I was in India a couple of years back, enjoying goat trotters at a relative’s place. An elderly uncle asked me, ‘Do you get goat trotters in the UK’? And when I said yes, his next question was ‘are they expensive’.
My reply surprised him and others present at the family gathering. Here’s what I replied: “they are not expensive, we get them at throwaway prices, but what is expensive is Bhindi,” or Okra as you call it in English. Bhindi is an everyday vegetable in India, but to find fresh, tender okra in the UK is a real treat.
Vegetable and fruit shopping is one of the fun weekly activities for me. It gives me great pleasure to buy fresh, seasonal vegetables. Of course, as you know, vegetables keep us healthy and fit, but they are also great for our skin and hair.
So what vegetables should you eat for healthy hair? Everything available in your region, including okra. But here are my top three picks that you must eat if you are not already eating:
Yup, not a universal favourite, but it’s great for your health and great for your hair. So what makes beet good for us?
Well, beets are packed with antioxidants. In fact, they have been ranked as one of the 10 most potent antioxidants vegetables. The benefit of antioxidants is they offset the effect of free radicals (unstable oxygen molecules in the body), which can cause damage to healthy cells – including our hair cells.
What’s more, this sweet, earthy tasting vegetable helps protect and improve our liver function. And according to ayurveda, if our liver is happy, our skin will glow, and hair will grow.
How do you eat: You can chop beetroot in small pieces, squeeze lime juice and salt, and eat it as a side salad. I also like to make beetroot stir-fry, it tastes delicious with rice and some dal.
Cabbage is another unassuming vegetable with great hair and health benefits. The inexpensiveness of cabbage and health benefits earned it its nickname ‘drug of the poor man’ during the Middle Ages.
So what makes cabbage good for us?
It’s the rich amounts of vitamin C, fibre and sulphur compounds that it contains. Sulphur is essential for the production of amino acids that are the building blocks of our muscles, tissues as well as hair. So by including sulphur rich foods such as cabbage, we help our hair get strong and healthy from the inside.
What’s more, cabbage is also an excellent source of vitamin C, which aids in maintaining the health of our blood vessels. And if our blood vessels are healthy, they will supply more oxygen and nutrients to the hair follicles. And that is, of course, good for hair growth.
How do you eat: Cabbage tastes great in stir-fries or fried-rice. You can use it alongside spring onion, pepper and carrots.
After the two unassuming vegetables – beetroot and cabbage – let’s look at the popular veggie, Spinach. Spinach is a superfood. It is loaded with tons of nutrients that benefit our skin, hair and bones. Spinach is an excellent source of iron, magnesium, vitamin A, C, E and Bs.
As many of you may know, iron deficiency is one of the common causes of hair loss in women. So by eating spinach and other leafy green vegetables, you add iron to your diet.
Another nutrient that spinach provides is vitamin A. Now vitamin A doesn’t directly promote hair growth, but it helps to produce sebum or natural oils of our scalp skin. Sebum acts as a natural conditioner and helps moisturise our scalp and gets rid of dry, itchy skin. Plus, sebum makes hair soft, smooth and shiny. Pretty cool, huh?
How to eat: You can add raw spinach to your sandwiches. You can also lightly sauté spinach with oil, garlic and some salt. Or add spinach to your omelettes, pastas and soups.
These are my top three vegetables to nourish hair from the inside out. Do you eat any of them? What are your favourite veggies and how do you eat them. Let me know in the comment box below…