With too many risks involved in making the hair more beautiful, it might prove beneficial to opt for a more natural approach. This article lists down certain vitamins and minerals that are essential for hair health, and the food sources where they can be found.
- Protein – Protein is the hair’s main component. Eat ample amounts of protein to make hair strong and healthy. Foods high in protein include poultry, fish, dairy products and eggs. Vegetable protein sources also include legumes and nuts.
- Vitamin A – This vitamin is essential in producing sebum, an oily compound that acts as a natural conditioner for the scalp. Foods high in beta-carotene such as carrots, pumpkins and sweet potatoes may help boost the hair’s condition.
- Vitamin E – Sun exposure causes hair damage. Eating foods high in vitamin E may help protect the hair from the harmful effects of UV rays. Nuts are an excellent source of vitamin E.
- Zinc and selenium – Both minerals are known to help protect the scalp from damage. Fortified cereals and whole grains are packed with zinc. Oysters, beef and eggs are also excellent mineral sources.
- Iron – Iron is easily an important mineral for the hair. Iron deficiency leads to anemia, which in turn results in inadequate nutrient supply and subsequent hair loss. Animal products such as poultry, red meat, and fish are excellent sources of iron. Vegetables such as spinach, lentils, and other greens such as broccoli and kale are all packed with iron.
- Vitamin C – This vitamin facilitates iron absorption. Vitamin C also bolsters collagen production, which strengthens the capillaries in the hair shafts. Berries, citrus fruits, and sweet potatoes are excellent sources of vitamin C.
- Biotin – Low biotin levels may result in brittle hair and subsequent hair loss. Foods such as whole grains, liver, and egg yolk as well as soy flour and yeast are rich in biotin.
- Omega-3 – Omega-3 fatty acids line the scalp and keep it hydrated. Oily fish such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel are known sources of omega-3 acids.
- Magnesium – This mineral helps fortify the hair and prevent hair loss. Foods rich in magnesium include leafy greens, bananas, avocados and yogurt.
- Vitamin B-complex – This vitamin is essential for cell growth and division. Grains, nuts, and eggs are excellent sources of vitamin B-complex.
Toxins are “hair” to stay
Hair care services continue to gain steam in the U.S., according to the Professional Consultants & Resources‘ 2015 Professional Salon Industry Haircare Study. According to the report, hair coloring remains to be an important service among U.S. salons. Hair coloring treatments attract customers to go for other related services such as hair cuts, styles and straightening. Hair coloring services show a four percent increase, thanks largely to an aging baby boomer population and greater demands for fashion hair color. The report also reveals that keratin straightening services increased by about 3.2 percent, while cutting and styling services increased by 2.6 percent.
Unfortunately, certain hair treatments are known to cause quite intensive damage to the hair. Keratin treatment, for instance, has been labeled a potential health hazard by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). According to the FDA, the treatment poses risks to both the customer and the salon worker. The agency’s main concern is the treatment’s formula that contains traces of formaldehyde and methylene glycol, both of which are known to cause cancer.
“It’s a semi-permanent hair smoothing system that targets the cuticle, or the outside layer, of the hair. It deposits a liquid version of the protein keratin that your hair is made up of along with a chemical preservative—this is then blown dried directly into the hair followed by flat ironing the strand into a straight position…The other negative aspect to these treatments is the temperature at which you must heat the hair to accomplish the goal. Subjecting a fine or heavily highlighted head of hair to a 450 degree flat iron, too, may not leave your hair feeling as wonderful as these treatments tend to claim,” said celebrity hair stylist David Babaii in an article in HarpersBazaar.com.