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How to choose the right Ayurvedic shampoo for your hair

The Kashmir Monitor

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The instant results of chemical-based shampoos is almost addictive – one wash, and your hair resembles that from a commercial. However, when it comes to Ayurvedic hair products – and by this we mean the real deal sans any chemicals, opinion is still divided regarding their efficacy.
“The feel of using chemical products is certainly much better, with respect to fragrance and immediate effects,” says Dr Sharad Kulkarni, in-house expert at brand Kama Ayurveda. “However, while the high levels of chemicals and synthetic materials may give instant results, over a period of time they tend to damage the hair, and even the skin.”
Agrees Dr Akanksha Kotibhaskar, Ayurvedic Consultant with Forest Essentials, who says, “Synthetic substances present in chemical-based shampoos and conditioners cause excessive dryness, which makes the hair brittle and leads to breakage. The natural oil from the scalp and hair gets stripped off due to the harsh chemicals, leading to premature greying and frizziness.”
In contrast, they opine that the natural ingredients and herbs in Ayurvedic shampoos and conditioners not only cleanse the hair and scalp gently, but also have a curative effect in the long run. According to experts at Ayurvedic beauty brand Biotique, “Ayurvedic hair products are made with natural plant and vegetable extract that are aimed at solving specific concerns.” They state that chemical-based products can only control the conditions symptomatically, but not offer a long-term cure.
Of course, it’s not all that simple as it looks. The dosha (bodily humor or bio-energy centre in Ayurvedic medicine) and season also play important roles in deciding what product would work for you. As Dr Kulkarni explains, “I prefer selecting herbal products with respect to the dosha of the individual, and according to the season, which we term Rutu/Ritu (season) Charya (regimen to maintain a healthy life). There is also a possibility that the dosha may turn aggressive in a given season or because of an imbalance in the hair, mind, body or skin. All these factors need to be kept in mind.”
Only a trained specialist or Ayurvedician can prescribe the correct products, but Dr. Kotibhaskar states that the current formulations are more holistically created and are clinically backed to cure different concerns. “For example, bhringraj controls hair thinning and promotes hair growth, mulethi conditions and strengthens the hair, amla (Indian gooseberry) prevents premature aging, and lotus extract is an excellent conditioning agent. Therefore, Ayurvedic Haircare products can be selected on the basis of a particular concern and the key ingredients as well,” she adds.
That said, the results can sometimes take a tad longer than what one may be used. While the effects also depend on one’s diet, the results intensify gradually with each successive use. “I would call it a subtle, positive effect that adds up over time,” says Dr Kulkarni, adding, “It is a stable, longer effect unlike chemical-based products that can give you faster and noticeable results but at the cost of harming the hair in the long run.”
The mane can also sometimes get too dry after using Ayurvedic products, but Dr Kotibhaskar explains, “This is because Ayurvedic shampoos that are not formulated with pure ingredients contain plant substances like tannins. They lack the sufficient natural conditioning agents, leading to dryness. Always select products carefully, and supplement this with oil massage for nourishment and conditioning.”
If you don’t have the time for a leisurely head massage before the wash, Dr Kulkarni suggests applying a few drops of oil to wet hair post the wash.
Lastly, some ingredients work better for certain conditions, but as a general rule of thumb, remember that dry hair is best cured with oils such as sesame, almond and coconut; oily hair can be treated with triphala; amla and aloe vera work wonders on damaged hair; and ingredients like neem, hibiscus and methi (fenugreek).


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Health

Skin Ageing Worrying You? Make These Food Swaps Now!

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Do you know what foods to eat to reverse ageing? You may be surprised to know that it is no rocket science. For a younger-looking, clear and radiant skin, all you really need is a healthy diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and regular exercise. And while you may be following everything that is part of a healthy lifestyle, but still have fine lines or wrinkles on your skin. This may be because of a poor diet, chronic stress and use of beauty products with harmful chemicals.

Along with using the right kind of products for your skin, a couple of food swaps can take a long way in terms of preventing skin ageing and signs of ageing like wrinkles, fine lines, spots, dark circles etc.

Making a few nutrient-rich beauty food swaps can provide you with phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that promote and support the essential functions of skin. These foods can prevent and reverse effects of ageing on the skin.

 

Food swaps to prevent ageing

  1. Processed food with low GI foods

High glcyemic index (GI) or processed foods like white bread, cake, pasta and white rice can be swapped by low GI goods like whole foods like whole wheat, brown rice and sweet potatoes.

High GI goods can cause spike in blood sugar levels, which results in more insulin entering the blood stream, thus increasing inflammation. Inflammation causes oxidative stress in the body, which threaten production of collagen and DNA, and result in fine lines and wrinkles.

