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Vitamin A – Sources

In the last post we discussed about the health benefits of Vitamin A. And in this post I will be listing down the sources of Vitamin A.

 

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Vitamin A : Health Benefits

Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin that has a critical role in maintaining healthy vision, neurological function and healthy skin.

 

Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin that is also a powerful antioxidant. Vitamin A plays a critical role in maintaining healthy vision, neurological function, healthy skin, and more. Vitamin A- like all antioxidants- is involved in reducing inflammation through fighting free radical damage. Consuming a diet high in antioxidants is a way to naturally slow aging.

Antioxidants like Vitamin A are also responsible for building strong bones, regulating gene regulation, maintaining healthy clear skin, facilitating cell differentiation, and supporting immune function. Some of the best sources of Vitamin A include eggs, milk, liver, carrots, yellow or orange vegetables such as squash, spinach, and other leafy green vegetables.

A vitamin A deficiency will lead to night blindness and can eventually cause thickening of the cornea and blindness.
People at risk for a vitamin A deficiency include alcoholics who’s excess toxicity creates low vitamin A levels.
Also, people with long term malabsorption of fats will have a vitamin A deficiency.

The most common health problems that cause malabsorption of vitamin A include:
• Gluten sensitive
• Leaky gut
• Inflammatory bowel disease (IBS, Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis)
• Pancreatic disorders

Vitamin A also plays a role in maintaining strong bones, gene regulation, clear skin, cell differentiation, and immune function. It is found in two primary forms: beta carotene and active Vitamin A.
Beta carotene, which is found primarily in plants, needs to be converted to active vitamin A in order to be utilized by the body. The RDA for vitamin A is 900mcg/day for men and 700mcg/day for women. The current daily value is 5000 IU.

Vitamin A Deficiency Symptoms — Some of the major deficiency symptoms of Vitamin A include keratinization of the skin, night blindness, a burning sensation or itching in the eyes, inflammation of the eyelids, xerophthalmia (dryness of the conjunctiva), dull lusterless hair, dandruff, brittle nails that break easily, sexual disorders, and precancerous changes in the body tissues. A deficiency of this vitamin may also result in fatigue, insomnia and depression.

Health Benefits of Vitamin A — Vitamin A is essential for a healthy body and it has many beneficial properties, including those listed below:

  1. Improves Immunity — Vitamin A enhances the body’s immunity against infections by increasing the lymphocytic responses against disease-causing antigens. It keeps the mucus membranes moist to ensure better immunity and also enhances the activity of white blood cells. It not only prevents the germs from entering your body, but also helps to fight the infections once the germs gain entry into the body system, thereby ensuring a double core of protection.
  2. Ensures Healthy Eyes — Vitamin A can aid in improving vision. It enables your eyes to adjust to light changes, keeps the eyes moist, and also improves night vision. It can prevent many conditions like dry eyes as well. It ensures a healthy retina and also prevents night blindness by increasing the adaptability of the human eye to both bright light and darkness. It ensures healthy and beautiful eyes. It is also thought to be beneficial for people suffering from glaucoma.
  3. Ensures Soft and Supple Skin — Vitamin A helps to keep your body free from free radicals and toxins, which might cause damage to your skin. It helps to keep the skin soft and supple by ensuring moisture retention, thereby preventing dryness, keratinization and skin conditions like psoriasis.
  4. Strong Bones and Teeth — This essential vitamin also strengthens the bones and teeth. Vitamin A helps in the formation of dentin, a layer of hard material just below the surface of the teeth, thereby enhancing its strength.
  5. Prevents Urinary Stones — Vitamin A prevents the formation of urinary calculi due to the formation of calcium phosphate. It also helps to keep the lining of the urinary tract in shape, thereby reducing the recurring chance of stones.
  6. Prevents Muscular Dystrophy — By keeping the bones healthy and by retaining their shape, Vitamin A plays an essential role in ensuring proper muscle growth in children and growing teens, thereby preventing the chances of developing muscular dystrophy.
  7. Prevents Acne —  Vitamin A helps to cut down excess sebum production, thereby reducing the risk of acne. It also reinforces the protective tissues of the skin, thereby enhancing the overall health and vitality of the skin surface. It is essential for the proper maintenance of the skin tissues and mucus membranes. It flushes out the toxins from your body and cleanses the system by virtue of its antioxidant properties.
  8. Prevents Certain Cancers — Vitamin A is also a powerful antioxidant, which can prevent certain forms of cancer.
  9. Repair and Replacement of Old Tissues — Vitamin A plays an important role in replacing old and worn out tissues with new ones, as well as in keeping your bones and teeth strong.
  10. Slows the Aging Process — Vitamin A is famous for its wrinkle-eliminating properties, which can reduce age spots and fine lines. It can slow down the aging process by enhancing the overall health of the skin.
  11. Measles — Deficiency of vitamin A may cause measles in children. Intake of foods rich in this essential vitamin helps to relieve the fever and diarrhea caused by measles and aids in quick healing.
  12. Lowers Cholesterol —  It lowers blood cholesterol levels, thereby protecting you against the serious risks of heart disease and stroke.
  13. Healthy Reproductive System —  This Vitamin is widely known for aiding the health and functionality of the reproductive system.

