5 Nutrients To Combat Hair Loss In Winter

The dropping temperatures, snug pull-overs, and warm lattes; winter brings a sense of happiness to most. However, for those with thinning hair, this season may bring the exact opposite emotion. While it is normal for you to lose hair in winter [1], an excessive amount of this can be quite disheartening. Don’t pull out your hair in worry just yet, we tell you ways to fix this with amazing nutrients and foods. 

  1. Iron: Iron [2] controls the hemoglobin in your body, which is used to transport oxygen in the blood and to your organs. If you are low on iron, your body finds it tough to get enough oxygen, especially to your hair and nails, causing hair loss. Have iron-rich foods or supplements to strengthen your hair. 

Foods Rich in Iron: Green vegetables, mangoes, lentils and beans, nuts and seeds.

  1. Selenium: You body has enzymes that are responsible for killing the harmful free radicals that affect your skin and hair cells, causing hair fall and premature aging. Selenium [3] helps them be more reactive, which means fight better. It even helps balance the thyroid function and boosts antioxidants, both of which help in better hair strength. More importantly, it is used to treat dandruff, a common side effect in dry air of winter season.

Foods Rich In Selenium: Brazil nuts, wheat germ, whole grains, oats, brown rice, fish, seafood, and lean meats.

  1. Zinc: Zinc [4] influences your hair follicle’s protein structure. In addition, it acts as a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor (5-ARI) that manages hormone-related hair loss. In fact, most hair supplements have zinc to stop and even reverse the early stages of balding.

Foods Rich In Zinc: Meat, seafood and fish, legumes and beans, dairy, eggs, and whole grains

  1. Protein: Proteins are the building blocks of life, and amino acids [5] are building blocks of protein. They help breakdown foods, move nutrients to the bloodstream, and regulate hormones and appetite, so they’re a vital part of your body. Your hair cells are full of amino acids, but the harsh weather can reduce and damage these nutrients, hence you need to replenish them with your diet. Not only do they stop hair fall, but they also aid in creating healthy and shiny hair.

Foods Rich In Protein: Meat, fish, dairy products, pulses, soy

  1. Biotin: This is a water-soluble vitamin B [6] that helps process certain nutrients like amino acids and minerals, and convert them into useful energy for the body. It helps revitalize your hair and keep them strong.

Foods Rich In Biotin: Egg yolk, roasted almonds, cauliflower, mushrooms, sweet potato, spinach

Along with a healthy diet of the above items, ensure that you care for your hair with organic shampoos and oils.

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2003996
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3678013/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4828511/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6380979/
  5. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-20041-9
  6. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/drp/2015/841570/

No More Winter Blues: 7 Ways to Stay Healthy In This Season

The much-awaited winter season has finally arrived! While you’re glad to get some much-needed respite from the scorching sun, this season also brings with it a few notorious guests such as cold, flu, joint pain, dry skin, dandruff, and more. If you’re battling week-long flu or those unexpected aches and pains, then we have a solution for you. Try tips listed below to combat these issues and enjoy the season in full swing.

  1. Eat Right

  • Fiber: Make sure to include plenty of fiber-rich fruits such as apples, pears, and dried fruits [1] in your diet as they help prevent inflammation. Substitute your daily dose of potatoes with sweet potatoes as they have high fiber content. 
  • Protein: Milk and dairy products such as cheese and yogurt are great sources of protein, calcium, vitamins A and B12. They can improve your bone health and strengthen the immune system [2]. 
  • Antioxidants: Mushrooms are one of the richest sources of natural antibiotics and antioxidants along with onions, garlic, ginger, and turmeric. These foods are great immunity boosters [4]. 
  • Vitamins: Opt for colorful fruits and vegetables as they are a good source of the phytochemical – beta-carotene that aids in better immune function. Vitamin D is vital for better bone health and muscle function, and the lack of it can lead to joint and muscular pain. For this vitamin, get adequate sunlight exposure and consume foods such as oily fish, milk, fortified cereals, yogurt, and egg yolks.
  1. Supplements

While food is the best source of nutrients, sometimes these may not be enough. Additionally, the food preparation process and digestion tend to kill most of the essentials in food. Hence, fill this gap with dietary supplements of vitamin C, vitamin D, calcium and Omega 3 fatty acids.

  1. Drink Herbal Teas

There are several herbal teas available in the market that help you stay healthy during winters. These are ginger, lemon, tulsi, peppermint, and chamomile [5], which not only ward off common colds and flu but also soothes your nerves and provide better sleep. 

  1. Wash Your Hands

Though this may sound a little weird, it is a must-have practice during the winter season (and all year round) to protect yourself and others. Frequent washing your hands can prevent the spread of flu and cold. 

  1. Do Not Skip Workout

The chilly weather can often make you feel lazy and tempt you to skip the workout. However, stay determined to engage in some exercise for at least thirty minutes every day. It can be a brisk walk, jogging, yoga or Zumba. Daily exercise will not only improve your physical health but mental health as well.

