It is everyone's desire that they should possess good looking lustrous hair. In order to have such healthy looking hair one has to take good care of hair tresses. It is observed that an average adult has about 100,000 to 150,000 hair strands and loses about 100 of them per day. Thus when one loses more amount of hair then it is alarming. It is very important to eat diet containing good amounts of proteins as well as take good care of the scalp to avoid this hair loss. Hair is made of a kind of protein called keratin; hence, it is important to take the correct amount of protein to enhance hair growth.
What is the Normal Hair Growth Cycle and the Importance of Protein in this Process?
Hair is mainly made of a protein called keratin. It is produced by the hair follicles. The living portion of hair is found in the follicle. While the hair which is seen outside is considered as 'dead'. The base of the hair root contains cells that produce hair shaft. The hair growth has a specific growth cycle consisting of three different phases as anagen, catagen and telogen phases. Each of these phases has specific characteristic that determines the length of hair. The first phase of 2-3 years is of increased hair growth. Once this phase gets over, the hair enters into the resting phase for three to four months. They get shed off and are replaced by new strands of hair. As reports indicate that lack of protein diet affects hair growth as a large number of hair strands enter into the resting phase. The hair becomes brittle and thin and is lost. Thus proteins are needed for good hair growth and hair texture. In addition, other nutrients such as folic acid, silica, Vitamins A, B, C and zinc, selenium and iron too are required for optimal hair growth.
Proteins for Hair Growth
It is reported that most people experience hair loss due to inadequate protein intake. People who are vegetarian show a high proportion of protein deficit; while the non-vegetarians get their proteins from meat, fish and eggs. Most doctors advise that the daily protein intake should be ideally 30% of the total calorie count that one consumes. Hence, people who eat only vegetarian food need to supplement their diet with other complete sources of protein.
The following food sources of protein should be included in the diet for healthy hair growth:
- Eggs: These are the rich source of proteins. Egg has a very high biological value since it contains essential amino acids which are very necessary to our body. In addition, eggs also provide Vitamins B12 which improve the hair growth. Vitamin A and B3, minerals like zinc, selenium, sulphur and iron keep the scalp in good condition and promote hair growth.
- Oysters: This sea food is also rich in proteins. They contain good amount of zinc which prevent dry scalp and hair loss to occur.
- Proteins from Dairy Products for Hair Growth: Drinking milk and intake of cottage cheese provide both good amounts of calcium and protein to the body. Thus, they help to promote hair growth.
- Shrimps for Hair Growth: This sea food is also rich in proteins. It contains good amount of vitamin B12, iron and zinc. These vitamins prevent hair from breaking.
- Consumption of green peas, lentils, legumes, soy, quinoa and yoghurt also supplies body with amino acids which are essential for making of proteins in our body.
Other Nutrients Required for Hair Growth
There are other food sources which also promote hair growth by providing essential vitamins and minerals. These include:
- Protein from Red Meat for Hair Growth: Red meat is a good source of iron and is important for hair growth. It also provides sulphur which allows hair growth by increasing blood circulation. In addition, it contains high amounts of Vitamin A and Vitamin B3; both these vitamins keep the scalp in good condition.
- Salmon Fish intake for Hair Growth: Consuming salmon fish provides body with omega-3- fatty acids and Vitamin D. These nutrients prevent hair loss. Some portion of our hair shaft and scalp is made of these fatty acids.
- Asparagus: It contains good amounts of folic acid and Vitamin B. Both of which allow the body to absorb more proteins and helps in fast hair growth. It is a good source of fibre, iron, silica and Vitamin E. All of these improve overall health of the hair.
- Flax Seeds: These contain both good amounts of iron and are rich in omega-3-fatty acids. These ingredients help to support scalp and promotes good hair growth.
- Intake of Oats for Promoting Hair Growth: Oats contain potassium, magnesium, phosphorous and iron which promotes hair growth. Oats are important to maintain the hair color since they help in melanin production.
- Green Leafy Vegetables: These promote good hair growth. They contain good source of Vitamin A and C, both these vitamins promote the sebum production which conditions the hair and allows hair growth to take place.
- Bean sprouts contain silica which is a necessary nutrient for good hair growth. It prevents hair fall.
Preventing Hair Fall
Along with good diet, it is important to maintain the good quality hair by using mild shampoos and less of hair styling products. One should quit unhealthy diet and alcohol and smoking habits too.
97% of hair is made of protein. Only by consuming good quality protein containing diet, proteins will be supplied by the body for hair growth. Lack of proteins leads to hair loss. Once hair loss begins it takes a long time to rectify the problem. Thus, including adequate amounts of protein in diet is important for healthy growth of the hair.