Everyone is peddling some kind of ‘Summer Body’ challenge or weight loss supplement at the moment. The pressure to ‘look good’ in the warmer months starts to get a little out of hand! Rather, take a holistic health approach and make changes that help you feel your best through improved well-being. Beware of quick fix options that aren’t feasible over short periods and can’t be sustained long term.
The importance of creating healthy habits has new meaning for anyone with fine, thin or thinning hair. A recent study has shown a direct link between various lifestyle habits, female pattern baldness and Alopecia.
Alopecia has no identifiable cause and many medical professionals consider it to be an auto-immune based syndrome with at least some hereditary factors. The latest study showed that a sample group of Alopecia sufferers also exhibited an increased risk for obesity (3.5 fold) and hypertension (5.6 fold) as well as a positive correlation between early female pattern hair loss and waist circumference. Alopecia and thinning hair may therefore be linked more closely to our lifestyle than we think.
Can holistic health improve your hair loss?
Quit smoking. Don’t drink. Eat well. Exercise… got that? Seems simple enough but many of these changes are difficult to make. They’re the ‘big ticket items’ people generally accept or totally ignore because they’re tired of hearing about them! The natural reaction when dealing with thinning hair is to research every medical option available but perhaps a more holistic approach is in order. It may be time to take a good look at your general habits and consider whether a few small changes could have a huge impact on you – and your hair loss. Here are some ideas for improving your health and well-being by supporting general health and improving hair growth.
A checklist for improved holistic health and wellness:
- Reduce the saturated fats in your diet – Eating more fruits and veggies might seem cliché but it’s a sure fire way to fill up on the good stuff! There are many tasty ways to include more vegetables in your cooking like making healthy cauliflower fried rice, zucchini pasta or these (gorgeous!) papaya fruit boats. There are other basic tricks too that can make a huge difference… Did you know that both an egg white and an egg yolk have the same amount of protein? The yolk just contains more fat so substitute two egg whites instead of one whole egg in your favourite recipes. Try cooking with herbs, spices or lemon juice instead of butter or margarine – you’ll really taste the difference!
- Eat more fibre – Adding more fibre to your diet can help to eliminate toxins and improve your overall health. It can also feel like a real chore! Eat breakfast cereals that contain barley, wheat or oats. Switch to wholemeal/multigrain breads and brown rice. Add an extra vegetable to every evening meal and snack on fruit, dried fruit, nuts or wholemeal crackers. These things can make all the difference. The saying, “You are what you eat,” has never been more relevant to a healthy head of hair either!
- Detox your scalp – We often worry so much about our hair that we forget about our scalps. The chemical-heavy products we use every day can irritate our scalp and hair follicles. A scalp detox might be just what the doctor ordered! Apple Cider Vinegar acts as a disinfectant for the scalp and helps prevent fungal growth. The active enzyme in Apple Cider Vinegar is malic acid. It has antiseptic properties which prevents the growth of infection, bacteria and yeasts that cause inflammation and may contribute to hair loss. It’s worth looking after your scalp with this simple, natural pantry staple. Apply it topically to maintain the pH balance of the scalp and prevent dryness and itching. This natural cleanser removes dirt and the remains of styling gels and shampoos that potentially clog your follicles. It contains essential nutrients like potassium, iron, vitamins a, C, B1, B6, which stimulate hair growth and helps to heal the scalp. Wet your hair thoroughly. Take ½ cup of Apple Cider Vinegar and apply it on the wet hair. Massage your scalp. Leave it on for 20 minutes and rinse it off with water. Repeat this 2-3 times a week and you’ll feel like you have a brand new head!
- Include a little exercise every day – Not everyone loves to exercise. It doesn’t take much to just lift your standard activity levels a little though! Researchers bemoan our sedentary lifestyles and have ‘sitting’ pegged as the ‘new smoking’. Sitting for more than 11 hours a day can raise your risks of serious health issues and the risk of premature death by more than 40%. The good news? A minimum of one hour of moderate physical activity a day can effectively eliminate the risks. So grab a friend or your dog and get moving! A one hour investment in your health seems to be well worth the effort.
- Grab an Avo! – Experts say avocado is a big deal for people who want to lose weight and be healthy despite its high-fat content. Monounsaturated fatty acids found in the fruit are used in the body as slow burning energy rather than stored as body fat. This gives a feeling of fullness. This can reduce hunger and prevent you from eating more. The fibre in avocado helps prevent the recurrence of inflammatory bowel disease and slows the progression of diseases like diverticulitis. Avocado has antioxidant properties and high content of vitamin E, avocado protects the skin from signs of ageing and also guards against photo-ageing from sun exposure. The Vitamin C found in the fruit helps the body produce elastin and collagen for maintaining the skin’s elasticity, regulating hair growth and preventing hair loss. Avocado oil is easily absorbed into the hair follicles and makes the hair shiny and supple. Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins add shine, moisture and help to prevent split ends.
- Get your ‘Zen’ on – It’s well-known that stress affects our bodies. We’ve even discussed the effect of stress on your hair here. It seems that one of the most difficult aspects of modern stress is finding an effective way to handle it. People think that stress relief requires a lot of extra effort but just a few dedicated minutes a day could make a significant difference. Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, rhythmic exercise, and yoga are all effective ways to help control your stress. Large population-based research studies have indicated that the practice of mindfulness is strongly correlated with well-being and perceived health. Although the abundance of modern technology can contribute to our stress levels, it can also help us through easy-to-use apps and guided meditations close at hand. Try some free mindfulness exercises via the apps listed here: http://bit.ly/topmindfulnessapps. Fitting these activities into your life can help reduce everyday stress and boost your energy, mood and well-being and a healthy mind deserves a healthy head of hair to cover it of course!
Is wellness just around the corner for you?
You may not be able to achieve all of these things at once but try select one or two at a time and see if you can incorporate them into your lifestyle. Don’t get caught up in the external pressure to look or be a certain way just because it’s summer or coming into the Festive Season. Focus on your holistic health and well-being and do it for YOU!
You may be inadvertently contributing to your hair loss by not putting yourself first. Focus more on your health and wellness. A holistic approach to your health will help you feel your best. These ideas won’t necessarily solve your hair woes and certainly can’t be seen as a quick fix to hair loss. Thinning hair can result from a number of different lifestyle and health factors. While you can’t always fix the problem in one go, you can certainly aim for improvement. Optimal health overall will result in a healthier, happier you… with a shinier, healthier head of hair to boot!