Health Tips
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Who doesn't like their hair to grow long and healthy? But its not as easy as it sounds. Genetics, unhealthy lifestyle, bad eating habits, hard water, and exposure to dust, pollution and chemicals are a few factors that are known to ruin the quality of our hair. We have all been guilty of spending thousands on buying hair products that barely did good. Luckily, our kitchen is a storehouse of natural remedies that work like a charm and cost almost nothing! Some of these ingredients, readily available across most home kitchens, not only make your hair healthy but also help them grow longer. One such ingredient is our very own staple vegetable, the humble potato. The juice of this versatile vegetable is a potent elixir for hair-growth.

What is it that potato juice has to offer to our hair and how does it help them grow longer? Let's find out.

Potato juice for hair growth

1. Potato juice is one of the most inexpensive and natural ways to stimulate hair growth. As compared to store-bought hair products, which may contain chemicals that can be harmful for hair in the longer run, using potato juice is a completely natural remedy that works for most people.

2. Potato juice consists of various essential vitamins that increase oxygen levels, which work to repair and restore collagen. Collagen is the protein found in the skin and other connective tissues. An improved collagen can then help better growth of hair.

3. A gentle massage with potato juice helps activate healthy scalp cells, which further encourage hair growth.

4. Excess oily hair can cause hair breakage. The high amount of starch present in potato juice can extract all the excess oil present in the scalp and follicles, allowing them to grow properly.

5. Dryness in the scalp can cause dandruff, which can lead to hair-thinning and breakage. Potato juice mixed with lemon juice is a potent solution for the dryness for healthy growth.

6. If you are experiencing hair loss, then bring potato juice to your rescue. It binds with oxygen and works on weak roots, further strengthening their grip.

Summer season is here and you've got all the more reasons to take care of your tresses. During summers, we tend to sweat more, which leads to various skin and hair problems. Moreover, there are various other external factors like pollution, dust and chemical-laden products that contribute in making the hair dull and lifeless. If you are suffering from the problem of dry, rough and lifeless hair, then it is of utmost importance for you to manage and take extra care of your locks. You can do so by just invading your kitchen. Yes, you read that right! Indian household kitchens are a treasure trove of ingredients that are replete with health-promoting properties. Not only do they benefit the skin, but also the hair and the overall health. When it comes to hair care, one thing that has an essential role to play is hair mask. A hair mask prepared using three common ingredients like banana, honey and yogurt could do wonders for your hair.

All the three ingredients mentioned above come loaded with nutrients that are essential to keep the hair healthy and strong. When combined together, this hair mask helps in bringing back the lost moisture of the hair and makes them look lively and bouncy. This hair mask is perfect for dull and lifeless hair; thanks to the presence of honey in it. Honey acts as an excellent moisturising agent and is also anti-bacterial in nature. It can help keep frizzy hair at bay and would further make them smooth and manageable.

Likewise, yogurt and banana too are nutrient-dense and when applied topically along the length of the hair, these two ingredients have the potential of reviving the lost sheen of your tresses. Yogurt is dense in calcium and its high vitamin D content makes it all the way more beneficial for dry hair. Bananas are packed with the goodness of antioxidants and its high potassium content helps in imparting a shine on the top layer of the hair.

Here is how you can prepare this three-ingredient hair mask for your dull and lifeless hair:

Things You Need:

1 banana
2 tsp honey
2-3 tbsp yogurt (depending upon the length of your hair)

Method:

To begin with, take a bowl and add banana to it. Mash it using a fork or spoon and then add in honey along with yogurt to the bowl.
Blend together all the ingredients in a blender till a smooth paste is formed.
Now, apply this hair mask along the length of your hair from top to bottom. Allow it to stay for at least 20-30 minutes and then rinse it off using a mild shampoo.

All the ingredients mentioned above are readily available in the kitchen most of the time. Just bring together all of them and get back your hair's lost sheen.

Aloe vera is extensively used in beauty products and for good reason. It's got antiviral and antibacterial properties, and the ability to help treat everything from constipation to diabetes. The green-cactus looking plant that sits out in your garden isn't just a plant with its roots in folklore, it's the crux of a million dollar industry that extends from beauty creams to healthy juices and diet supplements. Over time, aloe vera has seamlessly integrated itself into everything we use. But, what makes this miracle plant so distinguishable? There are some incredible benefits of aloe vera. So, keep reading to know what we are talking about.

