Your hair needs a lot more than a good shampoo to look good

  • Shikha Sharma, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Feb 14, 2015 20:22 IST

Of course your hair reflects your style, your current mood and your sex appeal. But many of us fail to realise that it’s also one of the biggest markers for our overall health. Healthy hair needs balanced proteins, zinc, biotin, vitamins C and A, iron, folic acid, essential oils and good pH balance of the skin.

pH balance:

An unhealthy scalp is an acidic one, the result of a diet that includes too much tea, coffee or aerated drinks, or one that consists of fried, oily food. This leads to excessive hair loss and dandruff. Trans fats are also unhealthy for the hair. But what you consume may not be the only culprit.

Improper hair hygiene means that the sweat and oil glands on your head get blocked, choking the roots of your hair with the end products of perspiration and oil. To avoid this, use a mild shampoo regularly.

Dry hair: Stress, hormonal changes or a diet low in good fats can lead to dry hair, which in turn can lead to hair loss.

Weak hair:
Damaged or weak roots and hair follicles can lead to weak hair. This could be the result of using strong hair products to straighten, perm or colour your hair. A protein deficiency could also be the culprit. Good sources of protein for your hair include tofu, soya milk, paneer, sprouts, fish, eggs and other non-vegetarian products. To digest the protein correctly, eat fruits like pineapple and papaya which contain natural enzymes.

Vitamin C:
The best sources are amla, sweet lime, oranges and lemons. Amla is used extensively for hair health, whether as a local application or in the form of a murrabba, chutneys, juice and dried candy.

Eat nuts and dried seeds such as sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, sesame seeds and pine nuts. Some breakfast cereals come fortified with zinc.

Anaemia causes hair fall. Kamal kakdi (lotus stem), spinach and green leafy vegetables are good sources of iron.

Vitamin A:
Make salads of vegetables that are red and yellow in colour, such as carrots and peppers. You can also juice or sauté them.

Available in eggs, peanuts, soyabean and whole grains like dalia and multigrain dalia.

Omega 3 fats:
Found in flaxseeds, walnuts and pumpkin seeds.

Coconut water:
Contains several essential minerals and electrolytes.

Good hair packs and rinses
* Amla, mulethi and shikakai.
* Banana, aloe vera gel and crushed fenugreek seeds.

Good hair oils
* Brahmi in coconut oil.
* Amla and hibiscus flower paste in coconut oil or olive oil.

From HT Brunch, February 15
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