The condition of your hair is a clear indicator of the overall health of your body and mind. Whether you are suffering from dull, lifeless hair, premature greying, hair thinning, or hair loss these are often indications of an internal imbalance. In this article I will share with you some changes to incorporate into your daily life in order to get that healthy, vibrant hair from the inside-out!
But first, here is a list of the most prevalent factors of poor hair health and hair loss:
- Lack of sleep
- Hormonal imbalance
- Doshic imbalance (Vata, Pitta and/or Kapha)
- Poor digestion
- Poor liver health
- Excessive toxins in the system
- Iron deficiency anemia
- Poor circulation
- Prescription drugs
An Ayurvedic Diet for Healthy Hair
Increase overall digestion.
Dull, brittle, lifeless hair is often caused by excessive toxins (ama) in the system, leading to malabsorption of nutrients. By increasing the digestion you will begin to burn off these toxins and increase the absorption of the vital nutrients needed.
Eat a diet rich in bone nourishing vitamins and minerals.
In Ayurveda, kesha, or the hair, is the by-product of the bones (asthi dhatu). This means that weak, brittle hair is typically a sign of weak brittle bones. Some important vitamins and minerals to include in your diet (not as a supplement!) are Vitamin D, Vitamin C, and Vitamin B, Vitamin K, calcium, potassium, zinc, magnesium, and boron. Omega 3 fatty acids also play a vital role in bone and hair health.
Include healthy oils in the diet.
Including healthy oils in your daily diet will help nourish your hair from the inside out. Healthy oils will enhance the shine of the hair, create elasticity, nourish a dry scalp and reduce overall dryness and breakage. The best hair-healthy dietary options are coconut oil, almond oil, olive oil, sesame oil and ghee.
Include healthy dairy in the diet.
Healthy dairy contains hair-friendly proteins, vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) and vitamin D. All of these nutrients are necessary for hair follicle health and growth. Of course if you are lactose intolerant, please do not consume dairy as this will impair digestion, increase toxic build-up and further decrease hair health.
Eat a handful of nuts and seeds each day.
Nuts and seeds are great sources of the essential fats, oils and proteins that will help increase your hair health. The best hair-happy options are walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds.
Eat a colorful variety of fresh fruits and cooked veggies each day.
By consuming a rainbow of healthy fruits and cooked veggies each day you are optimizing your storehouse of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. The more variety and colors the better! Some great options for hair-loving health are bitter greens (well-cooked and oiled), sweet potatoes, bell peppers, purple potatoes, purple cauliflower, cooked beets and carrots, cucumbers, blueberries, strawberries, melon, ripe bananas, mangoes, coconut, dates and soaked raisins.
Spice up your meals.
By incorporating warm, digestive spices in each meal, we are able to break down the food easier, while increasing the absorption and assimilation of the nutrients. Some great, hair-healthy options are Agni Churna, turmeric, ginger, black pepper, pippali, cumin, ajwain, fenugreek, mustard seed, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and cloves.
It is quite important to keep hydrated at a cellular level for optimal hair health, growth, elasticity and shine. Make sure you are consuming 6-8 cups of pure, warm water each day, starting with a glass first thing in the morning. Please avoid any and all iced beverages!!! If it is summer and you are in a hot, dry climate, coconut water, cucumber juice and herbal teas such as rose and hibiscus are wonderful for keeping cool and hydrated.
An Ayurvedic Lifestyle for Healthy Hair
Reduce daily stress.
It is mandatory for us to have our daily stress outlets in order to allow us to digest our stress, making sure we do not let it build-up in our body and mind. Some of my favorite de-stressing activities include yoga, meditation, exercise, walks in nature, deep breathing exercises, doing what you love and surrounding yourself with loved ones.
Perform a warm-oil scalp massage.
Massaging the scalp with warm oil each night before bed will help relieve built-up tension, increase circulation and bring needed oils to the hair follicles. If you suffer from split ends, dullness or brittleness, you can oil the scalp as well as the entire hair shaft. I recommend using coconut oil for Pitta-types, sesame oil for Vata-types and sunflower oil for Kapha-types.
Stay “regular” (WARNING! This may get graphic!).
Although not everybody’s favorite topic, having daily bowel movements is vital for the optimal health of your body, mind and even your hair! Typically, one should have 1-2 bowel movements each day, one of them being first thing in the morning. They should be well formed, but soft; easy to pass; and not too strong in odor. If you have tendency towards constipation, toxins will build-up in your system and wreak havoc. If you tend toward diarrhea or multiple soft stools, one will be prone to malabsorption of vital nutrients, as they will be moving too quickly through the GI tract to get absorbed. It is of great importance to regulate your bowels for the health of your hair; and even more so, for your overall health and prevention of disease.
Avoid excessive direct sun exposure.
Excessive sun exposure will increase the Pitta in the body and can lead to premature hair thinning and hair loss. The dry, hot sun will also create dryness in your hair, causing dullness and breakage. Of course, the sun is vital for vitamin D, so it IS important to get some sun exposure for several minutes each day. Just remember to avoid the sun mid-day (during its strongest time) and wear a hat when you plan to be out in the direct sun for a while.
Brush the hair multiple times each day.
A simple daily regimen to increasing the growth and health of your hair is to just brush it. Simple enough! Brush the hair multiple times each day, say morning, mid-day and night; and brush it in multiple directions to get the most stimulation. This regimen will help to increase the hair growth by increasing the circulation of the scalp while enhancing the sheen of the hair, as it releases many volatile oils.
Ayurvedic Herbs for Healthy Hair
Here is a simple list of herbs from the vast Ayurvedic Pharmacy that will help increase the health, strength, growth, color and vitality of your hair.