The aloe vera plant is about one or two feet tall with prickly and bitter leaves, which act as a defence to keep animals and insects from feeding on the plant. The leaves hold a gooey translucent gel, also extremely bitter, and known all over the world for it's unbelievable healing properties.This translucent gel is made up of around 96% water, some organic and inorganic compounds, a type of protein which contains 18 of the 20 amino acids found in the body and lastly, Vitamin A, B, C and E. Another part of the aloe vera plant which is used is the 'sap', a yellow-coloured liquid stuck to the skin of the plant from the inside. When dried and purified, the powdered aloe is often used as a laxative, though it's effectiveness is questionable.

One of the most crucial elements found in aloe vera gel is a complex carbohydrate known as acemannan. It allows nutrients to reach the cells, nourish them and at the same time relieve them of toxins.Ayurveda, Chinese herbal medicine and British herbal medicine have all advocated aloe vera as a healer, when applied or consumed orally. Let's go over some of its most prominent benefits.

Here are some benefits of aloe vera for hair, skin and weight loss:

Aloe Vera For Skin
There are many aloe vera uses, like aloe vera for face and skin. Bill C. Coats writes, "Since the skin needs nutrition of its own, Aloe Vera, when formulated into a properly designed personal care regimen, can treat, exfoliate, restore, reveal and provide constant, impressive nutrition to the human skin." And we're about to show just how you can do that. Once you move past the slimey texture of natural aloe vera gel and apply it to your skin, you'll notice how soothing and cooling it is. And it's for these exact reasons that Ayurveda refers to aloe vera as the miracle herb that can be used to treat wounds, minor cuts, dry skin and severe burns.


Dr. Deepali Bhardwaj, Delhi-based dermatologist says, "Aloe vera is rich in vitamin C, E and beta carotene which gives it its nourishing and anti-ageing qualities. It can moisturise the skin without making it greasy, which makes it a great buy for those with oily skin." She also suggests drinking aloe vera juice early in the morning on an empty stomach because it improves digestion and cures any kind of stomach trouble. And, you know that if you've got a healthy inside, it'll give you a glowing outside which in this case is radiant skin.

Aloe vera or aloe vera-based products can be used in the winter as well as in the summer and by people of all skin types. Aloe vera treats the cells on the epithelial level of the skin which is why it's recommended by dermatologists to remove tan, treat sunburn and stretch marks. One way to use aloe vera is to apply the gel directly, another would be to make a pack using aloe vera along with some other special ingredients from your kitchen. So, now you know that aloe vera for face is like a magical gel that has an amazing impact on your skin.

1. Aloe vera for dry skin - Take some aloe vera, a pinch of turmeric, a teaspoon of honey, a teaspoon of milk and a few drops of rose water. Blend this mix till you get a paste. Apply it and leave in for about 20 minutes or so.

2. Aloe vera scrub - Grab half a cup of fresh aloe vera gel, a cup of sugar and two tablespoons of lemon juice. The sugar will help exfoliate and scrub off dead skin, the aloe vera will deep clean the skin and the lemon will help fade out scars and tan. Stir the three ingredients together and use it to scrub both face and body.

3. Aloe vera for acne - Take some aloe vera gel, blended walnuts with a flour like consistency and honey. Aloe vera's healing properties coupled with the anti-oxidants from honey will leave you with smooth and clear skin.

4. Aloe vera for sensitive skin - Grab some aloe vera gel, cucumber juice, yogurt and rose oil and blend them to a paste. Apply and leave for around 20 minutes, then rinse it off.

Aloe Vera For Weight Loss
It's not just the beauty industry that's obsessing over the benefits of aloe vera, the health industry can't stop raving about it either. Known as ghritkumari in Hindi, the plant has millions of takers around the world and is used in the form of gels, cream and juices, due to the aloe vera's wondrous health benefits. According to Britt Brandon, the author of The Everything Guide to Aloe Vera for Health, "Aloe vera can improve the effectiveness of your diet and maximise your weight loss potential. With ample amounts of vitamins and minerals that contribute to weight-loss, as well as amino acids, enzymes and sterols, aloe vera ensures your diet is not only supportive of weight loss, but also improves the body's absorption and utilisation, improving overall health as well as weight loss success."

