Hair fall is something that afflicts a majority of the population at some point of time in their lives. Even though it does not affect the body or its functions, the effects of hair loss elicit severe reactions from those suffering from it.
It can be safely said that the psychological effects of hair loss plays havoc with our lifestyles. The causes for the hair fall may include hereditary genetics, thyroid disease, fungal infections, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and sarcoidosis. In the quest for an instant miraculous solution, people often tend to overlook something that may really make the difference between beautiful hair and hair loss. In this article we discuss how diet plays a major role in our efforts to control hair loss.
The correlation between diet and good hair has been documented in the ayurvedic texts dating back to the ages. Today modern science only confirms that a poor diet and the resulting deficiencies are a major cause of hair loss. Modern science with the aid of clinical trials and researches has come to the conclusion that if dietary insufficiencies and the deficiencies of micronutrients like iron, zinc, vitamin D, niacin, selenium, vitamins A & E, folic acid, amino acids & proteins, and antioxidants are addressed, hair loss can be overcome.
Ayurveda, the oldest documented system of medicine, and one that is gaining favor with the educated population has a very clear interpretation of the importance of diet and its correlation to a healthy body. Diet comprises of anything that we consume and is the very cause of human and all living existence on this planet. Growth, energy and the proper functioning of the organs are a result of what we eat. An imbalance or a deficiency not only affects the body but may be the cause for all illness in the body. All food that we eat is made up of the Pancha Mahabhutas namely, Prithvi (Earth), Varuna (water), Agni (fire), Vayu (air) and Akasha (aether or ether). The food that we eat is also made up of all the six known tastes which are sweet, salty, sour, hot, bitter and astringent.
Identifying the Diet in Right WayBased on the composition and the taste, food can be classified into two parts: heavy to digest and easy to digest. The food can be again divided into four categories based on the form in which it is eaten and these are:
- Food that can be drunk as in juices.
- Food that can be licked as in lehyams like Chyavanaprash.
- Food that is easily chewed as in cooked rice or vegetables.
- Food that are chewed for longer time before swallowing as in meat.
Hair Types by AyurvedaAyurveda believes that Kesha hair is a sub tissue of the asthi (bone) or a byproduct of the Shukra dhathus (reproductive system). For the development and sustenance of hair, both Prithvi and Akasha play an important role. Now, unlike modern medicine that just looks at hair loss or re-growth, Ayurveda has three distinct ways of looking at hair and these are:
- Kesha Sanjana – pertaining to the origin of hair
- Kesha Vardhana – pertaining to the growth of hair
- Kesha Ranjana – pertaining to the colour of the hair
What this essentially means is that Ayurveda looks at each concern separately and identifies a remedy for each. This approach tends to be more problem-specific and thus offers a better chance of addressing the issue.
In Kesha Sanjana, where the origin of hair is the focus, diet comprises of substances that strengthen asthi and shukra dhathus, and to do this, the qualities of the food that we eat should essentially be rich in Prithvi and Akasha mahabhutas. This would entail having foods which have sweet and astringent properties. In Kesha Vardhana where the growth of hair is the focus, those substances that are rich in qualities of unctuousness (smooth and heavy), slowness, cold and stable, find use. The substances must be sweet, sour and have an astringent taste. In Kesha Ranjana where premature graying of hair is to be overcome, those herbs and minerals that possess the qualities of unctuousness (smooth and heavy), penetrative, hot, light, and motility would be beneficial.
Simple Things to FollowWhile a session with an Ayurvedic physician would help you in identifying your dosha type and the requisite diet approach, there are a few basic things that can be undertaken straightaway. These include:
- Eating food at the right time
- Understanding your body and its nutritional requirements
- Eating foods that are available locally and during their season.
- Avoiding irrational food combinations (like fish and milk)
- Avoiding food that is hard to digest.
- Avoiding chilled water and aerated drinks
- Avoid excessive consumption of tea and coffee.
- Drink lots of water, preferably warm.
“When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use;
when diet is correct, medicine is of no need.”
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