunflower seeds. The recommended daily dose is 15 mg for men and for women.

B vitamin complex

vitamin-B-complex

B vitamins are water-soluble, cannot be accumulated and should be regularly consumed

B Vitamin complex. These vitamins are water-soluble and, as such, cannot be accumulated in the body and should be regularly consumed.  But be aware that they are destroyed by alcohol, refined sugars, nicotine and caffeine!

  • Vitamin B1 (thiamine) Lack of enough thiamine in your body will cause your hair to become dull and brittle.  Vitamin B1 is found in brewer’s yeast, whole-grain cereals, bran, nuts, wheat germ, legumes, liver and pork. The recommended daily dose is 1.2 mg for men and 1.1 mg for women.
  • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) participates in metabolism and plays an important role in the redox reactions. Among other health issues, the deficiency of Vitamin B2 causes oily scalp and dry ends of the hair.  The main sources of riboflavin are chicken, whole grains, dairy products (yogurt, milk), brewer’s yeast, eggs, mushrooms, broccoli, soya, salmon and Brussels sprouts.  The recommended daily dose is 1.3 mg for men and 1.1 for women.
  • Vitamin B3 (niacin, nicotinic acid)stimulates blood circulation and exerts a positive influence on the hair follicles.  The lack of Vitamin B3 leads to premature gray hair and hair growth problems.  To get enough niacin with food, you should eat any of the following products: beef liver and kidney, brewer’s yeast, cereals, peanuts, sunflowers seeds, fish (salmon, herring, swordfish, tuna).  The recommended daily dose is 14 mg for men and 16 mg for women.
  • Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) promotes the synthesis of fatty acids and steroid hormones, takes part in the processes of carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism and also improves the oxygen supply to the hair and strengthens hair follicles.  Vitamin B5 is found in many foods including corn, liver, cereals, peanuts, cauliflower, caviar and tomatoes.  However, it is destroyed during food processing.  The recommended daily dose for men and women is 5 mg.
  • Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is involved in the assimilation of fats and proteins and promotes proper synthesis of nucleic acids.  Pyridoxine deficiency leads to dandruff, scalp itching and dryness.  The sources of vitamin B5 are poultry, starchy vegetables like potatoes, eggs, fish, cereals, milk, melon and cabbage.  The recommended daily dose is 1.3 mg for both men and women.
  • Vitamin B7 (biotin or Vitamin H) improves the structure of hair keratin and deficiency can result in hair loss.  The greatest amount of biotin is found in beef liver, spinach, beets, nuts, cabbage, rice bran, champignons, white mushrooms and egg yolk. The recommended daily dose formen and women is 30 mcg.
  • Vitamin B9 (folic acid) enhances hair growth.  The foods containing this vitamin are milk, beef liver, fortified cereals and grains, root vegetables, leafy greens (spinach, asparagus), beans, turnip, Brussels sprouts, soybeans, salmon, wheat germ and avocado. The recommended daily dose is 400 mcg for men and women.
  • Vitamin B10 (para-aminobenzoic acid)promotes skin nutrition, improves tonicity, prevents premature graying and premature aging and enhances hair growth. Vitamin B10 is found in mushrooms, eggs, liver, wheat germs, spinach, brewer’s yeast. The recommended daily dose is 400 mcg for men and women (the same as B9).
  •  Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) takes part in cell division. Cobalamin deficiency leads to itching, dry scalp and may cause Alopecia Areata. The only products containing Vitamin B12 are of animal origin – beef liver, poultry, eggs, dairy products, pork and fish. The recommended daily dose is 2.4 mcg for men and women.

 Vitamin D enhances the absorption of calcium in the body and also supplies hair follicles with fatty acids which help prevent hair loss and help to promote hair growth.  Very few foods contain Vitamin D; however fatty fish (tuna, salmon, etc.) is its best source.  Small amounts of Vitamin D are found in cheese, beef liver and mushrooms.  The recommended daily dose is 15 mcg/day for men and women.

Vitamin C helps protect the scalp cells from the action of free radicals which are the main agents of aging and dryness of the skin.  This vitamin also protects human skin from inflammations and improves the condition of the blood vessels and, as a result, the hair is supplied with all the required nutrients and the lifespan is significantly increased.

To get enough, Vitamin C you should include any of the following foods in your diet: fruits (orange, watermelon, kiwi, grapefruit, avocado, pineapple), tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and cranberries. The recommended daily dose 90 mg for men and 75 mg for women.

Minerals

Mineral deficiency may be reflected on your hair, skin and nails

Mineral deficiency may be reflected on your hair, skin and nails

Minerals affect the acid-base balance of blood, water-salt metabolism and the ability of the blood to coagulate.  Blood pressure, immunity, the functioning of circulatory and musculoskeletal systems depend on minerals as well.  Mineral deficiency may result in serious disorders (anemia, osteoporosis, etc.) and the first signs of mineral deficiency will be observed in the hair, skin and nails.

Iron is involved with the oxidation processes and oxygen transport.  Iron deficiency causes hair loss and makes hair ends split and the hair to look dull. The main sources of iron include red meat, tuna, eggs, liver, dried beans, oysters, prunes, spinach and raisins.  Iron found in animal-source foods is more easily absorbed by the body than from iron found in plant foods. The recommended daily dose is 8 mg for men18 mg for women.

Zinc is responsible for the activity of the sebaceous glands.  The lack of zinc may lead to a certain type of hair loss called telogen effluvium and cause thin, white and brittle hair.  The food source of zinc includes poultry, red meat, fish, oysters, cheese, tofu, peanuts, mushrooms, sunflower seeds and shrimps.  This mineral is best absorbed if taken with food that contains zinc. The recommended daily dose and is 11 mg for menand 8 mg for women.

Silicon promotes the synthesis of elastin and collagen which makes hair stronger and more flexible. Silicon is found in root vegetables, chicken and cereals.

Calcium is a building material for the horny layer of the hair; its deficiency causes hair breakage and hair loss.  The best sources of this mineral are dairy products and milk, cheese, broccoli, Brazil nuts, oysters, dark leafy greens, almonds, kelp, sardines and salmon.  But for calcium to be effectively absorbed, it should be taken with vitamins A and D.  The recommended daily dose for adults is 1000 mg.

Selenium provides the delivery of calcium into the hair cells.  The lack of selenium may provoke various skin conditions and result in hair loss and the slowing of hair growth.  Selenium is found in sunflower seeds, garlic, Brazil nuts, wheat germ, liver, fish, whole grains and oysters.  The Selenium found in unprocessed foods is better absorbed by the body. The recommended daily dose for adults is 55 mcg.

Copper is required to maintain the structure and color of hair.  Copper deficiency may cause hair to lose its flexibility, become dull and weak and scalp dermatitis.  To get enough copper, enrich your diet with beans, potatoes, whole grains, kidneys, shellfish, nuts, dark leafy greens and dried fruits.  The recommended daily dose is 90 mcg for males and females.

What foods should you avoid?

It stands to reason that you should not only enrich your diet with healthy foods, but also avoid useless and harmful products. There are several key rules to follow to have a healthy diet:

  • exclude fast food and carbonated beverages from your diet, because they promote splitting hair and breakage and give hair too much oil, all of which could result in hair loss.
  • reduce the consumption of animal fats, sweets and sausages.
  • increase the consumption of vegetables, fruit and dairy products.

There is an old saying,you are what you eat”.  Your overall health, the strength and beauty of your hair depends on eating the right food.  If your hair is not looking its best, then there is something amiss in your body and you’d be wise to revise your diet.   It is a fact – you will reap the benefits by having dazzling, shiny, strong and beautiful hair!