Aloe vera is used in a wide range of health products, like diet supplements, juices etc. It's rich in anti-oxidants which means it helps cut out free radicals in the body and boost your immunity. It's also a good source of protein so it helps muscle development and gives you copious amounts of energy. There are countless studies that prove how effective aloe vera is for weight loss, but it should be consumed regularly and over a long period of time for it to really work.

How to drink aloe vera juice: The natural taste of aloe vera is so bitter that you wouldn't think of consuming it as is. Take the gel, dice it into small pieces and blend. Now. mix a bit of this with some other fruit or vegetable juice that's preferably sweet. You can also use the leaves of aloe vera, blend them, strain and drink. If you find it too bitter then mix it up with honey and drink. You can also add some lemon to this mix.
Aloe Vera For Hair Fall
Aloe vera contains something called proteolytic enzymes which repairs dead skin cells on the scalp. It also acts as a great conditioner and leaves your hair all smooth and shiny. It promotes hair growth, prevents itching on the scalp, reduces dandruff and conditions your hair. Diane Gage, author of Aloe Vera: Nature's Soothing Healer says, "Keratin, the primary protein of hair, consists of amino acids, oxygen, carbon, and small amounts of hydrogen, nitrogen, and sulphur. Aloe vera has a chemical make up similar to that of keratin and it rejuvenates the hair with its own nutrients, giving it more elasticity and preventing breakage."

The perfect pack: Here's a delicious hair mask that you should apply once a week or every fortnight.

Mix equal quantities of aloe vera juice and extra virgin coconut oil. Apply and leave it in for as long as possible for strong, smooth and bouncy hair. Aloe vera is a natural ingredient that brings with it a treasure trove of benefits. The best way to enjoy it, without the fear of added chemicals, is to grow it in your own kitchen garden or balcony. It takes very little to look after an aloe vera plant, but the benefits you get in return are many. So go ahead, invent your time and money into a healthier you today!

Not a lot of people are very familiar with black seeds, or kalonji. The unique-looking seeds have a distinctive flavour, which adds a delicious aroma to any food that they are added to. Black seeds are used in a number of Indian preparations, including curries, dals and even savoury snacks like samosas, kachoris etc. They are also added to some Indian flat-breads like kulchas and parathas to add flavour and taste to these breads. Black seeds are incredibly healthful as well and it is used and consumed for medicinal purposes as well. These flavourful black seeds are packed with antioxidants, and hence, have a number of beauty benefits as well.

Black seed oil (or nigella sativa oil) can be applied topically on your facial skin and hair and can also be consumed to fight a number of ailments. The oil is known to have cholesterol-fighting abilities and it may also help in regulating blood sugar and inducing weight loss. But it is very popular among Indians for combating a number of beauty problems as well. Here are some beauty benefits of using black seed oil that you must know about.

Kalonji Oil (Nigella Sativa Oil) For Gorgeous Skin And Hair
Here are some ways that kalonji oil is beneficial for your skin and hair:
1. Anti-Bacterial In Nature
The oil is anti-bacterial in nature and when applied on the skin may prevent acne by fighting off skin infections. A diluted solution of nigella sativa oil may be applied on the skin to reduce acne growth.

2. Packed With Antioxidants
The oil is said to neutralise free radicals in the body, which may improve the quality of your skin and hair. Kalonji oil is, therefore, effective in fighting inflammation, leaving the skin feeling young and healthy.

3. Fights Hair Fall
Kalonji oil is used to fight hair fall and even to induce hair re-growth, due to the presence of Nigellone and Thymoquinone in it. The latter is known to be an inflammation-fighting compound. It also nourishes the hair follicles and prevents the hair from falling off. The application of this oil is said to be a safe and natural way to re-grow hair, without medication.

4. Improve Hair And Scalp Health
Regular application of sativa oil may significantly improve scalp health by combating dandruff and scalp irritation. It is also known to prevent and even reverse graying of hair by preserving pigmentation in hair follicles.

5. Fights Skin Infections
Common skin infections, particularly psoriasis and eczema, can be resolved by applying the oil on your skin. This is because the oil has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties and may also soothe irritation on the skin, leaving it soft and moisturised.

