For us Africans, our hair is one important thing that makes us whom we are, it defines our look, the styles we can make, and makes a great part of our culture.
Afro-hair as we know it, is quite different from all other type of hair. While hair of other races might be straight, wavy, or curly, most black people’s hair is tightly curled to varied degrees. Spirals, coils, loops, zigzags, and various curves are various forms in which it comes. This is why it grows upwards rather than downwards, allowing it to create gravity-defying hairstyles such as afros and puffs.
Kinky hair, often known as afro-textured hair, is the hair texture of people from Africa and the African diaspora. This hair type grows in a small, angle-like helix structure with each strand. The overall effect is that afro-textured hair appears denser when compared to straight, wavy, or curly hair. A person’s hair can have a variety of textures.
History of Afro-hair
Hair was an important part of ancient African civilizations’ culture. It represented one’s family background, social standing, spirituality, tribe, and marital status.
Many African civilizations evolved hairstyles that denoted status or identity in terms of age, ethnicity, money, social rank, marital status, religion, fertility, adulthood, and death in the past. Because the social consequences of hair maintenance were a vital aspect of communal life, hair was carefully groomed by individuals who grasped the aesthetic standard. Hair that was dense, thick, clean, and well-groomed was highly praised and desired. Hair stylists possessed distinct style abilities, allowing them to produce a wide range of designs that reflected local cultural norms.
Hair was frequently styled in accordance with local customs. Communal grooming was a social occasion in many traditional societies, when a woman may mingle and establish bonds with other women and their families. Hair braiding was not traditionally a compensated profession. Since the African diaspora, it has grown into a multibillion-dollar industry in places like the United States, South Africa, and Western Europe in the twentieth and twenty-first century. A person’s hair groomer was usually someone they had a close relationship with.
Growing the afro-hair
It’s not easy to take care of afro hair. Things get considerably worse if you’re trying to grow it long. There are a plethora of prescription and pharmacy solutions available that promise increased revenue. However, they can have negative side effects, and the price can quickly mount.
There are very simple healthy tips for growing your hair. But the basic is understanding your hair and what it needs.
In this article here on African Food Network , we’ll be working you through the important nutrients your hair needs and the 10 best, easily accessible foods that contain these nutrients and in turn helps your hair grow and keeps it healthy.
Iron aids the transport of oxygen to your cells by red blood cells. As a result, it’s essential for a variety of body activities, including hair growth. Iron improves circulation and transports oxygen to the roots of your hair, allowing it to grow faster and longer. Hair loss can be caused by an iron shortage. Anemia, which is caused by an iron shortage, is a primary cause of hair loss.
Omega-3 fatty acid
Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in the cell membranes of your scalp’s skin, as well as in the natural oils your scalp and hair create to stay hydrated. Getting enough of these vital fatty acids can help your hair grow and shine while also preventing dry scalp. A good dose of omega-3s can be obtained by eating wild salmon and other fatty fish like striped sea bass or mackerel twice a week. If you don’t like fish, try flax seeds, walnuts, soybeans, and canola oil, which are all plant-based options.
Vitamin A is required for cell proliferation. This includes hair, the human body’s fastest-growing tissue. Vitamin A also aids the production of sebum, an oily material produced by the skin glands. Sebum helps to maintain hair healthy by moisturizing the scalp. Vitamin A deficiency can cause a variety of issues, including hair loss. While getting adequate vitamin A is crucial, you don’t want to overdo it. Too much vitamin A has also been linked to hair loss in studies.
Beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A, is abundant in sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkins, spinach, and kale.
Animal products such as milk, eggs, and yogurt also contain vitamin A. Cod liver oil is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids.
B6, B12, and folate all contribute to the formation of red blood cells, which transport oxygen and nutrients to all of the body’s cells, including those in the scalp and hair follicles. The cells in your hair can starve if you don’t receive enough B vitamins, causing shedding, sluggish growth, and breaking. These vitamins are abundant in pork tenderloin, but if you don’t consume pork, beans, chicken, oats, and low-fat dairy foods are other good sources.
