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Everything you need to know about the gut-hair connection
YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT!
Picture this: you’ve been committed to your hair care routine for a few months now. You’re using all the right serums and masks to keep your hair in-check, yet despite your best efforts, your hair always seems a little… dull. There’s a chance that your hair’s health is off because of what you’re putting into your body rather than what you’re putting in your hair and it all comes down to your gut. Here, we break down the connection between fabulous hair and a fabulous gut and how to ensure your strands, and consequently your gut, are as healthy and thriving as they can be.
YOUR HAIR AND GUT
Your gut microbiome impacts nearly every hormone in your body, including oestrogen, thyroid hormones and melatonin and can regulate the hormones that control the transition between the three phases of hair growth: anagen (regeneration/growth), catagen (degeneration), and telogen (rest).
An imbalance of these hormones & the types of gut bacteria that make up your gut microbiome can trigger an inflammatory immune response. How does this affect your hair? Hormones imbalances are triggered by inflammation (affecting your hair growth phases) and cause scalp inflammation (causing hair loss and dull strands).
KEEP YOUR GUT HAPPY FOR BETTER HAIR
They say you are what you eat. Turns out, that’s actually how you support a healthy gut and healthy hair. Certain foods ‘feed’ beneficial bacteria, allowing them to thrive. These are things like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, which are full of fibre. If you want to have good hair, making the necessary dietary and lifestyle changes will not just help your hair but your entire body. Below are our top five foods to consume for a healthy hair and gut relationship, and they’re all packed full of the good stuff (duh!):
1. Oily Fish
Fish like salmon and tuna are packed with omega 3 fats which feed good bacteria and reduce inflammation. Omega 3 fats are also key for hair repair, moisture content and overall strand flexibility.
Full of fibre for nourishing good gut bacteria and high in vitamin E, avocados are your best friend. Avocados are rich in antioxidants, biotin, minerals, essential fatty acids as well as vitamins A & B-5 — All of which help prevent breakage and improve your hair’s shine.
Tomatoes contain important Vitamins like A, B, C and E which are excellent stimulants for healthy hair. These vitamins help prevent hair loss, give natural shine and help treat scalp odour and dandruff. Eating about 4 to 5 tomatoes a day ensures you have great hair health and shiny tresses to show off but simply adding tomatoes to your meals will have you on your way to healthier hair in no time!
4. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate that is at least 70% cocoa is rich in flavanols which feed beneficial gut bacteria and reduce inflammation. The antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and nutrients found in dark chocolate benefit your hair like nothing else. Apart from improving the volume of your hair, simply eating dark chocolate also helps improve the overall health and appearance of your mane.
Legumes like lentils, beans, peas, soy beans, peanuts and mung beans are powerhouses packed with nutrients that can support your overall wellness as well as your hair. They’re full of gut-friendly fibre and are high in zinc, supporting hair’s healing and integrity. They also contain important vitamins and amino acids that are important for hair health.
Most of us are not strangers to the many benefits of yoga for our mental and physical wellbeing, however, chances are you were not aware that one of the multiple benefits yoga has is its ability to reduce issues related to our hair and scalp helping you transform your strands for thicker, healthier hair! Take time to incorporate these hair boosting yoga poses into your routine for improved hair growth & texture and reduced hair loss. DOWNWARD DOG How to do it: *Come onto all fours with your hands in front of the shoulders and your knees directly below your hips. *Exhale and lift the knees from the floor, at first keeping them slightly bent, and your heels off the floor. *Stretch the heels toward the floor. *Firm your shoulder blades against the back. Hold the pose. Benefits: Since your head is down for a couple of minutes, the blood flows into the head which helps regenerate and strengthen the scalp and hair follicles for hair regrowth. RABBIT POSE How to do it: * Kneel on the ground. * Put both your hands forward on the ground. * Place the crown of your head on the floor and slowly exhale. * Hold this position until five breaths. * Inhale as you slowly unroll yourself back to an upright kneeling position. Benefits: Practicing this pose for 2 minutes daily can give you healthier and stronger hair by stabilizing hormones and regulating blood flow to the scalp which promotes hair growth and thickness for a flawless mane. CAMEL POSE How to do it: * Kneel down on the yoga mat and keep your knees slightly apart. * Bend backwards and try to touch the soles of your feet with your hands. * Look back and keep your chest lifted up. * Hold this position for a few breaths before you release. Benefits: This yoga pose enhances hair growth by stimulating the nerves of the scalp and increasing blood flow in the head which makes your hair strong and helps to control excessive hair fall. SHOULDER STAND How to do it: * Lie down on your back and raise your legs and back up in a straight manner. * Support your body with your forearms and keep your buttocks straight and up. * Let your body rest on your shoulders with your hands keeping your spine straight. * Keep your toes stiff, your neck straight and your eyes on your feet. * Hold the position, inhale and exhale for a couple of seconds and then release. Benefits: This pose is good for your thyroid which affects hair fall & loss and helps nourish hair by flowing blood to the head promoting hair growth.