Healthy hair and nails may require time, effort and money or an extensive beauty routine, treatments or to try out different supplements but did you know your diet can play a big role?
However, eating a wide variety of nutritious foods is a key to health and wellness. Lets check how our diet with various macronutrients, minerals, and vitamins can support healthy hair and nails in different ways.
Dark Green Leafy Greens
Dark Green Leafy Vegetables provide us with many benefits. For example, Spinach, Kale, and other dark leafy greens are a good plant sources of iron. Our hair follicles and roots receive required nutrients via blood, and blood flow is depends on proper supply of iron in diet.
Iron deficiency can be linked to hair loss. Iron deficiency may also cause nails to become flat and brittle. It may cause a nail disease called koilonychias, that makes nails as spoon-shaped. There are many easy ways to include more leafy greens in diet.
A top dietary source of omega-3 fatty acids, that helps keep hair strong and healthy. As part of a study, 120 women were given supplements containing antioxidants, omega-3, and omega-6 for up till 6 months and 90% of them experienced reduced hair loss and increase in hair volume. As per other reports, omega compounds in fish increase hair growth and lead to reduced hair loss within 3 months of consuming marine protein supplements. Oily fish are also excellent sources of protein and vitamin D, both nutrients that are good for skin, bones, teeth and nails.
Shellfish are a rich source of the mineral zinc, required for protein synthesis and cell growth in our bodies. Protein synthesis is essential for healthy hair and nails, and helps with repair and to boost growth. Major symptoms of zinc deficiency are hair loss and nail abnormalities. As per some studies zinc levels are lower in people who have hair loss (alopecia) and may provide some benefits to ease the condition.
Olive oil is a key component present in Mediterranean diet. It is known to have myriad health benefits which includes reduced risks of hair loss and promotes healthy hair as per some observational studies. Olive oil is can also be used as a hair mask, conditioner, or for scalp massage and treatment because of its softening and moisturizing properties.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and edible seeds are a rich source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that is beneficial to maintain healthy hair. Studies states that 8 months of vitamin E supplements led to 34.5% increased hair volume. This is due to the antioxidant property of vitamin E, that protects against hair damage due to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is linked to graying of hair and aging as well as hair loss. Nuts and seeds also provide healthy fats, zinc, and plant protein, that are good for hair health.
Hair and nails are actually made of the protein keratin. Good quality protein, in adequate amount is crucial to provide the building blocks for healthy, and strong hair and nails. Beans, lentils, and other pulses, for example peas and chickpeas are healthy sources of protein that can be added in your diet. These foods also contain other beneficial nutrients for hair and nails including biotin and zinc.
Peanuts are a source of vitamin B7 (biotin), a less popular B-vitamin. Biotin has long been known to strengthen the hooves of horses and it does the same to our hair and nails. As per some studies, biotin supplements can help strengthen brittle nails, prevent nail disorders, improve hardness and firmness of the nail and reduce splitting. Biotin is also present in our hair follicles and a deficiency of it can contribute to brittle hair.
Whole grains like oats, barley, brown bread and rice provide silica. This plays a structural role for many tissues of the body including skin, hair, nails, and bones. As per many , silica can help to reduce rate of hair loss and increase the brightness hair researches. These foods also provide other beneficial nutrients for hair and nails like zinc, iron, and B vitamins.