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Premature Greying of Hair – Causes and what to eat to prevent it

There was a time when hair graying happened to only older people. But in our present day, due to high-stress levels and pollution, we see this even among girls as young as 16. It has become an important concern and thousands of people, men and women alike, are seeking medication.

 

 

 

Image source — realgranola

 

So how do we stop graying of hair? Lets us first look at why hair grays occur –

Your hair follicles contain pigmentation cells. These pigmentation cells are called melanin; that’s responsible for giving our hair the color it naturally has. The higher melanin content your hair follicles will generate, the darker your hair color will be. And similarly, the lower the melanin content generated by your hair follicles, the lighter your hair will be. As we grow older, there is a loss in these cells, which results in lessening the intensity of the color and eventually loss of color. When the melanin count decreases significantly at an early age, premature graying of hair is experienced.

 

 

The causes:

We say that too much stress tolls on our hair. True, but there are many other reasons:

  1. Genetics — It is scientifically proven that premature graying of hair is mostly genetic in nature. So if your parents experienced the same issues and spotted their grays early, chances are, you will do the same as well.
  2. Vitamin B12 deficiencyAnother important reason that leads to premature gray hair is the deficiency of Vitamin B12. The absence or lack of this vitamin allows the graying process to happen faster and earlier. Because of this, the gray hair begins showing up at a much younger age than would otherwise have happened.
  3. Thyroid problems and Health issue — If you have been diagnosed with any major illness or are suffering from some health issue over a prolonged period, then you can expect to see some premature grays. Also, people who suffer from thyroid tend to gray earlier.
  4. Lack of Nutrition — Being healthy is all about eating healthy and right. What you eat is what you will see, on your skin, on your hair, and on your overall health. The right kind of diet will give you all the nutrients that your body needs to function properly. If you are fit and healthy, your hair too will show the signs. And this will also help in postponing the advent of the grays.
  5. Stress/Hectic Lifestyle — This is not something that is entirely backed by science, but it is a known fact that the more amount of stress you have, the higher the chances of your health getting affected. Those who are prone to getting stressed or take unnecessary stress show signs of premature hair graying earlier than others of their age.
  6. Smoking — If you have not been able to kick the butt yet, time to start thinking. Studies have proven that those who smoke stand four times higher chance of facing premature graying than those who don’t. Each time we see a new hair it’s equally frustrating, isn’t it? Of course, you can’t help it if it’s happening due to genetics, or some medical issues. But for all the other causes, you can surely try and postpone the appearance of grays. Take care of yourself, stay fit and stay happy.

Ayurveda says Nidana parivarjana i.e., curtail the causes, it will help reducing the problem by a great extent.

 

 

Image source — 25549001@N08

 

Some steps to prevent the premature greying of hair –

  1. Reduce stress — This is the first culprit if you are suddenly undergoing a massive change in your hair color. Learn to manage stress and handle your time. Take short vacations frequently to keep your stress in check.
  2. Eat Right — There is an absolute need for us to eat right – pack in a lot of proteins as your hair and nails are made up of a protein called Keratin. Include spinach, dairy products like cheese, milk, butter, etc., if you don’t like dairy products, try low-fat ice-cream or better yet, protein supplements.
  3. Quit smoking — If you have the habit of smoking, quit it right away. Cigarettes are known to contain carcinogens or cancer causing elements that affect your hair follicles too.
  4. Check your thyroid level — People with thyroid malfunctions – hyper or low secretions, also are prone graying of hair. Get your thyroid level checked.
  5. Quit Harsher Shampoos — Switch to mild shampoos and better yet, organic shampoos. The harsh chemicals in the shampoos and conditioner are known to affect the product of the pigment and cause hair fall too.
  6. Oil your hair — Sometimes, the dry, dehydrated hair gives way to graying of hair as there is a loss of moisture too. Oil your hair regularly or treat yourself to hair spas to see a better hair condition.
  7. Avoid Usage Of Perfumed Hair Oils — These hair oils contain perfumes, which might contain strong chemicals. The natural the oil, the better the results and lesser the side effects like graying.

