This Is the Simple Secret Behind Healthy, Full, and Shiny HairLuke Coutinho
The quality, look and health of your hair on your head depends on what you put in your system. You can have access to the most expensive shampoos, creams, conditioners, and hair treatments. These may be great or detrimental, depending on the chemicals they have. But remember, the most important thing for your hair health is what you feed every one of those trillion cells in the human body. Your hair has its root in your scalp. And what you feed your roots influences how your hair looks, its length and thickness, color, shine, and even how quickly it ages and falls.
Your hair has a life cycle – the growth phase, the rest phase, and the shedding phase. While losing about 150 to 200 strands of hair every day is not a cause of worry, losing clumps of hair, thinning or premature aging is a cause of concern. These are signs that your body is giving you about poor nutrition. If you are already eating healthy and still struggling with these issues, it may point out other lifestyle gaps. These could range from inadequate exercise, sleep deprivation, poor blood circulation, and uncontrolled stress levels that do not let your nutrition reach your cells.
In rare cases, your hair fall could also be genetic. But we cannot always blame our genes. All of us have good and bad genes. In many cases, a poor lifestyle triggers faulty gene expression. What are the other causes you could be experiencing poor health? Let us explore.
What is causing your hair fall?
Fad diets, overtraining, and undereating
People who try to lose weight drastically through crash diets, fad diets, and overtraining, start looking older and experience hair fall. Understand this, if you are overtraining and undereating, you have a nutritional deficiency. A good workout needs to make you glow a certain way. It shouldn’t make you feel exhausted but energetic. A bad workout is when you overtrain, feel exhausted, and sleep because you feel sluggish throughout the day. You lose that glow and start looking haggard and older. When you try to punish your body to lose that weight with exercise, it will not work. You may lose a couple of kilos but you will experience poor hair, skin, and immunity.
If anyone promises you weight loss of more than three to four kilos in a month, it is going to be done the wrong way. The human body can effectively lose about two to three kilos safely and four if you are disciplined and go vegetarian, cut off sugar and processed food and work out the right way. But anything more than that is dangerous. This is the reason why most people who try to work out too hard and undereat have hormonal disorders and never lose that abdominal fat. So, listen to the signs of your body. Get your balanced nutrition, adequate exercise, sleep, and stress levels in place to lose weight the right way and not let it affect your hair health.
Those with hypothyroid or thyroid disorders tend to lose hair. Again what is a thyroid disorder? It is a hormonal imbalance. So, you have to fix your thyroid gland better through lifestyle and nutrition. The answer is not just relying on a pill for a lifetime. There are thousands of people around the world who have repaired their thyroid gland by adopting a holistic and integrative lifestyle approach and overcoming hair fall. Learn how here.
Side-effects of medication
People on high blood pressure medication, antidepressants, and blood thinners tend to lose hair quickly. The side effects of these medications may cause your hair to thin and eventually fall. Now, this does not mean you dump your medication. It is to create the awareness that you need to make lifestyle changes over and above your medication to manage their side effects by keeping your doctor in the loop.
Iron and zinc deficiency
Iron and zinc are key when it comes to your hair. Low hemoglobin can cause hair fall. What’s the purpose of hemoglobin and red blood cells? To carry oxygen and the nutrients from the food you eat to all your cells, including your hair follicles. So, if you don’t have the right number of red blood cells or have low hemoglobin levels due to an iron deficiency, you cannot facilitate the transport of nutrients. Include iron-rich foods like dates, nuts, seeds, moringa, spinach, lentils, and lemons among others, into your meals. Iron-rich foods are best consumed in combination with vitamin C to ensure maximum absorption. For instance, sprinkling lemon juice over green leafy vegetable dishes. Also, remember caffeine and tannins inhibit iron absorption. So, maintain a gap between your meals and tea or coffee.
Similarly, zinc aids hair tissue growth and repair and facilitates the working of the oil glands around the follicles. Zinc is found in most lentils, beetroots, lemons, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and so on.
Vitamin D deficiency
One in three people has a Vitamin D deficiency. Yes, it has a direct connection with hair fall, thinning, and poor hair growth. Vitamin D, although a vitamin, is also a hormone. Yes, while the world may be trying to tell you to stay out of the sun to avoid damage to your hair, it is quite the opposite. Get your dose of sunshine at safe times to increase your vitamin D to boost your hair health.
Overconsumption or underconsumption of protein
Your hair is made of the structural protein – keratin. However, remember that the overconsumption and under-consumption of protein can lead to hair fall. Yes, protein is the building block of every cell in the human body including your hair cells. But if you have poor quality protein, synthetic protein, or excess protein, you won’t be able to break them down into amino acids that do all the magic for muscle and hair growth. Add good quality and quantity of proteins to your meals. The combination of rice and lentils (khichdi, or rajma chawal) is a perfect source of protein and can do wonders for the hair. Other protein-rich foods include nuts, seeds, whole eggs, chicken, and fish. Hummus is also rich in Vitamin A, D, B7, E, C, zinc, iron, and protein which makes it great for your hair, skin, and immune system.
Don’t reach out for that bottle of fish oil right now. You can easily get high-quality omega-3 in sabja seeds or sweet basil seeds. Sabja seeds are rich in omega-3 which breaks down into alpha-linolenic acid which is fantastic for your hair. Other rich sources of omega-3 include flax seeds, walnuts, whole eggs, and oily fish. For those eating eggs, stop separating the yolk from the white. The white has barely three grams of protein and is an incomplete protein. You need the amino acids in the yolk to make it a complete protein. The yolk is also rich in B vitamins and choline that help hair growth.
