Are you dying for a luscious mane? First fact: great hair has nothing to do with what you apply on it. Second fact: Mom was right; you are what you eat.
Here are the other facts you don’t know about your hair:
- You’re born with all the five million follicles you’ll ever have, but you only have about 100,000 on your scalp.
- Male hair grows faster.
- You lose between 50 – 100 hairs daily.
- The appearance of your hair is affected by hormones, namely: estrogen, thyroid hormones, testosterone, and insulin.
- Keratin is the hair’s protein and has sixteen amino acids with Cysteine as the most predominant amino acid and the contributor to hair’s strength. Plants contain these amino acids. You don’t need to depend on animal foods for a lush mane.
- The health and nutrition of the scalp (made of collagen) directly influence the growth of hair from the follicles by feeding the follicles cells with nutrients from the blood.
So, which are the best plant foods for great hair?
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, an effective antioxidant. High sugar intake plus exposure to the sun’s radiation produce free radicals. The free radicals attach to, attack, and break down collagen – the protein that makes up the skin (dermis and epidermis – with oil glands and blood cells). Broken down collagen loses elasticity and supply of nutrients to the follicular cells reduces curbing hair growth.
Lycopene and tocopherols (vitamin E) in tomatoes possess antioxidant properties and reverse radical-action. This enhances hair growth.
2. Bell Peppers
Bell peppers, especially, the red bell peppers are rich in vitamin C – a micronutrient and vital ingredient for collagen synthesis (metabolically taken up as ascorbate). The levels of vitamin C are higher in pepper than in oranges making bell peppers the best vitamin C source.
Collagen supports follicular cell regeneration leading in faster hair growth because of it has healthy blood tissues for efficient nutrient intake and excretion and removal of metabolic wastes. Therefore, loading up on this vitamin source boosts hair growth.
At the same time, this vitamin has antioxidant properties and fights free radicals keeping collagen elastic and supple. Healthy collagen equals healthy skin and hair.
These are proteins and rich iron sources. Iron is influential in cellular growth, blood cells have iron, and you must have enough iron for proper cellular function. Iron deficiency affects the nutritional status of the body causing a chain reaction that trickles down to poor keratinization loosening the hair structure. Iron from plant sources is absorbed faster than other sources.
4. Exotic herbs
- Rosemary oil: besides easing bloating discomfort and cramping, rosemary oils added to tea promotes cellular growth stimulating follicular growth.
- Burdock root: it is rich in vitamin E and C, and folic acid which boosts cellular growth and collagen production, these culminate in healthy and active hair follicles. Add it to olive oil and cook.
- Green tea: this infamous drink is rich in the anti-oxidant polyphenol. Intake of green tea enhances the scalp’s health and great hair growth in return.
Spinach is a folate and iron powerhouse. Folate is essential for the synthesis of red blood cells while Iron is an oxygen transporter. You need these micronutrients for healthy follicles, collagen, skin cells, and faster hair growth.
6. Pumpkin seeds/ Oatmeal
These two are excellent sources of Zinc. Zinc is a microelement needed in DNA and RNA synthesis. Standard DNA growth equals normal follicular cell division hence hair growth. Additionally, Zinc is a structural stabilizing element for the cell membrane. It also breaks down and removes free radicals enhancing healthy hair growth.
Nuts are potent with omega-3 and omega-6 oils – best oils for moisture retention in hair and on the skin. Nuts are also protein sources boosting hair follicles’ health resulting in healthier, stronger and fuller hair. These nutrients, as well as copper, vitamin E, and biotin protect hair from the sun’s harmful UV radiation. Throw in some Brazil nuts, cashews, and pecans.
8. Avocado oil
This superfood/ fruit has immense benefits on hair. Avocado oil is a rich source of vitamins A, D, and E and the omega-9 fatty acids. The latter is another pre-cursor for cellular growth. Hair growth, strength, lushness, and shine are the benefits of avocado oil.
9. Carrots: for natural hydration through the production of sebum on the scalp.
10. Bananas: Rich in zinc and B-vitamins for hair growth through a healthy skin.
11. Blueberries: for a healthy scalp. Blueberries have a lot of vitamin C and antioxidants.
12. Kiwi: packed with vitamin C for healthy hair follicles.
Get the right nutrients for that luscious mane that makes you go all green on the street. Hair growth, hair fall out, collagen production, hormonal balance, and a beautiful skin have one thing in common, they are their best when you eat right.