Hair is made up of a protein matter called keratin. It grows out of a hair follicle beneath the surface of the skin. The hair is actually fed by the nutrients in the bloodstream, which flow to the follicles with the blood. Deficiencies in the diet can lead to inadequate supply of nutrients to the follicle. Since the hair is made up of protein, the diet should contain adequate protein. Yes, we all know that protein is necessary for strong, healthy hair, but recent research findings indicate that a high protein diet of meats can lead to a deficiency of certain minerals, undermining the health of the body and thus, affecting the hair. The daily diet is as important for the hair as it is for every part of the body. Apart from proteins, the daily diet must supply the body with adequate amounts of vitamins, minerals, trace elements and bioflavonoids. It should also provide enough enzymes for the proper breakdown and utilisation of proteins.
Therefore, a balanced diet plays such an important role in the health of the hair. Protein is one of the main nutrients for hair growth, while amino acids are the building block of protein. Having a small bowl of sprouts daily controls hair loss and also promotes hair growth, as sprouts are rich in amino acids. Nutritionists say that fish and sea food are ideal for enhancing healthy hair growth. Protein can be obtained from lean meats, fish, egg, paneer, yogurt, dals, peas, beans and nuts. Sprouted grains are of great benefit to the hair. Moong and kala chana can be easily sprouted at home.
External hair treatments, containing protein, also help to strengthen the hair and restore health. Protein has other benefits too that improve the texture and look of the hair. For instance, some ingredients that are rich in protein may be applied on the hair to add body and thickness. They also make the hair appear healthy and shiny. Applying egg on the hair has been a beauty treatment for centuries. Eggs, especially egg whites, are rich in protein. For oily hair, apply egg white 20 minutes before shampoo. This not nourishes and cleanses the hair, but also adds body. For normal to dry hair, apply the whole egg or only egg yolk.
Milk also contains protein that helps hair growth, by nourishing the hair. It is full of nutrients and contains different kinds of proteins. Milk can be applied on damaged hair to soften it. After your shampoo, rinse the hair with milk and leave on for 5 minutes. Then rinse off with plain water. For extremely dry hair, add a little milk to egg yolk and apply on the hair half an hour before shampoo. The hair becomes soft, smooth, healthy and lustrous. Yogurt can also be similarly applied on the hair before shampoo to restore the pH balance and enhance hair growth.
A pre-shampoo treatment can also be done with a hair pack containing powdered milk. Add a little water to make a thick paste. Apply it on the hair and do the hot towel wrap to nourish the hair.
Other proteins like lentils, soyabean and yogurt are also used to cleanse the hair and enhance growth. In the Shahnaz Signature Salon, protein packs are applied during the Hair Spa Treatment, which contains lentils and soyabean. Yogurt is added to the pack. It is a powerful nourishing and hair conditioning treatment. For a home treatment, soak a cup of moong dal without skin overnight; make a paste in the blender with water. Apply this like a pack and wash it off with plain water after half an hour.
Indeed, proteins not only enhance the health and beauty of the hair, but can also reverse the damage and restore health to the hair.