Healthy, shiny and strong hair not only contributes to good looks, but it is a sign of healthy and nourished you. Although it is easy to get carried away with the “so-called” best and natural products marketed to make your locks look healthy and shiny, one thing which you cannot ignore when it comes to healthy hair is the importance of proper nutrition. Nutrition is one of the most important things to keep your hair at their best.
A healthy diet is beneficial not just for your internal body but your external body (hair and skin) as well. A right diet which includes the key nutrients ensures hair growth, prevents breakage and moisturizes your hair.
It has also been observed that the texture and speed of hair growth are based on genetics, gender, age, hormones. Besides, nutrient deficiency like anorexia, anaemia, zinc deficiency and hormonal fluctuations like menopause, polycystic ovaries, thyroid disease also affects hair health.
Here are a few of the nutrients that can make your mane healthy:
Hair’s structure is made of hardened proteins called keratin. Insufficient protein can lower down the generation of this important building block thereby slowing down the hair growth and making your hair weak. Include a high-protein for better hair health.
Biotin is a nutrient that has been responsible to promote hair growth. Biotin interacts with cell enzymes to produce amino acids. These are the compounds that form the most important proteins Deficiency of biotin can lead to hair loss. Carrots, almonds, walnuts and cauliflower are some of the natural sources of biotin. If you are considering taking supplements, you can talk to the expert nutritionists at 8 Fitness Tips for a recommendation.
Iron found in red blood cells is responsible for providing nourishing oxygen to the hair follicles. Even when the iron level in the blood looks normal, there can still be a chance of deficiency of ferritin. Ferritin stores iron and supplies it to the body when it needs it. Deficiency of ferritin can slow or even stop the hair growth and can also cause hair to fall. Eat iron-rich foods to keep the supply of the nutrient sufficient in the body.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
The cell membranes of your scalp’s skin contain Omega-3 Fatty Acids. It is also found in the natural oils that the scalp and hair produce, to stay hydrated. Sufficient supply of these essential fatty acids can prevent dryness of the scalp and help in hair growth. Incorporate flax seeds, walnuts, soybeans or fatty fish in your diet to ensure a healthy dose of omega-3s.
Vitamin B6, B12 and folate produce red blood cells which carry oxygen and nutrients to the cells in the scalp and hair follicles. Deficiency of B vitamins can make your hair prone to breakage and loss while slowing down the growth. Beans, chicken, oatmeal and low-fat dairy foods are good sources of B vitamins.
This essential nutrient does a couple of things to help promote healthy hair: Vitamin C helps absorb iron. It’s also used to form collagen, a structural fibre that makes up the connective tissue in the body, which hair follicles require for optimal growth.
Zinc helps strengthen your hair follicles and prevent hair loss, by binding its proteins. It also plays a role in your oil glands functioning properly, which protects your locks from dryness and dandruff. Shellfish, like oysters, crab, lobster, clams and mussels all have high zinc content. Sunflower seeds, peanuts, pine nuts, beef, lamb, pork and cereals with whole grains and bran are some other zinc-rich foods to choose from.
These minerals assist the body in repairing damaged hair and strengthening hair follicles. You need every strand you have, so eat foods rich in these minerals to keep your stylist in the business.
The next time you admire your mane in the mirror, give these healthy hair nutrition essentials a big thank you. And if you’re looking to improve your hair, evaluate your eating habits to see what might be lacking; the advice of an expert nutritionist can also help.
Call 8 Fitness Tips for all your nutrition related queries!
Does that sound familiar to you? Probably not!
But it will certainly sound way more familiar when you will know that this is the scientific name for WATER.
Water is an important component of the human body. The body of a normal adult human being contains nearly 70% water. From maintaining a normal body temperature, keeping the digestion smooth or carrying essential nutrients to the parts of the body, water is responsible for every process happening inside. Besides, the magical liquid also forms the basis of blood, digestive juices, urine and perspiration.
Water has been included in the various dietary and weight loss regimes and makes up a very important part of a balanced diet. It helps to shed those extra kilos to achieve perfect body weight. Here is why drinking enough water is important to maintain a healthy weight and body:
Water reduces fatigue and increases energy
Drinking enough fluids is important when working out or exercising. Drinking water improves the body’s metabolism process which in turn is associated with a positive impact on the energy level. Besides, drinking water also helps in better focus and concentrate and keeping the brain alert.
Water maintains the balance of body fluids
Since the larger part of the human body consists of water, it helps in the smooth functioning of these bodily fluids including digestion, absorption, blood circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature. Besides, when the body is low on fluids, the brain triggers the body’s thirst mechanism.
Water let the body absorb the essential nutrients
Water breaks down the food and helps dissolve vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to deliver the vitamin components to the rest of your body for use.
Water wards off many disorders
Drinking water reduces the risk of kidney stones and urinary tract infections (UTI) by getting rid of waste through sweat and urination. Besides, it can help prevent certain medical conditions including constipation, exercise-induced asthma, hypertension etc. Water also helps in reducing the risk of cystitis by keeping the bladder clear of bacteria.
Water keeps the skin and hair healthy
An adequate amount of water intake helps in keeping the skin hydrated. It may also promote collagen production. It moisturizes the skin, keeps it looking fresh, soft, smooth and glowing. Water is the best anti-ageing treatment which also maintains the skin’s texture and appearance.
So, drink plenty of it to complete your healthy diet goal and improve overall health. Go ahead and drink up your glass now!
