Good hair is a result of overall health. No matter how hard you try, your hair cannot be treated singularly. Your hair health needs holistic attention. And healthy hair is just a side benefit of good health.
External Ayurvedic therapies are very potent when it comes to hair health, like hair oils, masks, etc. But when this is coupled with a good diet and lifestyle, the problem gets addressed from all ends. Ayurveda ascribes good hair to good Prana (life force) and hence, fresh and healthy food is the key to good hair.
Remember, when you seek foods that strengthen your hair, expect a problem-free skin and stronger bones as a bonus too. So, let’s begin discussing the foods that help in maintaining your hair and overall health.
This Ayurvedic group includes herbs for external and internal use which have specific action on the hair. It is broadly classified into two subgroups - one which triggers good hair growth and the other that prevents greying.
For the curious, here's the list.
Vardhan - Hair Growth Group
Ranjan - Natural Colour Preservers
- Mango seed
- Japa (shoe flower)
The food items listed under this group in Ayurveda are indicated to be consumed regularly without any untoward effects and are health promoters.
1. Moong Bean
Moong is rich in proteins that are easily absorbed and assimilated in the system. Moong soup is the closest alternative to milk (Bhavaprakasha Pratinidhi Dravya). So you can gain all the benefits of milk without lactose trouble. Moong also soaks up the bad cholesterol .
So what does this mean for your hair? Circulation of cholesterol in your follicles affects hair growth and also triggers greying.  They are high in antioxidants, thus preventing age-related hair damage .
Add a bowl of moong to your diet daily, sprouted, curried, in pongal or pesarattu.
Amla is undoubtedly one of the best superfoods. It is rich in antioxidants. This time tested and well documented herb promotes hair growth and prevents premature greying.  Amla tackles scalp inflammations and dandruff too.
Amla in diet can be incorporated as a juice, whisked in health smoothies, or a spoonful of its powder can be taken at bedtime. Powdered Amla as capsules or tablets is also a great choice for daily supplementation.
3. Cucumber / Earvaru
Cucumbers keep up the hydration in your body and reduce inflammation . Cucumber seeds are cooling and help balance the heat-linked stress on the hair. Cucumber skin is rich in silicon and sulphur, which promotes hair growth.
Cucumber smoothies along with coriander and mint make for a great drink to start the day, especially in hot weather or for people whose body heat is higher than normal (Pitta Prakriti). Cucumber as a snack or salad should be consumed daily.
Buttermilk, or well-churned yogurt, mixed with double the amount of water and spiced appropriately is a hair elixir. Buttermilk along with meals helps absorb vital hair nutrients, especially calcium from the consumed food. 
Buttermilk spiced with coriander and cumin seed powder is a great meal accompaniment. Buttermilk is a Swasthahita dravya, and the habit of consuming buttermilk post lunch is excellent for health.
5. Almonds And Other Nuts
Your hair is naturally vata-dominant and hence, prone to dryness when the vata is disharmonious. Thus, it has a natural affinity for soaking up all the good oils that you put in and out on your body. They give you a boost of Vitamin E, Omega -3 fatty acids and Biotin. 
Almonds, walnuts and chironji are rich in natural oils that are beneficial to hair growth and vitality. They make the hair strong, lustrous and durable.
Don't skip your daily healthy dose of nuts as a snack between meals and avoid the salted fried ones. They can be incorporated in salads, smoothies or can be consumed as fancy, flavoured nut milk drinks.
Drumstick legumes and leaves make a great hair supplement. They are a rich source of major vitamins and minerals needed by the body. The antioxidants present in them protect your hair follicles from damage, balance the hormones and slow the effects of aging, including hair-greying.
Moringa is proven to be rich in anti-inflammatory compounds and can work against dandruff and other scalp sensitivities. 
Fresh Moringa leaves can be bought from the farmers market or just plucked out from the tree. They can be made into a curry and had with rice/roti. Moringa capsules and tablets are easily available and are marketed as natural multivitamin supplementation.
This humble nut deserves a special mention away from the other nuts section (like almonds). Often taken for granted, peanuts  are wonderfully endowed to transform your hair.
Foremost, they are rich in natural oils, just what your hair needs to look full of life and lustrous. They are rich in calcium and silica. These offer tensile strength to the hair. The high vitamin E, zinc, magnesium and biotin content also promote healthy hair growth.
