In Ayurveda, Lotus stem has been said to be very beneficial for pregnant ladies. If you we look at it from present day perspective, Lotus stem is rich in calcium, iron and is high in fibre. In result,stronger and denser bones, boosts hemoglobin and myoglobin and improves digestion and bowel movement. Lotus stem is great source of Vitamin C, which helps to boost immunity of the mother and the foetus.
Are you worried about Hair Fall??
Most of the time a very common query I receive from my clients, especially women, is about hair fall. In general, statements that are made are “ I am having so much of hair fall, soon I will become bald” and “ I use to have such lovely thick, long and black hair but I don’t know what happened to them”. Well, Ladies a lot has happened- pregnancy, menopause, stress, pollution, lack of attention towards oneself and nutrients deficit in our bodies.
According to Ayurveda, health of our hair is associated with our bones, nails and teeth. So if you are having hair fall, probability are high that your bones, nails and teeth are also affected. It is important to understand the severity of hair fall. If you are having severe hair fall for months, please do get your thyroid, vitamin D, calcium, iron and vitamin B12 checked first.
Today, shiny packaged low calorie food items, skimmed milk, low fat cheese and oil blinds us, that we don’t realize how important micronutrients are to sustain healthy body. When we were young we ate delicious home cooked food, which are high on its nutrients value without thinking how much sugar, carb or fat we are eating. But today we will not have gajak in winters because it has sugar or gur (jaggery) in it but are willingly having so called digestive biscuits that are loaded with sugar and trans fat. This is one of the critical reasons for not having thick, long, lustrous hair anymore like the way you had earlier. The custom of having certain traditional food item in a particular season has deeper requirement than just taste.
What we can do to reduce hair fall?
1. Oil Massage
In Ayurveda, oil massage has been given utmost important to improve and maintain good quality of hair. Oil prepared from Bringharaj , also known as false daisy is very effective for growth and to reduce greying of hair. Sesame oil during winter and coconut oil in summer should be used for massaging. Put red hibiscuses flower in the oil and heat it and massage your scalps.
2. Food items to be taken
White sesame seeds are filled with nutrients like copper, magnesium, zinc, vitamin B1 and amino acids. Have one-teaspoon everyday in the morning and add it in your food. Now you know why I spoke about gajak earlier. Both sesame seeds and gur helps recover our dry brittle hair from falling in winter. Have fruits like Banana and dry fruits like Kaju (cashews), figs and raisins in your diet that are high in magnesium, zinc and iron.
Anutailam, an Ayurvedic nose drop available in Ayurvedic stores should be applied at night to treat hair fall. Anutailam is more effective during spring and rainy season. Use 2 drops in each nostril two to three times in a week.
4. Super Food: Indian Gooseberry
Amla (Indian gooseberry) is the super food, which is most powerful remedy against ageing. Have Amla juice mixed with warm water in the morning and also use its powder as hair mask.
Last but not the least have meals that are packed with nutrients and makes you feel happy. If you are happy most likely it is that you will manage stress better. And less stress will lead to lesser hair fall.
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There always has been lot of speculation on which oil is good for health, or whether one should use ghee, butter or coconut oil after certain researches has shown health benefits of later. I remember listening to a renowned heart Doctor on radio and when he was asked which oil is good for heart, he answered “no oil is good for heart”. So think next time when you go to a supermarket to buy oil which claims that they protect your heart.
Not going too much into chemistry of fats, oils mainly consist of three fatty acids- Saturated fats, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. All these are essential fatty acids as our body does not make them and hence we need to get them from the food we eat. The main question is which one in how much quantity. Lipid hypothesis, a theory which assured that there is direct relationship between the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in diet leads to coronary heart diseases. This was proposed by researcher Ancel keys in the 1950’s. However subsequent studies have questioned his conclusion. Unfortunately Key’s article received lot of publicity and worked big time for Vegetable oil and food processing industries. They started promoting and funding further researches to disregard traditional foods like butter, ghee etc and built billion dollar industry of vegetable oils.
Saturated fats are highly stable and does not oxidizes fast when heated for cooking purpose, our body makes saturated fatty acid from carbohydrates that are found in animal fats and tropical oils. Monounsaturated fatty acids are also relatively stable and our body makes them from saturated fatty acids. Polyunsaturated fats contain two types of fatty acids omega 6 and omega 3. Public has been fed with great deal of misinformation about consumption of these two fatty acids through vegetable oils. The best evidence indicates that our intake of polyunsaturates should not be much greater than 4% of the caloric total, in approximate proportions of 2 % omega-3 and 2 % omega-6 acids. However most of these commercialized vegetable oils contains very high amount of omega 6 and very less quantity of omega 3. This causes very harmful imbalance in the body that leads to increased risk of cancer and heart disease; immune system dysfunction; damage to the liver, reproductive organs and lungs; digestive disorders; depressed learning ability; impaired growth; and weight gain.
The main problem with these oils is that it oxygenates very quickly. They putrefy when exposed to heat and air. Normally seeds and nuts are protected by their shell from oxidation. However when oil is extracted and exposed to heat for processing and refining it starts to deteriorate. These commercialized refined oils are exposed to heat as high as 315 degree celsius, whereas technically oil becomes synthetic after 160 degree celsius and that is when fatty acids changes to dangerous trans-fat.
In Ayurveda, oils are considered essential for strengthening body and tissues; it provides lubrication in the body and maintains regular bowel movements. Women need oil and fats for regular functioning of hormones. Fats and oils lubricate tissues and provide the basic building blocks for all hormone production in the body. Ayurveda also states that oils that are produced from nuts and seeds contain large amount of nutrients. Oh now the big question is that I just wrote a page criticizing vegetable oils. So the answer is it is not about the type of oil but the way it is processed and extracted is the problem. The process through which the oil gets heated and oxidizes to become refined oil is the cause of all harm. We should all consume our humble ghee and coconut oil though they are high on saturated fats. Also we should consume oils made of seeds and nuts but those which are extracted by not using heat. These are normally called ‘Cold Pressed Oils’. Though this process is costlier but it is going to help in saving lot of money in the long run. Also how much oil or fat do we actually need on daily basis? A person needs anything between 20-35 % fat of total calorie in a day and per gram of oil contain 9 calories. Along with oils there are other food items that we consume which contains fat- egg, milk, curd, cheese, paneer, chicken, fish and other animal products. Hence do we really need to use the amount of oil we are using to cook food? If we learn to use the right amount, cold pressed oils can be used economically.
I am putting Biochemical classification of different oils which I have found in a book. Though according to Ayurveda, one should consume varieties of oils as per their body type, which I will cover in my next article. In the meantime I hope this article helps you in breaking the challenging puzzle of which oil is good and what should I use.
Gradually the temperature is coming down, taking along health with viral fever, cold, cough and allergies. Fasting and going through detox during seasonal change helps us rejuvenate our body and boost immune system. In Ayurveda it is mentioned that Vata diminishes and Pitta is in its aggravating stage in our body. Hence giving right nourishment and relaxation to our digestive system helps us overcome seasonal health problems. Also the right food and diet plan, which we have shared later, will help in reducing few extra kilos which has been stubbornly stuck to us.