Zinc is necessary for the growth and repair of hair tissue. It also aids in the normal functioning of the oil glands surrounding the follicles. A typical symptom of zinc deficiency is hair loss. According to studies, addressing zinc insufficiency with supplementation can minimize hair loss caused by deficiency.
However, some anecdotal evidence suggests that supplementing with a high a dose can cause hair loss. As a result, getting zinc from whole meals may be preferable. Oysters, steak, spinach, wheat germ, pumpkin seeds, and lentils are all high in zinc.
Here are 10 magical foods that can help your hair grow
1. Sunflower seeds
The sunflower seed is the seed of the sunflower (Helianthus annuus). There are three types of commonly used sunflower seeds: linoleic (most common), high oleic, and sunflower oil seeds. Each variety has its own unique levels of monounsaturated, saturated, and polyunsaturated fats.
Sunflower seeds are frequently categorised for commercial purposes based on the pattern on their husks. The seeds are known as black oil sunflower seeds if the husk is completely black. The plants are known as oilseed sunflower plants. The oil from these seeds is normally extracted by pressing them. Because striped sunflower seeds are usually consumed as a snack, they are sometimes referred to as candy sunflower seeds.
When referring to the seed in its pericarp, the phrase “sunflower seed” is essentially a misnomer (hull). It’s a cypsela, botanically speaking. The edible portion of the sunflower kernel or heart is called the sunflower kernel or heart once it has been dehulled.
Benefits of sunflower seeds for the hair
- Sunflower seeds are high in elements that prevent hair loss, such as iron, as well as minerals that promote hair growth, such as zinc. Zinc aids hair health by promoting tissue growth and repair. For healthy hair development, grab a handful of sunflower seeds. Sunflower seeds can also be sprinkled on salads or cereal, or added to pancakes or bread.Eat in moderation because they’re heavy in calories. Although healthful, one serving of sunflower seeds (equal to 2 tablespoons) has 110 calories and 10 grams of fat.
- Sunflower seeds provide important fatty acids that infuse your hair with moisture and work from the inside out to hydrate your strands and repair damage. It also provides a protective layer that helps to prevent environmental aggressors from causing harm to your hair, keeping it appearing healthy and robust.
- Sunflower seed oil has a light, airy texture that absorbs quickly into your hair and scalp. Without needing to go to the salon for a hair spa, the emollient characteristics of this oil go a long way in moisturizing and deep conditioning your locks. Massage your hair with cold-pressed sunflower seed oil on a regular basis to make it shinier and healthier!
- Another fantastic hair advantage of sunflower seeds is their capacity to prevent hair loss and encourage hair growth. Sunflower seeds have a special component known as gamma-linolenic acid, which aids in deep conditioning and activating dormant hair follicles. It also helps to protect hair from the effects of numerous environmental elements, resulting in healthier, faster, and stronger hair development cycles.
Benefits of sunflower oil for the hair
Sunflower oil is high in oleic and linoleic acids, which are thought to promote hair grow faster by preventing hair breakage (since the ends are not breaking off). Anti-inflammatory characteristics of oleic and linoleic acids can help prevent itchy scalp and dandruff.
2. Greek yoghurt
Strained yogurt, also known as Greek yogurt, yogurt cheese, sack yogurt, or kerned yogurt, is yogurt that has been strained to remove the majority of the whey, resulting in a thicker consistency than conventional unstrained yogurt while retaining the sour flavor. Strain yogurt, like many other forms of yogurt, is created from milk that has been enhanced by boiling out some of the water or adding more butterfat and powdered milk.
Protein, calcium, iodine, and vitamin B12 are all found in strained yogurt. Strained yogurt goes through more stages than regular yogurt, such as straining fermented milk after coagulation to eliminate liquid whey and lactose, resulting in a higher protein content. Protein level in strained yogurt must be at least 5.6 percent, compared to 2.7 percent in unstrained yogurt. Yogurt Yogurt that has been strained contains less sugar than yogurt that has not been strained.
