Food for hair growth and thickness
My best friend is a hairstylist, and one of the topmost hairstylists in the Country Dilshad always said to me, I had so much of hair that she never got enough of it. While I don’t say this with any ego, all I can say in my defense that I’ve eaten right and also have managed to stay away from foods that do not serve blood and organ condition. Yet I do realize it is such a big issue, and I see so many clients coming to me with very genuine problem viz-z-viz their hair fall, thinning hair, loss of hair because of the imbalance in hormones, dull and lifeless hair, alopecia.
Your hair energy comes from kidney energy, the hair relies on the nourishment of the Kidney Essence to grow. If the Kidney-Essence is abundant, the hair will grow well and will be healthy and glossy. If Kidney-Essence is weak or is declining, the hairwill become thin, brittle, dull looking and may fall out altogether. The quality and colour of the hair are also related to the state of the Kidney-Essence. If the Kidney-Essence is strong, the hair will be thick and of a good colour. The Liver-Blood also influences the hair and there is therefore an overlap between the Kidneys and Liver as the organs influencing the state of the hair. Thus dull, brittle and dry hair may indicate a Kidney deficiency or a Liver-Blood deficiency; however, prematurely grey hair generally indicates a Kidney deficiency.
For those women who experience hair fall because of the male hormones being pushed, remember to get them checked and not forget the DHT test (Dihydrotestosterone) this is what testosterone converts to and its three times mor potent than testosterone. It is the main cause of male-pattern of balding, which also occurs in women. High DHT can cause female androgenic alopecia. Also, something that a lot of women go through pre- or post-menopause is hair loss at the temples. While sometimes hair loss is associated with high androgens, it is more common in women with thyroid, low iron and insulin resistance (PCOS).
Blood tests you can do to determine where you stand –
- Ferritin (determines iron stores in the body).
- TSH – Thyroid Stimulating Hormone, free T3 and reverse T3.
- Fasting insulin and glucose.
- Complete blood count (immune system).
- Testosterone (free testosterone).
What to avoid for hair loss
- Sugars, including hidden sugars in products, watch out for high glycemic index (GI)foods and eat low GI foods.
- Dairy and dairy products.
- Foods with colours.
- Hydrogenated fats.
- Trans Fat and refined oils.
- Nitrates – found in cured and preserved or flavoured meats.
- Monosodium Glutamate (MSG).
- Processed foods.
- Coffee Sodas/colas.
- Fried foods.
- Excessive alcohol.
- Minimize xenoestrogen exposure (coming from environment, even your make up and home detergents) especially BPA exposure (mainly in plastics).
Foods and supplements that help with hair growth
- Including high fiber foods (you need to clear out testosterone):whole grains, lentils/beans, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seedsand fermented foods.
- Eat foods that have zinc: sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, tofu, tempeh, edamame, hemp seeds, cashews, pine nuts, lentils, shiitake mushrooms, spinach, green peas.
- Eat more good quality protein (be it plant-based or non-vegetarian)
- Add chromium (200 to 1000 mcg) per day; helps and acts like an insulin sensitizer.
- Add inositol (improves insulin sensitivity); for those who comes from a PCOS lineage.
- Vitamin D.
- Use cinnamon to bring down insulin levels (1/2 teaspoon in water daily).
- Eat for lower androgens, which means it low GI (glycemic index) foods (less than 55 out of 100). This will reduce androgens by 20%.
- Women with more omega-6 compared with omega-3 in their blood have higher circulating androgens; women with more omega-3s have lower androgens. Taking fish or fish oil supplements for non-vegetarians or flax and chia for vegetarians will get you these.
Lifestyle aids that help with hair growth
Depletion of Kidney energy happens when you are fatigued and you push your adrenal glands; therefore what exercise you do is important and how you rest and take care of stress.
- Exercise including both cardio and strength (Pilates, weight training or functional).
- Be regular with meal times.
- Regulate sleep habits.
- Engage in meditation.
- Add yoga and pranayama.
- Keep stress under control (adrenals and kidneys control hair).
- Use shallots by juicing them (either by grating and squeezing, or by adding some water and running in a blender) and applying on bald spots (to stimulate hair follicles).