  1. Give Extra Love To Your Skin

Moisturize your skin at regular intervals as the cold weather can make it dry and dull. Include yogurt and honey in your home-made face packs as they have excellent moisture-locking and antibacterial properties. Always carry a lip balm wherever you go. Dandruff is another common problem faced by many during winter. To prevent it, wash your hair on alternative days with sulfate and paraben-free shampoo.

  1. Give Warmth To Aches & Pains

A hot water bag can provide great relief from aches and pains during winter. The transfer of heat to aching areas reduces inflammation and reduces pain.

As the cold weather moves in, finding the motivation to stay healthy and fit is quite challenging. However, by paying extra attention to your wellness routine you can stay away from common winter health problems. Make sure to sleep for at least eight hours as your body needs enough time to rest and repair. Drink plenty of water to flush out all toxins from the body.

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3649719/
  2. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/five-ways-to-stay-healthy-this-winter/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4684115/
  4. http://www.phytojournal.com/vol2Issue3/Issue_sep_2013/39.1.pdf
  5. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/8c16/540f738c3572102a86efc0b4308d29f3d7f2.pdf

Grandmother Knows Best: 6 Scientifically-Backed Remedies to Survive Winter

Temperatures in India are on a steady decline and winter has set in with cardigans, mufflers, sweaters, and monkey caps around. Unfortunately, this is also the time when most of us get a common cold, cough, flu, and have joint pains. Interestingly, in this season most of our grandmothers charge into the kitchen and prepare natural remedies in a secretive sort-of manner. While we may have avoided these kitchen-remedies our whole lives, we may need to pay heed to them now, as even science says that our grandmas were right. 

Desi foods by grandmothers provide wonderful concoctions of nutrients and immunity, which are beneficial for the entire body, so we tell you the best home remedies for surviving winter.

  1. Cold and Cough: Sniffles, sneezes, fever, and body aches, the common cold can be quite a downer during the party season.

Grandma’s Remedy: Heard about the magic potion called ‘kaadha’? It is made with two power ingredients pepper and turmeric. The latter is known to increase mucous secretion, which helps flush out the harmful bacteria. Plus, its antibacterial properties help fight the infection. Pepper is also antibacterial and contains vitamin C for boosting immunity. 

  1. Immunity Issues: Has it happened to you that despite wearing all possible layers of warm clothes, you still manage to catch the flu? This indicates a problem of low immunity. 

Grandma’s Remedy: To strengthen your immunity, consume a combination of ginger juice [2], basil (tulsi) leaves, and a teaspoon of honey. Ginger has anti-inflammatory benefits and is anti-bacterial to help the immune system fight better. Basil leaves increase natural antibodies and T helper cells in the blood, thereby increasing immunity. Similarly, honey also has antibacterial properties that help strengthen your body from the inside [3]. 

  1. Chest Congestion: A common winter complaint is that of wheezing, sore throat, and sleep difficulties due to congestion of mucus in the chest.

Grandma’s Remedy: Heat cow’s ghee in a pan and add a few garlic cloves to the same. Massaging this gently on your chest will help you fight chest congestion. The usage of cow’s ghee is part of Ayurvedic treatment for relieving cold-like symptoms, while the intense aroma and antioxidants in cloves provide relief from chest congestion. [6]    

  1. Joint Pain: If your morning has started with muscle cramps, backache or knee pain, try this before you pop that pain killer.

Grandma’s Remedy: Have a spoonful of turmeric with ghee or turmeric milk. Curcumin in turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties that ease the pain, reduce swelling and ensure smooth functioning of joints. Additionally, the fat in milk or ghee helps make turmeric more effective when consumed.

  1. Digestive Problems: Suffering from constipation or indigestion due to party season binge? Do not be in a hurry to gulp down tea or coffee early in the morning. 

Grandma’s Remedy: Have warm water with lemon juice, which would work to clean the digestive tract and also eliminate fat. Lemon flushes out the toxins floating around your GI tract and also relieves the symptoms of indigestion. [8]

  1. Dry Skin: The dry weather tends to absorb the hydration and moisture of the skin, leaving it dry and dull. If you don’t take care, you might also see a few signs of aging in the form of wrinkles.

Grandma’s Remedy: The problem of skin dryness can be solved by using curd. It is rich in lactic acid, which is an alpha hydroxy acid that dissolves dead skin cells and helps replenish new ones. [9]

References:

  1. http://www.ijddr.in/drug-development/cold-and-flu-conventional-vs-botanical–nutritional-therapy.pdf
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3665023/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5424551/
  4. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/0656/a638abdfa284b83455b83d11f953d648dad5.pdf
  5. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/5553043_Polyphenols_and_Antioxidant_Properties_of_Almond_Skins_Influence_of_Industrial_Processing
  6. http://www.imedpub.com/articles/the-versatility-of-cow-ghee-an-ayurvedaperspective.pdf
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27213821
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4223119/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22152494