Benefits of Greek yoghurt for the hair
Greek yogurt is high in protein, which is the building block of your hair. Greek yogurt also contains an element that promotes scalp blood flow and hair development. It’s called vitamin B5 (also known as pantothenic acid) and it may help prevent hair loss and thinning.
- Greek yogurt contains enzymes that aid in the treatment of dandruff and scalp itching. Mix ¼ cup Greek yogurt with a few drops of jojoba oil and massage into the scalp and hair. Before washing it off, leave it on for 30 minutes.
- Greek yogurt strengthens your hair and nails when consumed on a regular basis. It conditions severely damaged and dry hair, making it silky, lustrous, and manageable when applied topically. To make this, combine two tablespoons Greek yogurt with one tablespoon honey, add ¼ teaspoon coconut oil, and apply to strands only. Allow to sit for 15-20 minutes before rinsing.
Salmon is the common name for various ray-finned fish species belonging to the Salmonidae family. Trout, char, grayling, and whitefish are all members of the same family. Salmon are native to the North Atlantic and Pacific Ocean. Many salmon species have been introduced into non-native habitats such as North America’s Great Lakes and South America’s Patagonia. In many regions of the world, salmon are intensively farmed.
Benefits of salmon for hair
Nutrients found in fatty fish such as salmon, herring, and mackerel may aid hair development. They’re high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to increased hair growth. Taking a supplement containing omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids as well as antioxidants decreased hair loss and enhanced hair density in 120 women, according to a research.
Here are salmon recipes you’d absolutely love:
Eggs are a nutrient-dense superfood for your hair. Eggs contain vitamins A and E, biotin, and folate, among other minerals that are claimed to help keep hair strong and healthy. The yolk is high in healthful lipids, which help strands retain moisture and seem sleek and lustrous. Here are 6 astonishing things about eggs and more you need to know.
- Eggs are beneficial not only to the hair shaft, but they can also be beneficial to the scalp. Applying eggs directly to the roots provides much-needed vitamins and nutrients to the hair follicles. New hair grows stronger and is less prone to breakage and loss when the scalp is nourished. And because your hair is thicker and healthier when it isn’t falling out as much, it seems thicker and healthier.
- Applying egg yolks to the hair, according to some natural beauty advocates, can accelerate hair growth. They claim that egg yolks stimulate the scalp and nourish the roots of the hair. Sulfur, which is a crucial component of hair, is one of the key ingredients in egg yolk. Per 100 grams (g) of egg yolk, 164.5 milligrams (mg) of sulfur are present. However, no studies have demonstrated that applying egg yolk to the scalp can help prevent hair loss or promote new hair growth.
- The protein in egg yolks is one of the most important components, as it may be nutritious and shine-promoting. Because the yolk is high in fat, it can improve hair suppleness. Per 100 g of egg yolk, there are 26.54 g of fatTrusted Source.
- Eggs contain a lipid called lecithin, which may aid to moisturize hair. Some cosmetic hair products include this lipid as well. For these reasons, alternative health professionals frequently recommend utilizing egg yolks to treat dry, damaged hair.
Here are egg recipes you’d absolutely love:
- Hams, liver, and eggs fried rice
- Broccoli, ham, and mozzarella baked with eggs
- Stir-fried shrimps and eggs
Spinach is a nutrient-dense food. It has a lot of nutrients in a small amount of calories. Spinach and other dark, leafy greens are good for your skin, hair, and bones. Protein, iron, vitamins, and minerals are also found in them.
Consuming spinach may have health benefits such as improving blood glucose management in diabetics, lowering cancer risk, and enhancing bone health, as well as providing minerals and vitamins that can provide a variety of benefits.
Benefits of spinach for the hair
- Vitamins K, A, C, B2, B6, B1, E, manganese, zinc, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids are all abundant in spinach. These nutrients support healthy hair growth by nourishing your scalp and hair.