 

Image source — 38721249@N02

 

 

What to do –

  • Ridge gourd, boiled in coconut oil, is known to help immensely in the treatment of graying of hair.
  • Also, use concentrated tea as a rinse as it helps to prevent hair color loss.
  • Consumption of curry leaves is not old wives’ tales. My grandmother, at an age of 70, has lovely long black hair. Even today, she boils curry leaves in coconut oil and applies it to her hair and makes sure I do the same.
  • Grate fresh ginger, mix with honey and set aside in a jar. Eat one tsp daily.
  • Mix one tbsp of table salt(with iodine) and strong black tea. Massage into scalp and hair. Rest for an hour or so and wash your hair.
  • Massage your scalp every night with amla juice, almond oil and a few drops of lemon juice. This prevents premature hair graying.

 

Image source — davidnewengland

 

What You Should Eat –

The best way to get the benefits of various nutrients is through the consumption of nutritious foods. Here are some foods that you can eat to reduce and prevent gray hair –

  1. Fresh Greens — Make sure that your diet contains sufficient amount of vegetables. Increase the consumption of spinach, celery, capsicum, cabbage, cucumber, and other green leafy vegetables and fruits. Another important nutrient-rich food is spirulina (it is a blue-green sea alga). A big glass of green smoothie every morning is enough to brighten your mornings as well as keep that gray color away from your hair.

    Image source — rustygrass
  2. Chocolate Now, you can stop your hair from graying by eating chocolates. Can there be any other food to prevent gray hair better than this? Chocolate is rich in copper, which boosts melanin production in the body. But make sure to eat pure dark chocolates. It will give maximum benefits and still not overload your system with calories.

    Image source — craydanceruk
  3. Triphala — How many times have you heard about the magic effects of Triphala? It has many benefits. Triphala consists of three fruits, such as amalaki, bibhitaki, and haritaki. Each one of them is good for your hair, skin and eyes. Drinking a glass of triphala water prevents graying of hair. It also makes your hair healthy and strong.

    Image source — rkarthikphotography
  4. Berries — Include strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, blackberries, blueberries and mulberries in your diet. Berries are rich in vitamins and minerals. They are also rich in antioxidants. All these help reduce graying of hair. One of the most important berries to include in your diet is Amla. Amla is one of the most important foods for your hair and it keeps your natural hair color intact.

    Image source — 62215550@N03
  5. Almonds – Almonds offer many health benefits. It is rich in vitamin E, proteins, and copper. Include almond and other nuts in your diet to reverse and reduce the graying of your hair. Make a smoothie by including chocolate, banana, and almond. It is a good tonic for your hair and skin.

    Image source – ginrummy
  6. Biotin Consume foodstuff rich in biotin as it slows down the progression of grey hair, naturally. Foods rich in biotin are egg yolks, tomatoes, yeast, soybeans, walnuts, carrots, cow’s milk, goat’s milk, cucumbers, oats, and almonds.


    Image source — idadesign
  7. Carrot Juice — Drink a glass of carrot juice daily to overcome the problem of grey hair.

 

 

Image source – 97092379@N04

 

While these foods help in preventing and reversing the graying of hair, make sure to reduce your intake of alcohol, tea, coffee, fried and oily food. Improve your diet, improve your health with these six foods that prevent gray hair.

 

 

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Health Benefits of Neem

Neem Tree has been described in Ayurveda’s prime text, the Charaka Samhita, as sarva roga nivarini (that which keeps all diseases at bay) or arishtha (reliever of disease). Its extracts have been used in the Ayurvedic tradition for thousands of years for maintaining health and overall well-being. The roots, bark, gum, leaves, fruit, seed kernels and seed oil are all used in therapeutic preparations for both internal and topical use.

 

 

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