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22 Oct 2020, Edition - 1927, Thursday

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Health Matters

Baldness – Uncover the unhealthy truth & cure with foods

Indrani Thakurata

For many, nothing could be more upsetting and traumatizing than to realize that they are turning bald. A head full of shiny and bouncy hairs makes us confident and outspoken and the pain of losing the attractive looks and self-confidence puts us in a state of depression and stress.

Although much of it can be attributed to our genes as it may be hereditary but that actually doesn’t mean that we cannot do anything about it. There are many products and measures available these days to either stop hair loss or regain it back, but many do not know that there are natural ways as well like diet. Just by changing what we eat only, can be quite effective in reversing the effects of hair loss and regain them back that you once was proud of. Dietitian Sheela Seharawat, a successful entrepreneur and founder & chief mentor of Diet Clinic Health Care Pvt writes about the diet that can prevent hairfall and busts some myths for us. Read on…

The Bald Facts about Diet

Before we start hunting for the best hair loss products and treatments, we should take a serious look on what’s there on our plates. Food that fuels our body and mind are also responsible for our hair health. Eating a balanced and healthy diet, avoiding stress and extreme and fad diets, are the key in maintaining healthy hairs. Often we live with the notion that eating fruits and vegetables and healthy meats suffice our requirements of a healthy diet, but these often does not suffice for all the essential elements that are required for healthy hairs and its growth.

According to experts, for the cells in the hair to perform better need a proper balance of proteins, complex carbohydrates, iron, vitamins and minerals. Nutritional deficits has often been attributed to hair loss leading to baldness. Eating disorders or in cases of heavy dieting, bulimia and anorexia can temporarily stun hair follicles cause ceasing of hair growth. Such conditions can also happen from insufficient protein, vitamin or mineral intakes. Excessive levels of vitamin A also contributes to loss of hair and stunned hair growth.

Crash diets can also devoid the follicles of vital nutrients and energy, and can cause hairs at once to prematurely enter the shedding phase. As a normal process the nutrients that we get through food are sent to parts of your body that need these first – like the heart, and only if something is left after that, the hairs get their share.

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Meats, especially red meats are very important as it is the richest source of ferritin, an iron source that helps our body produce hair cell protein. In case of its deficiency, proper growth of the hair cells can be adversely affected. Vegans, vegetarians, and those who do not eat red meats are most susceptible. In such cases vegetarians need to ensure that their diet with other complete, or whole, sources of protein like cheese, milk and yogurt. Complete proteins are those that has all the essential amino acids that our body requires.

It is also true that avoiding calories has an even greater detrimental effect on our hairs. Though hair cells are among the fastest growing cells in the body, they are usually the first to suffer when you don’t eat enough as they are not vital for survival.

Some foods that help prevent hair fall

In order to reverse baldness, we first need to make sure that we understand what our hair needs. Hair is made of keratin (a protein based fiber), which actually means it is made of amino acids. These amino acids have to be available in the foods that we eat. A diet that promotes hair growth is the one that is high in iron, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, proteins, vitamins and fatty acids.

-Spinach: a great source of iron, vitamin A and C and protein. Spinach is not only rich in iron, but also contains sebum which acts as a natural conditioner. It also provides with omega-3 acid, magnesium, potassium, calcium and iron and these help in maintaining a healthy scalp and lustrous hair.

-Eggs and Dairy: are rich sources of essential nutrients such as proteins, Vitamin B12, iron, zinc and Omega 6 fatty acids. Dairy proucts also have biotin (Vitamin B7), known to fight hair loss.

-Sweet Potatoes and Carrots: sweet potatoes are packed with beta-carotene that later converts into vitamin A in our body. A deficiency of vitamin A may lead to dry and itchy scalp. Carrots are good for the eyes, contains Vitamin A that also improves hair growth.

-Walnuts: the only known nut that sources biotin, B vitamins (B1, B6 and B9), Vitamin E, plenty of protein and magnesium. These are vital for scalp nourishment and strengthening of hair cuticles.

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