By Christina of The Mane Objective
I’ll be the first to admit, that a lot of my healthier habits are rooted solely in benefiting my hair. But as it turns out, many healthy habits, products, and supplements can be of benefit to your body holistically as well. Check out some healthy hair practices that have what I like to call collateral benefits:
When most people first look for a vitamin or supplement to work on hair growth from the “inside”, they are pointed in the direction of Biotin. Biotin aka Vitamin H supports the growth and strengthening of healthy hair and nails. It is also beneficial in metabolizing fats and amino acids (energy production), and can help stabilize blood sugar levels. So if you’re feeling sluggish, consider Biotin to give your hair and your metabolism a boost!
MSM aka Methylsulfonylmethane
When you visit a health store like The Vitamin Shoppe, you’ll find MSM in the section for supplements related to joint health. We’ll learn why in a second. As far as hair is concerned, MSM has shown some promising effects on hair growth. The life cycle of your hair consists of 3 phases: growing, resting, and shedding. Not only is sulfur a building block for your hair, it also has been shown to lengthen the growing phase of your hair. A longer growing phase (before resting and shedding) means longer hair. Now back to the first point. MSM is often found in the joint health section, generally alongside Glucosamine and Chondroitin. It provides the essential sulfur foundation that the body needs to form proteins and connective tissue. It also helps synthesize and activates vitamins, and maintain the immune system. MSM is helpful in relieving swelling, inflammation and pain. So think of all the conditions that are a result of inflammation in the body. Yeah. MSM has the potential to solve that (it has done wonders for my joints and allergies). Note: I am not a licensed medical professional, and do not take my advice as a prescription for MSM. As with any supplement, check with your healthcare provider first.
Everyone knows, or at least I think everyone knows, that our bodies are comprised of over 70% water. Water is simply put, essential to the functioning of our bodies. I started out drinking more water when I learned about its hydrating effects on the hair (our hair is relatively 25% water). In the process of increasing my water consumption, I have not only slashed the sugary calories I’d normally chug (which totally helps with this whole getting healthy thing), my skin is clearer, and it supports my insides running like clockwork (tmi? perhaps). If you’re not a fan of plain ol’ water, try tossing in a few slices of citrus like lemon, lime, or orange. It makes for a great daytime refreshing beverage. Alternatively, have a cup of tea — just don’t add sugar and cream and whatnot…that totally defeats the purpose. Right now I’m sipping on a mug of Tazo “Zen” spearmint lemongrass green tea with a wedge of lemon.
Coconut oil is hands down one of the best moisturizing and nourishing oils out there. It is my personal favorite, and an undeniable staple (although Vatika Oil is clamoring for the top spot something fierce!)… In addition to being one of the few oils that is able to penetrate the hair follicle and actually moisturize, it is versatile enough to use on your skin, and in your food! Coconut oil as a health supplement is believed to support healthy cholesterol levels, weight loss, promote immune system and metabolism functions, and more. I haven’t exactly made the switch to eating it but…if I cook with it, I will let ya’ll know. I do however, use it on my face every day. I also did a small experiment with my elbows (rough skin + psoriasis), and they are ridiculously smooth — after about 2 weeks of use!
I’m still trying to wrap my brain around this one. But in addition to being a moisturizing and sealing agent in hair, Aloe Vera promotes internal health and digestion (and some claim it supports weight loss), and has external healing properties. It’s no wonder most skin rejuvenating and healing products include Aloe Vera in their ingredient list. It is an anti-inflammatory (great for cuts, burns, psoriasis, eczema and other skin conditions), full of minerals, can help fight dandruff and dry scalp, and even helps fight acne and blemishes. Are you really waiting for another reason to grab some Aloe Vera?
Castor oil isn’t just great for sealing moisture into hair, it’s also great for treating a variety of skin conditions, reduce pain, stimulating the immune system and as a natural laxative.
What are some other great products and practices with collateral benefit?