  1. Refined sugar with natural sweeteners

Refined sugar can again cause spike in blood sugar, thus interfering with skin’s collagen and elastin production. Replace them with natural sweeteners like jaggery, honey, coconut sugar and dates. Natural sweetness in fruits and vegetables can be beneficial for delaying skin ageing. Fruits like berries, apples and oranges are rich in Vitamin C, fibre and antioxidants that are great for the skin. Antioxidants in these fruits neutralise free radicals that result in premature ageing of the skin.

  1. Fried food for omega 3 fatty acids

Greasy fried foods can trigger acne breakouts. What’s more is that they can contribute to weight gain, type 2 diabetes and cause free radical damage that can cause premature ageing of the skin. Replace them with omega 3 fatty acids rich foods like walnuts, fatty fish, olive oil and coconut oil. Not only are omega 3 fatty acids great for heart health, they are good for retaining the glow on your skin.

  1. Coffee with green tea

Caffeine in coffee works as a diuretic which can dehydrate your skin and make it dry. It can also cause dullness on skin that can make you look way older than you are. Opt for detoxifying green tea for a fresh and younger looking skin. Green tea contains caffeine, but in very small amounts. This will give you the energy boost you need. Polyphenols in green tea can moisturise your skin, slow down the ageing process and also fight the damage caused by free radicals.

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Health

Light physical activity may lower CVD risk in women

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While strolling or running are beneficial for heart health, light physical activity, such as gardening and folding clothes, may also lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) in older women, say researchers.

The study showed that such activities might be enough to significantly reduce stroke or heart failure by up to 22 per cent and the risk of heart attack or coronary death by as much as 42 per cent.

The association was strong across all racial and ethnic groups, noted the study published in the journal JAMA Network Open.

 

“The higher the amount of activity, the lower the risk,” said co-author Andrea LaCroix, Researcher at the University of California, San Diego.

“And the risk reduction showed regardless of the women’s overall health status, functional ability or even age. In other words, the association with light physical activity was apparent regardless of these other factors,” LaCroix added.

For the study, researchers studied nearly 6,000 women aged 63 to 97. They were made to wear a device which measured their movement 24 hours a day for seven consecutive days.

The device was also calibrated by age to distinguish between light, and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.

Most people do not think of folding clothes or walking to the mailbox as physical activity of any kind, the researchers said.

“This study suggests that for older women, any and all movement counts towards better cardiovascular health,” said David Goff, Director at National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) in the US.

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Health

These Two Foods Should Definitely Be In Your Diet If You Are On A Weight Loss Program

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When it comes to weight loss, we all know that healthy eating is extremely important. However, when we talk of healthy eating, there may be some peculiarities which need to be followed. This includes keeping an eye on how much protein, fats, carbs and fibre you should be eating. Time and again, it has been said that increasing the intake of proteins and cutting down on intake of carbs and fats can help you lose weight but not health. This is primarily because protein helps you keep full for longer and reduces your appetite. There are many protein-rich foods which can be included in your like whole eggs, chicken, legumes, dairy products, healthy nuts, whole grains and fish. Apart from these common protein-rich foods there are two protein-rich foods which can help in weight loss. In the following article, we will talk about these common foods rich in proteins and extremely healthy.

Chickpeas for weight loss

Chickpeas are extremely delicious in taste. Even better they are rich in protein and fiber, both the nutrients which are essential for weight loss. Fibre keeps you fuller for longer and protein helps in controlling your hunger pangs. The fiber content in chickpeas is also good for your digestive system. Chickpeas are high in fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B-6 content which is beneficial for maintain the heart health. The good amounts of fiber in chickpeas helps lower the cholesterol levels and thus decreases the risk of heart diseases. Also, chickpeas contain some other nutrients like folic acid, manganese, iron, copper, magnesium, and molybdenum. You can mix chickpeas with rice or whole grains to get the wholesome amount of proteins in your diet. You can also make a chickpea salad with eggs or some cubes of cottage cheese and tofu.

 

Sweet potatoes for weight loss

Sweet potatoes are extremely nutritious and offer several health benefits. But there is a possibility that you might not know that sweet potatoes can help you to lose weight. The high amount of dietary fiber, the low calorie content all work together to make sweet potatoes a great food if you are on a weight loss program. The reason why sweet potatoes help you lose weight is due to their high amount of dietary fiber. Fiber in sweet potatoes promotes fullness for a long period of time, thereby preventing overeating in the next meal. Also, fiber takes time to digest. Foods high in fiber take time to leave your stomach and enter your digestive tract. This prevents you from overeating and thereby reducing the chances of high calorie intake which further leads to weight gain. You can have sweet potatoes in your salads or simply bake them and roast them.

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