Excess Vitamin A
People who constantly pop these multivitamins or Vitamin A tablets experience hair fall. Excess Vitamin A can be toxic to your system, but the right amount of vitamin A is excellent because it promotes cell growth. Every strand of hair is a cell in your body. And if you have the right amount of Vitamin A from your carrots, sweet potato, black-eyed peas, spinach, broccoli, and so on. A balanced meal will give you sufficient Vitamin A without worrying about toxicity.
Lack of Biotin
What is biotin? It is Vitamin B7 and super powerful for your hair if you take it in its natural form. Some rich sources include legumes, nuts, seeds, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, avocados, egg yolk, and so on. Of course, today companies make biotin in their formulations. They may work for you but if you go on popping pills, lead a sedentary lifestyle, and are perpetually sleep-deprived, you are wasting your money on a good supplement that can do good for your hair.
Lack of Vitamin C
If you eat three to four fruits in a day or have one or two glasses of raw vegetable juices and eat your nuts and seeds, you get sufficient Vitamin C. Smoking and drinking tea and coffee excessively deplete Vitamin C from your body. Rich sources include lemons, oranges, bell peppers, brussel sprouts, cherries, strawberries, and so on.
There is a connection between stress and hair fall. Elevated cortisol levels throw your hormones like testosterone, thyroxine, DHEA, and estrogen required for hair growth out of whack. Young people today at 25 and 26 years old are dealing with premature graying which speaks volumes about their stress levels. These may range from work to financial, relationships, and emotional stress. But one of the major stressors today is lack of sleep and recovery post workouts. Your hair has a repair and rest phase. If you do not get the required rest and sleep, you will have poor hair quality. Work on your relationships, set respectful boundaries, meditate, engage in hobbies and activities you truly enjoy, introspect on what you can accept, and let go.
ALSO READ: Struggling With Premature Gray or White Hair? Try THIS.
Food and lifestyle hacks for shinier, fuller, and healthier hair
1. Antioxidant-rich foods
Eat antioxidant-rich foods to strike down on free radicals that lower your immunity and cause premature graying and hair fall. Don’t rely on expensive supplements. You can get your dose of antioxidants from fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
Pranayama, meditation, yoga, or even a simple walk help your liver generate a master antioxidant – glutathione. Many lack glutathione because of a poor lifestyle or conventional medication. So, we need to replenish our diet with antioxidant-rich foods.
3. Coconut Oil
You may have the best conditioner in the world but remember every conditioner unless it is organic has a lot of chemicals that can destroy the natural minerals in your hair. The best natural conditioner and tonic for your hair is coconut oil. The lauric acid in coconut oil moisturizes your scalp and hair. It is also effective in protecting your hair from heat damage, fighting infection, regenerating dead cells, and helping existing cells thrive.
4. Curry leaves
Curry leaves are rich in beta-carotene, proteins, iron, calcium, vitamin C, and phosphorus. They prevent hair fall and premature graying and can be an excellent topical application for your hair. Most Ayurvedic and herbal hair oils have curry leaves on the ingredient list. Try this magic hair oil you can make at home. You can use curry leaves to temper your food, chutneys, or buttermilk. Add a few leaves to your vegetable juice or chew them as is.
Beetroot can boost blood circulation towards the scalp thanks to its nitric oxide content that acts as a vasodilator (the ability to open blood vessels). It also helps in fighting free radical damage. You can consume beetroots in your juices, soups, salad, sabzis, desserts, or even stir fry. Check out some interesting beetroot recipes here.
Onion contains catalase, an enzyme that prevents hair fall and premature graying. It is loaded with sulfur – the main ingredient of melanin that gives your hair pigment. You add onions to your food preparations or salads. You can also drink onion juice or use it as a topical application.
7. A Middle Eastern remedy to arrest hair fall
One of the best solutions that we learned from the Middle East that people use for their hair is a combination of olive oil, cinnamon powder, and pure honey. Apply a mixture of these ingredients onto your scalp. Leave it on for three to four hours and then wash it off you. Do this about three or four times a week for at least two to three months. It is considered to be effective in arresting hair fall. Always do a patch test to check if it suits you. Avoid it if you experience any irritation. Make an informed choice.
8. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
Pure apple cider vinegar with mother culture is super effective for your hair. Take equal parts of ACV and water, mix well, and apply it to your scalp. Leave it on for about 30 minutes and rinse. ACV helps keep your scalp clean and gets rid of dandruff. It is anti-inflammatory, helps balance your hair pH levels, and also has anti-microbial properties. Buy apple cider vinegar here.
9. Raw potato juice
One favorite hack that has given many excellent results is raw potato juice. Take a potato, wash it well, and leave the skin on. Juice it and apply it to your hair. Once this thick juice dries up, it dries up to form a thin crust. Wash it off after 30 minutes or an hour. It works as a natural conditioner. You will notice a difference in the color of your hair, volume, and fullness within 10 to 15 days.
When you do an inversion yoga asana, you have blood rush to your head. This is one of the best exercises for your hair because it oxygenates your scalp and helps all your nutrition required for growth reach your hair follicles. Do this under the supervision or guidance of a yoga expert.
Remember, that is no magic pill, food, or supplement to stop hair fall. Before you spend all your money on cosmetics, understand that hair health is an inside-out approach. If you keep spraying the leaves of a plant with chemicals and water every day, it may look good on the outside but will start fading and dying soon. What you need to feed is quality nutrition to its roots. Before trying to find a solution to all your hair problems in a shampoo, conditioner, or supplement, address your root cause. Try finding a holistic solution. You will find it in the drug called lifestyle.
ALSO WATCH THIS: Holistic Living from Home | Dealing with Dandruff
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I am suffering from auto immune disease – Frontal fibrosis alopecia and Lichean planus. Due to this I have lost hair from the front and sides.
Have you got any advice how to grow my hair back
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