- The strong antioxidant content of spinach protects hair and improves scalp health.
- B and C vitamins are great for promoting healthy hair development. They increase collagen and keratin levels, which accelerate hair growth.
Here are spinach recipes you’ll love:
Almonds are high in magnesium and other elements that aid hair growth. Almond prevents dandruff and hair damage by providing sufficient nutrients to the hair follicles, which strengthens the hair strands and reduces hair fall.
- Almond oil is an emollient, which means it can fill in cellular gaps in your hair. Your hair will feel smoother to the touch as a result of this. Over time, using almond oil on your hair will give it a softer texture. You may also notice that your hair is easier to comb through and style if you integrate almond oil into your hair care routine.
- Hair that is treated with specific oils is less prone to breaking and has fewer split ends. Nut oils, such as almond oil, have lubricating characteristics that reduce friction during hair styling. When hair was treated with tiny amounts of oil components, a study on Brazilian nut oils (many of which contain oleic acid and linoleic acid, just likeTrusted Source sweet almond oil) indicated an improvement in hair’s resistance.
- There are no official experiments that show almond oil can help you grow your hair. But here’s what we do know: almond oil helps strengthen hair and make it less prone to split ends, so your hair development won’t be hampered by shedding damaged hair. Vitamin E, which is a natural antioxidant, is abundant in almond oilTrusted Source. Antioxidants protect your hair against environmental stress, making it seem younger and healthier.
- Almond oil can also be used to treat scalp psoriasis and flaky scalp (seborrheic dermatitis). While there are no studies that indicate how almond oil heals these issues, it has been used for generations in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine to treat dry scalp conditions. Source you can trust. By using a tiny amount of almond oil directly on your scalp, you can improve blood flow and add potent antioxidants to your scalp’s surface.
7. Sweet potato
Beta-carotene can be found in abundance in sweet potatoes. This molecule is converted into vitamin A in the body, which is connected to healthy hair. A medium sweet potato (114 grams) contains enough beta-carotene to meet four times your daily vitamin A requirements.
Vitamin A stimulates sebum production, which keeps hair healthy, according to research. Furthermore, vitamin A may help to speed up hair growth and boost the formation of thicker hair, all while preventing the regressing of other hair follicles.
8. Red bell peppers
Peppers are high in vitamin C, which is necessary for the synthesis of collagen. Collagen is required for hair follicle health and optimal development. Vitamin C deficiency can cause hair to become dry, split, and brittle.
Red bell pepper can help prevent hair loss by increasing blood flow, which stimulates hair development and protects hair follicles from DHT’s effects.
Red bell pepper’s spiciness can speed up hair growth by more than 50%. Boil a few red bell pepper slices in water for 10 minutes, then let them cool for 15 minutes. Then leave it on for 30 minutes before rinsing it off. Hair growth will be stimulated if you do this on a regular basis.
Check out this article: 9 types of pepper and delicious African pepper dishes that will spice up your menu
Oysters are one of the healthiest foods for your hair because they’re high in zinc, which aids the body’s production of hormones that promote hair development.
A shortage of zinc in the diet can produce telogen effluvium, which is a common but reversible form of hair loss caused by a nutritional deficiency. Hair loss caused by zinc deficiency can be reversed by taking a zinc supplement, according to studies. Taking too much zinc, on the other hand, may cause hair loss. Because foods provide zinc in modest but healthy quantities, acquiring zinc through meals like oysters may be preferable to taking supplements.
Beans are an excellent plant-based source of protein, which is required for hair development. Beans, like oysters, are high in zinc, which helps with hair development and restoration. Black beans supply 7% of your daily zinc needs in a 3.5-ounce (100-gram) portion.
They also include iron, biotin, and folate, all of which are beneficial to hair. Aside from all of these advantages, beans are extremely adaptable and affordable, making them a simple addition to any diet.
Here are African beans recipes you’d love: