Seven Tasty Foods to Eat to Get Gorgeous Hair in Thailand
Oh Thailand. I love you, but sometimes the changeable weather conditions you throw at me leave my hair and skin wrecked.I usually have to turn on the air-conditioning when it's hotter than a freshly cooked pancake, but recently it's been blowing an arctic chill and my hands and lips are actually chapping. What the hell!?
My hair is unhappy. As well as forcing it to deal with Thai weather, I dye it, dry it, brush it... and it screams.
Here are seven foods that you can buy in the markets and restaurants of Thailand that will make your hair a bit more cheerful.
Brown rice has a special B vitamin that improves hair elasticity and makes it helluva less brittle. Other good stuff in those hearty brown grains kicks your hair cell renewal ports up the ass, which means every hair becomes thicker and more luxurious, like the plush carpet in the new cinema at Promenada. You can buy brown rice at the market or supermarket and eat it in healthy restaurants like Pun Pun and Anchan.
Sadly, not the chocolate kind. Eggs are cheeper than chips here, and way better for you. Zinc stops your hair from getting greasy quickly, choline banishes split ends and sulfur makes each strand strong.
Hair is made of protein, so you should have a protein-rich diet to maintain its beauty. In fact, if you don't eat enough, your hair might start falling out. Eep. One egg has around six grams of protein. Most street-food sellers will add a fried egg on top of your meal for five baht.
Chinese kale is one of the magic ingredients in Pad Si Ew, which is one of the best Thai foods there is - and only thirty baht at most street-food carts. Magnesium and carotenoids make your hair shine. Weirdly, you won't find any carotenoids in carrots but you will find lots of it in kale. You'll also find a lot of iron, which is another thing you have to have enough of if you don't want to go bald.
Red cabbage and blueberries
No, not together! Both of these wonder foods get their purple colour from anthocyanin pigments. These are great news in Thailand because they help to reduce the damage caused by sun exposure and environmental chemicals - two things that Thailand has plenty of. Blueberries also have lots of vitamin C, which aid your body's iron absorption and help your body to produce natural collagen, which strengthens the capillaries in your hair shaft.
Loads of coffee and smoothie shops in Thailand sell blueberry smoothies. Check it's made using fresh or frozen blueberries rather than a sugary synthetic syrup and drink up. You can get red cabbage at most supermarkets and many markets. It's especially tasty when it's raw and crunchy in a salad.
This oily fish is super popular in Northern Thailand, and is often eaten with Thai-style omelette (cha-om) and chili dip (nam phrik). Mackerel contains omega-3 fatty acids that our body simply cannot make by itself. They keep your scalp and hair hydrated, so you won't have to deal with dandruff, which can be a problem for many ladies in hot and airconditioney environments. You can buy mackerel in supermarkets, markets and at food markets. Be careful when buying salted mackerel - it's not kidding, it's very very salty. I like to use a small amount of mackerel to cook in a curry for hours on a low heat so the bones disintegrate, otherwise they're really annoying.
Pumpkin seeds contain those omega-3 fatty acids too, and you can buy packets of those in 7-11. Try to get a low-salt packet, because the really salty ones are gross. When avocados are in season, they are a cheap and tasty way to get omega-3 in you.
There's loads of pumpkin in Thailand, and it's dead cheap too. In restaurants you'll find pumpkin curries, pumpkin soups, veggie burgers with pumpkin inside, pumpkin fries and pumpkin pies and whole load of pumpkin desserts. In the supermarkets and markets, you won't believe that this disgusting, rotten-looking knarled up beast is really a pumpkin. Really, it is! It might not be as beautiful as it's 'Western' sisters but it's just as tasty. Pumpkin has a lot of vitamin A, which again stops you from getting a dry, itchy scalp.
Picking up a packet of peanuts from 7-11 will do more than just stave off hunger. These cheap nuts are full of zinc, selenium and vitamin E' the latter two help to relieve the effects of sun damage to hair and skin. You can buy unsalted ones in the supermarkets. You can usually find all-natural locally made peanut butter in healthy restaurants and food stores.
TIP: It's not just what you eat that makes a difference to the condition of your hair... it's what you slather all over it, too.
Buy a bottle of pure coconut oil and massage loads of it into your hair every now and then. It turns your hair from frizz-bomb to silk-pillow if you leave it on your hair for a few hours. Even better, apply it after you've washed and thoroughly towel-dried your hair, wrap your coconutty hair up in clingfilm and go to sleep. Shampoo the next day and be amazed.
I try to do this coconut oil treatment every two weeks. My hair is a wild beast and this seems to be the only thing that will tame it a bit. I can really tell if I forget to do it. It's way better than any hair product I've bought in the past.
If it's chilly, the oil may have hardened into a white, waxy block. Put the bottle in quite hot water (not boiling) to melt it back into oil. I take it into the shower with me and keep it under the hot water as I'm washing, ready to use on towel-dried hair when I'm finished!