Essential foods for healthy skin and hair

Adding these foods to your diet will help you get glowing skin and increase your hair growth naturally.

A visit to the salon can give you glowing skin, shiny looking hair and perfect nails, but are they really healthy from within? Try the traditional and natural ways to enhance your beauty, and consume foods which can promote your skin and hair health.

We invest a lot in the perfect beauty regime in terms of creams, shampoos, serums, conditioners, masks etc. but at the same time the importance of a great diet should not be ignored at any step.

foods for skin and hair health
Give your skin a natural glow with these foods. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

​Dr Rinky Kapoor, consultant dermatologist, cosmetic dermatologist and dermato-surgeon, The Aesthetic Clinics, tells HealthShots, “There is no magic food that will keep your skin young and hair healthy forever, but choosing the right ingredients for your plate will definitely prolong the process of ageing. Keep in mind that what you eat shows on the skin. For example, a night of binge eating and drinking reflects in the form of dull skin and dark circles.”

Now that you know why the right diet matters, Dr Kapoor suggests the following essential foods for glowing skin and long hair. And you can find them easily!

Top foods for healthy skin and hair:

1. Protein

The first thing to focus on is your protein intake. Proteins are the building blocks of collagen (keep skin young), elastin (for supple skin), keratin (healthy hair), and better muscles. A low protein diet can cause the skin, hair, and nails to become dull and lifeless. Too much protein is also not good as then the body converts it into fat and stores it at places you definitely don’t want to see any fat.

2. Fats

Essential fats are essential! No this does not mean the greasy pizzas, but we are talking about the omega 3s and 6s. Lack of essential fat is the prime cause behind dry and itchy skin and hair. Your body does not make them so you need to eat them. The fat also helps keep the inflammation down.

3. Iron

Iron is required for strength. If there is not enough iron in your diet you will end up with pale, itchy skin, dull and brittle hair, and cracked nails.

4. Vitamin A

Vitamin A is needed to prevent drying. You can get maximum vitamin A from the colorful foods in your diet. Again, overdoing vitamin A can lead to liver damage and a yellow hue.

foods for skin and hair health
Certain foods rich in vitamins A, B3, C, E and K can help you with clear and healthy skin. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

5. Vitamin C

It is needed to make collagen and fight off oxidant damage. Just as the sunscreen protects the skin from the outside, Vitamin C and E protect it from the inside.

6. Silicone

Silica or silicone is responsible for the growth of collagen and maintaining hair thickness and restoring strength to the hair.

Plan your diet better with these foods:

Of course, we understand that it is impossible to pick a fruit or veggie to compensate for one essential diet, so here is a shortlist of food items to help you plan your diet better, according to Dr. Kapoor.

1. Whole grains: Whole grains will fulfill many requirements such as essential fats, vitamins, and oxidants. Therefore, swipe your regular breakfast to oats and muesli with some fruits thrown in for good measure.

2. Seafood is best for the essential fats but if you can’t eat fish then other options include flaxseed, olive oil, almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, safflower oil, sunflower oil, soya bean oil, corn oil, flaxseed (linseed) oil, olive oil, borage oil, blackcurrant seed oil, walnuts, Brazil nuts, peanuts, almonds, oats. etc. A mango chia seed pudding makes an excellent filling dessert.

3. Lean meats are a known source of protein and for vegetarians the options include paneer, legumes, dal, rajma, soy, tofu, brown rice, barley, rajgira etc.

4. Nutty Nuggets: Nuts of all kinds are power packed and include fats, vitamin E, vitamin B, and even proteins. The options include peanuts, cashew, almonds, walnuts, dried grapes, etc.

5. Citrus way includes kiwifruits, oranges, and lemons. They will take care of the vitamin C requirements that help in collagen formation. Red and yellow bell peppers are also a good idea.

foods for skin and hair health
Ready for a vitamin C glow up? Image courtesy: Shutterstock

6. Rainbow colors such as carrot, pumpkin, tomato, mango, spinach, egg yolk, and watermelon are included for a healthy-looking skin and hair.

7. Sweet potatoes are the go-to food for beta carotene. Roast them, boil them, or grill them. They taste good in every way.

8. Water and liquids: You need fluids and flavonoids in your diet to protect from UV damage and you will get them from water, green tea, black tea, hot chocolate, and even an occasional glass of red wine.

So how much of what food group/item to include? Here’s what Dr Kapoor suggests:
  • One serve of protein.
  • Two serves of low-fat dairy products
  • Handful of nuts
  • Minimum of one fruit
  • 6-7 liters of fluids

You can combine the various items as per your taste and mood.

  • For example, you can make oats with almonds, walnuts, flaxseed, and some Indian masalas or simple soak oats and muesli in milk overnight.
  • For lunch, instead of having whole grain chapati every day, add a little variety with mixed flour rotis, or bajra rotis with little white butter.
  • Evening snacks can include some sprouted moong, fox nuts, and sautéed peanuts or you can simply use a different nut for each day.
  • Keep the soup and salad for the nighttime. There are millions of ways to make soups and you can customize them according to your taste.

So are you ready to boost your diet for the skin and hair or your dreams?

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