Peanuts can be soaked overnight, can be added to salads, or just eaten as a snack. Vegans can also try milk, curds and buttermilk made from peanuts.
8. Sesame Seeds + Cumin Seeds
This unique combination is a saviour for hair (and bones). Sesame is rich in calcium and cumins help it to get absorbed better in your body. Sesame is a keshya dravya, as described above. It has a specific action on hair growth .
The easiest way to include this in the diet is to eat them after your meals. Taken together, they work like a mukhwas, protect the teeth from the acid onslaught of the meals and never let you be deficient in calcium. Plus, jeera is a great appetizer ensuring your body absorbs the nutrients it needs.
The current hostility towards ghee is understandable. Ayurveda believes that butter should be churned out of curds and then heated to make ghee.
However, the industrialization of the dairy industry has found a neat short cut. The cream is centrifuged out and simply heated to make ghee. The lack of curdling step, digestion by bacillary enzyme, makes this ghee hard to digest and can induce cholesterol issues.
So, buy ghee that is produced by the traditional curd-churning method, or better yet, learn to make it at home. Ghee is excellent for your hair. It is rich in vitamin D, A and E. These are vital for healthy hair, bones and skin.
Have a spoon just as is to start the day, or at bedtime. If the fats put you off, mix it in just about anything - rice, roti, dal, etc. But, do not skip this hair elixir. Ghee is a Swastha Hita - foods that are excellent for everyday consumption .
Coconut is a superfood, which is now proven and experienced through the years of our great culinary heritage. Ayurveda specifically groups coconut under the group - Keshya, which are a group of foods that have potent effects in inducing good hair growth, preventing greying and other hair troubles.
Coconut is so versatile and can be easily incorporated in many dishes. A whole coconut can be just consumed as a snack.
Triphala is a rejuvenator and a very popular Rasayana . It prevents aging, aids digestion, is antibacterial, prevents dental cavities, promotes hair growth (Keshya) and prevents greying (Varnya). Ayurveda reveres Triphala for its myriad health benefits and this wonderful combination, is way beyond just being a laxative.
A spoon of Triphala at bedtime or early morning can help your hair grow lush and be free of greys.
12. Curry Leaves
Curry leaves spluttering in hot oil is the smell of home and mother’s love for many. Apart from the wonderful taste, curry leaves have potent health benefits. They are rich in iron and folic acid. Curry leaves also reverse hair damage and prevents premature greying .
They can be made into chutneys (wet and dry) and can be had with rice, roti, or included in every curry.
13. Methi Seeds
Yes, you knew this already. Didn’t you? Methi’s benefits are plenty and one of them is good hair.  Methi is rich in phytoestrogens and is therefore, a natural stimulator of a thick mane that is devoid of greys.
Methi seeds balance the Vata in the body and thus, are very good for bone and hair. Methi is also a natural inflammatory and thus, reverses stress damage on hair.
Soaked and crushed methi can be taken with a glass of water once a day. Sprouted methi can be incorporated in the meals. Methi can also be added to curries, dals and salads for a distinct flavour.
Pomegranates are tropical elixirs and are again highly valued in the Ayurvedic medicinal system. Current studies have discovered Anthocyanins inappreciably large amounts in pomegranates. This compound is an excellent anti-aging chemical and prevents oxidative stress on hair, skin and the other organs.
Pomegranates have cholesterol-lowering abilities and thus, prevent cholesterol linked hair loss and greying. It balances the hormones and is a rich source of iron. All that are metabolically linked to promote good hair growth and prevent greying.  Pomegranates are included in the Swastha Hita dravyas and are excellent for regular use when in season.
Pomegranates make a great addition to salad, and can also be eaten just as a snack. Pomegranate smoothies and juices also make for good health drinks.
Fennel is an excellent hormone harmonizer. For all the hair fall that can be metabolically linked to thyroid disorders, PCOS and type 2 diabetes, you can find solutions by using fennel regularly in your diet, in inclusion to all the other dietary guidelines.
Fennel reduces inflammation and clears the blood of toxins. They can be eaten just as is, think chewing gum replacement. Fennel water made out of crushed, soaked and sieved fennel seeds qualifies to be a very cooling drink when the sun is at its peak.
Bon Appetit!Know Your Dosha Now