According to science, the most important thing for hair health, above all, is a balanced diet. Dr Amitabh Kumar, skin specialist, Max Hospital, Delhi, pins lustrous hair on a steady diet of “protein sources, like lean meats, pulses, and yogurt.”
High Oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) value foods (that means foods that are very high in antioxidants) also aid the cause, Dr Kumar says. This includes expected things, such as dark chocolate, and unexpected things, such as cloves, which you can dump on anything.
Everything is fun and games until the doctor tells you sugar must be avoided at all costs.
“High sugar ups inflammation throughout the body. We know that inflammation plays a huge role in hair loss,” Dr Anupam Dey, a Kolkata-based dietician says. Sugar also indirectly affects the metabolism of hormones, which, we also now know, is a bad thing for hair.
Dr Dey is enthusiastic about including eggs in your diet for a healthy head of hair. It contain biotin which can improve hair growth and strengthen nails. “When it comes to shiny hair, eggs are your friend. Eggs contain sulfur, which helps produce collagen and keratin, two important proteins for creating and maintaining healthy, shiny hair,” Dr Dey says.
Alternatively, a supplement with the right balance of vitamins can help you achieve a nourished scalp, which can contribute to hair (plus nail) growth. One study showed that taking a vitamin E supplement daily improved hair growth by 42%. “Look for a formula made for hair, skin, and nails with ingredients like biotin, vitamins C, and E, iron, and omega-3,” Dr Kumar says.
Armed with the list of foods below, you could radically overhaul your diet in search of excellent hair. Maybe it wouldn’t help. But it never hurts to try:
For a healthier scalp: Fatty fish, walnuts, and flaxseeds are packed with omega-3 fats, which can prevent dry scalp and dandruff.
For strength: Yogurt and peanut butter are high in protein, a main building block of great hair and a source of elasticity.
For silkiness: Lean meats and tofu have loads of iron and zinc — minerals that are crucial for keeping hair smooth.