You can mix kalonji oil with a number of other natural beauty ingredients like coconut oil, honey, olive oil etc. and apply it on your skin and hair, in order to fight common beauty problems. Include kalonji oil in your beauty regime to reap its benefits today!

Most people I come across today have hair-related issues. Be it hair fall, dandruff, frizzy hair, lifeless hair, limp hair, lusterless hair, or damaged hair, split ends, scanty hair, and thin hair, the list is endless! Our skin as well as hair require extra time and care as both of these are subjected to harsh chemicals through cleansing agents, pollution, chemically-grown fruits and vegetables, harsh water, stress and tension, improper nutrition, lack of proper sleep, exercise and inadequate intake of water.
Thick healthy hair is possible and there are certain super foods, which, if included in your diet can help you have better health and better hair too!

Try these super foods and see a marked difference in the quality of your hair-


Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc and this helps cellular production, cell division and growth to form keratin, a protein that makes up hair. Zinc is known to preserve the hair colour and can also be found in lentils, sesame seeds, lamb, chickpeas and oysters. Zinc also prevents dandruff, further keeping hair fall at bay.

Avocado
This fruit is excellent for hair growth and thickness as it contains high amounts of copper that builds up collagen and elastin of the skin that holds the hair follicles. The copper content in shell fish, whole grains, dark leafy vegetables like spinach and methi (fenugreek),beans and legumes also helps balance the hormones so the hair grows strong and aids other reactions in the scalp that strengthen lipids in the hair.

Eggs
Eggs promote hair growth and not only make them thicker but stronger as well. Eggs also come loaded with a combination of protein and biotin, both of which are super nutrients for healthy hair.

Fatty Fish
Fish like mackerel, salmon and herring are super foods for the hair as they are abundantly rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon is loaded with vitamin D and protein, which supports strong hair and a healthy scalp.

Berries
High in antioxidants, berries are a superfood for hair. The high antioxidant content helps protect hair follicles from damaging. Strawberries, blueberries, and cranberries; these robust juicy fruits are rich in vitamin C, which aids in collagen production and iron absorption, two factors that promote hair growth.

Sweet Potatoes
A medium-sized sweet potato contains enough beta-carotene to provide more than four times your daily vitamin A needs. Include this easily available vegetable in your daily diet and see the improvement in your hair.

Spinach
It is one of my all time personal favourites and is full of nutrients like vitamin A and C, iron and folate. Being a great plant-based source of iron, it helps red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body and fuels the metabolism to aid growth and repair hair damage. Vitamin A found in these dark leaves helps the skin glands produce sebum, which in turn keeps the hair and scalp moisturised and healthy.

Soybean
The presence of spermidine, a compound that promotes hair growth, makes soybean an absolute essential as a nutritional supplement for active hair growth. Include this in recipes with stews, soups, salads, etc. on a regular basis in your diet to see a marked improvement in hair growth.

Copper Water
Metals and minerals have always had an effect on the body, which is why in olden days people used to eat from utensils made of silver, gold, copper and brass. I have researched and found that water kept in a copper glass overnight and consumed first thing in the morning has benefits on the hair growth and body as it provides the necessary copper content to promote hair growth and strengthen the follicles.

Meat
This is a great source of protein absolutely essential for hair growth. Red meat in particular is a rich source of iron, which helps promote hair growth and should be included in your diet 3-4 times a week.

So it's very clear from the above information that I have provided you that what you eat has a great impact on your hair. Start by seeing what your diet lacks and include these simple ingredients to your recipes.

Dr. Nitesh
Dr. Nitesh
MS/MD - Ayurveda, Ayurveda, 8 yrs, Pune
Dr. Supriya Jagtap
Dr. Supriya Jagtap
BHMS, Family Physician Homeopath, Pune
Dr. Amrut Gade
Dr. Amrut Gade
BHMS, Homeopath, 4 yrs, Pune
Dr. Shrikant Choudhari
Dr. Shrikant Choudhari
MS/MD - Ayurveda, General Surgeon, 6 yrs, Pune
Dr. Rahul Pawargi
Dr. Rahul Pawargi
BAMS, Family Physician General Physician, 19 yrs, Pune
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