Gosh...looking at the date of our last post on Brimah & John, it has been a hot minute.
The post today is slightly different. It indirectly guides on hair care, especially if you recall the old adage “that which is inside furnishes the outside”…or words to that effect. Essentially, our internal health can have a direct impact on both our internal and external wellness and appearance, including in respect of the health of our hair! Enjoy the read.
Have you heard about inflammation? Inflammation silently makes us feel horrible. It contributes to low energy, aches and pains, and is the root cause of many diseases like arthritis, diabetes, cancer and other health issues which cause chronic pain.
Put simply, inflammation is not a way of life. If we can avoid increased inflammation in the body, we may be able to avoid preventable diseases…and hair loss.
Several lifestyle factors and foods can trigger inflammation. One of the greatest contributors to inflammation is the white stuff that sweetens us up…sugar! Although a nutritious diet is dependent on a number of things, modern diets tend to be laden with sugar and secret sugars. Sugar tends to be the friendly staple that many of us turn to to get through the day…think about that morning coffee with a pastry, the mid-morning snack, the afternoon tea, the treats packed into your glove compartment, that dessert after dinner, and let's not forget about the hidden sugars in things like ready meals, juices, fizzy drinks and food substitutes that might even suggest that they are 'healthy alternative' options.
When we fill our bodies with sugar and other non-nutritious excesses such as processed foods, our bodies natural reaction is to produce an immune response to protect us from the ‘attack’. Inflammation is the body’s natural healing response to trauma, and therefore the natural response to such an attack. If the immune system continues to be stimulated by processed foods and sugars then more immune cells are required to deal with the ‘attack’ and in turn inflammatory cells begin to be produced by the body, leading to chronic inflammation within the body. Chronic inflammation can cause serious damage to healthy tissues and cells and can manifest in many ways, such as niggling pains, feelings of lethargy, mood swings, weight gain, brittle, dry hair and hair loss, or more seriously as a chronic disease.
So this leads me nicely on to some of the things that we can do going forward to reduce niggling pains and cut the risks of inflammation, which often starts in the gut…and in turn how these things help reduce the risk of autoimmune deficiencies or diseases.
So how can we avoid or reduce inflammation?
- Nutritional balance and consistency is key. We don't need to get stuck on trying to maintain a purely green food diet. instead we need to do things every day or at least a few times a week to improve and maintain good health and well-being. You know what they say…you cannot out exercise a bad diet! So, consider eating foods which are high in anti-oxidants. Anti-oxidants are foods which stop the damage caused to cells in the body. Foods to enjoy in their purest form include dark leafy greens, berries, avocado, bell peppers, watermelon, kiwi, broccoli, beetroot, apples, ginger, chia seeds, garlic and dark (70%+) chocolate.
- Increase physical activity by adding a brisk walk into your day, taking the stairs, and dance like no-one is watching, or head to the gym to pump some iron. Or bring the gym home and enjoy the many free online YouTube exercise videos.
- Eat less. It is surprising to find how much extra food we shovel in during the day. Try to have 4-6 small meals during the day, rather than 3 extra large ones.
- Sleep! This is something that many of us take for granted. We burn the midnight oil or burn the candle at both ends and then wonder why we cannot shake off that three week old cold.
- Reduce or cut out grains. Sadly, our bodies don’t react too well to the grains that our meals tend to be built around, things like flour, rice, wheat, oats, and the beloved quinoa, because grains contain phytic acids which block the absorption of beneficial nutrients from foods. It’s not easy to cut these out completely, but we can try to reduce the amount they contribute to our diet. One way I get around this is by spiralizing vegetables such as courgettes, carrots and butternut squash and using them in place of grains like rice and pasta. I also opt to use coconut, almond or gluten free flours when baking. Also, soak all pulses and legumes before eating, so they are easier to digest.
- Stay in love with the coco. Drinking coconut water helps to strengthen our immune system and eliminates bacteria. It is a great way to increase energy and as it is high in fibre, it also leads to optimal digestive health. Also add coconut oil to your cooking as it has anti-microbial properties, helping to provide an internal cleanse. A spoonful taken orally or used in cooking is the easiest way to enjoy the benefits.
- Other ingredients that the gut will find beneficial include Apple Cider Vinegar, tumeric, ginger, cinnamon, pineapple, kombucha and Lemon. Choose a teaspoon of ACV, turmeric, ginger or a squirt of lemon in hot water and you will help flush out those unwanted toxins in the body. This is best drunk in the morning before you start your day. You can also drink a glass of pineapple juice which is much easier on the taste buds. You can also make or buy ready made kombucha which is a refreshing drink that aids our bodies detoxification process, improves digestion and supports bone health.
So for the success we seek with our bodies and hair, we should try to be more conscious of the things that we put in our bodies and their effects on both our internal and external wellness and appearance. Hope this was a useful read. If you try any of the suggestions out and reap benefits we would love to hear from you. You can also comment on this post or via one of our social media feeds if you have any other ways to help deal with and reduce the symptoms of inflammation.
**Just to note that this post does not intend to substitute professional medical advice. Before embarking on any short or long term changes to your diet and lifestyle, you should always speak with your doctor.
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