First thing first – Mindful Eating is not a diet!
Food makes up your body. It is the reason why your body exists. So, besides what you eat, how you eat also plays a crucial role in the making of your body.
In today’s fast-paced world, where everyone is in a hurry and multi-tasking, being mindful, a Buddhist practice of being fully present and sensing without judging, connects you with the environment around you.
Similarly, mindful eating makes you fully aware of the eating experience and your thoughts and feelings about food. It helps in slowing down the eating process and savours every bite. When we pay attention to what we eat, it tastes better and more satisfying.
Understanding hunger, craving and fullness cues
Hunger can be deceiving. Many people may misunderstand the body’s sign of being hungry. You eat and still not satisfied, you don’t eat for a long time and still don’t feel hungry. Mindful eating encourages you to explore and understand the difference in advance of a meal and prevent unnecessary food intake. It may help you in cutting down on your food cravings.
When you pay more attention to the feeling of fullness or focus more on the flavours, you become aware that you have had enough.
Weight loss/ Fitness Goal
Weight loss can be another one of the benefits of mindful eating. It has been observed that when people start feeding actual hunger cues, they’re likely to lose weight.
Mindful eating can also help you change unhealthy eating habits. It can also help curb binge eating, emotional eating and hedonic eating. Because when you eat mindfully, you are not just sitting down and eating. You pay attention to your patterns around food, when you eat, where you eat and why you eat.
Mindful eating can be used as a tool to recognize and change your eating behaviours and thereby develop other benefits as well.
Mindful eating does not restrict any type of food and so allows you to have a wider variety of food on your menu.
Practising mindful eating can aid good digestion, reduce overeating, enhance the flavours of food and improve your psychological relationship with food.
How to practice mindful eating
Here are some tips that can help you practice mindful eating:
Come to the table with an appetite.
Take at least 15min to sit down and enjoy your meal.
Avoid distractions whilst eating.
Do not rush. Schedule time to eat your meal when you have adequate time.
Always sit and eat.
Eat everything on a plate or bowl even if it has come in a packet.
Make efforts to chew your food thoroughly and consciously.
Savour and taste your food using all your senses – look, feel, smell and taste.
We eat to nourish our body and provide nutrition to facilitate optimal functioning. Paying attention to what and how we are eating makes you feel better both physically and psychologically.
When it comes to fitness, healthy body or weight loss, we give due importance to diet and exercise. However, we often tend to overlook the importance of good quality sleep.
Sleep plays a crucial role in maintaining both – healthy body and healthy mind. The quality of your sleep affects how you feel physically and mentally. The way you feel while you’re awake depends on what happens while you’re sleeping.
During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain functioning and maintains your physical well-being. When you are sleep-deprived, it becomes difficult for the brain to function efficiently. This affects your ability to concentrate, think, and process.
Different age groups require a different amount of sleep. Like most adults require between 7 to 9 hours of nightly sleep. Whereas children and teenagers need more sleep and so do the kids below 5 years of age.
How much sleep should you take in a day?
According to the National Sleep Foundation guidelines, the recommended amount of sleep that must be practised by people of different age group is:
Category Hours of Sleep
New Borns 14-17 hours
Infant 12-15 hours
Preschool Kids 10-13 hours
School-Age Kids 9-11 hours
Teens 8-10 hours
Adults 7-9 hours
Senior Adults 7-8 hours
Why is sleep important for the human body?
Sound sleeping has many benefits on both physical and mental well-being. Here are a few reasons why good sleep is important.
Insufficient sleep can cause weight gain
Insufficient sleep is one of the significant risk factors for obesity. This school of thought is said to be backed by numerous factors, including hormones and motivation to exercise. So, if you are trying to lose weight, it is crucial to get good quality sleep.
Sleep deprivation tends to increase calories intake
Lack of sleep is believed to affect the daily fluctuations in appetite hormones and cause poor appetite regulation. It increases levels of the appetite-stimulating hormone called ghrelin and reduces the levels of the appetite-suppressing hormone known as leptin.
Therefore, people who take a good amount of sleep, as required by their body, tend to consume fewer calories as compared to those who don’t.
Sleep can enhance athletic performance
In various studies, players taking adequate sleep have shown to improve many aspects of athletic and physical performance like better speed, concentration, accuracy, reaction time and alertness.
Sleep keeps heart health in check
A healthy heart should get sufficient amount of sleep each night. Insufficient sleep can worsen blood pressure and cholesterol which are the major risk factors affecting the health of your heart.
The duration and quality of sleep are believed to drive chronic diseases, including heart disease and strokes.
Poor sleep affects metabolism
Poor sleeping habits are linked to causing adverse effects on metabolism in the general population. Sleep deprivation can alter the glucose metabolism and hormones involved in regulating the process.
The metabolic system will be out of balance in sleep-deprived people, which will eventually affect the dietary choices they make.
Body repairs itself during sleep
Sleep is a time when the body is hard at work repairing damage caused by stress, ultraviolet rays, and other harmful exposure. The body produces more protein molecules, (the building blocks of the human body) during sleep allowing itself to repair the damage.
The bottom line
Along with nutrition and exercise, good sleep is one of the pillars of health. Many factors prevent us from receiving enough sleep viz work schedules, day-to-day stress, a disruptive bedroom environment or medical conditions. A healthy diet and positive lifestyle habits can help ensure an adequate amount of sleep.