Our hair is made of a tough protein called keratin that grows in 3 phases:
- First phase – Anagen –where each hair spends several years in this growth phase.
- Second phase – Catagen – the transitional phase where hair growth slows over a few weeks and the hair follicle shrinks.
- Third phase – Telogen – the resting phase where hair growth stops and the old hair detaches from the follicle, leaving room for a new hair to start growing.
Different people have different hair growth rates according to factors like genetics, health, age and even diet.
With aging and frequent hair colouring, your hair will turn grey or white as pigment cells die out.
There are various hair treatments that help make your hair look and feel “healthy”, but do bear in mind these are all chemical-based.
Age and genetics are factors that cannot be changed for hair growth. Stress plays a part in hair loss, so if you are going through a stressful time, try to think of ways you can alleviate the stress.
Diet, though, is something you can control for hair growth. A diet lacking the right nutrients can lead to hair loss, so eating the right foods will help maintain your crowning glory. Today’s article will highlight some foods that promote hair growth.
Top on the list are eggs, as they are a good source of 2 nutrients that promote hair growth – protein and biotin.
As hair follicles are mostly made of protein, include an adequate quantity of eggs in your daily diet to help your hair to grow. Biotin is essential for the production of keratin, which is why this nutrient is often sold as a supplement or found in hair growth products.
Apart having from protein and biotin, eggs also contain selenium, zinc and other nutrients that promote hair growth, making them one of the best foods for optimal hair health.
Being a leafy green vegetable loaded with nutrients such as folate, vitamins A and C, and iron, spinach has been noted to promote hair growth.
The skin glands on your head needs vitamin A to produce sebum, the natural oil that moisturizes your scalp to keep the hair healthy.
Iron helps promote hair growth, as it helps in blood circulation which aids hair growth and repair.
Fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, protein, selenium, vitamin D3 and B vitamins, all of which are linked to hair growth. If you don’t like eating fish and find your hair thinning, an alternative would be to take a fish oil supplement to increase hair growth. Do consult your doctor first though, as some supplements taken with medication have caused adverse results.
Herring, mackerel and salmon are fatty fish that may promote hair growth, but mostly imported and on the expensive side. Eat more local fish that are freshly available like grouper (kerapu bintik jingga), yellowstripe trevally (ikan kuning), yellowtail scad (selar), Barramundi (siakap), red snapper, mullet, silver pomfret (ikan bawal) Spanish mackerel (tenggiri) and fivefinger threadfin (kurau), all of which are rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, vitamins D and B2 and iron.
Sweet potatoes contain lots of beta-carotene that the body converts into vitamin A. Vitamin A has been shown to speed up hair growth, encourage growth of thicker hair and prevent hair follicles from regressing.
A medium-sized sweet potato (~115 gms) has sufficient beta-carotene to convert into more than 4 times of your daily vitamin A requirement.
Zinc helps promote hair growth and the repair cycle, and oysters are one of the best sources of it. Research has shown a lack of zinc is related to telogen effluvium which is a common form of hair loss that is reversible.
Taking a zinc supplement can reverse telogen effluvium. However, taking too much zinc can contribute to hair loss. Consult your doctor before taking zinc supplements.
Apart from the foods mentioned above, other foods that have been found to promote healthy hair growth are meat (protein rich), red meat (iron rich), soyabeans, beans, shrimp, avocados (excellent source of vitamin E) and berries.
For hair to be healthy and grow well, the body needs the right balance of nutrients like zinc, vitamins A, C, D and E, iron, protein, biotin, essential fatty acids and B vitamins. Do take steps to correct any deficiency that you have, to address hair loss and promote healthy hair growth, by including some of the above foods to your diet.
This article is meant to provide general information on hair growth, but is not to be taken as medical advice. Readers are advised to consult a doctor or a trichologist (hair specialist) for proper advice.
31st July 19:30 2020