The best ways to stop hair loss.

Plus: Is dark chocolate actually healthy?

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"Health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind, and spirit." - B.K.S. Iyengar

The Daily Tonic is a two to five-minute read sharing science-backed health news and tips, all while getting you to crack a smile or even lol on occasion.

Tuesday. Get ready for a week packed with headlines about this so-called “debt ceiling.” I am no fiscal expert (not even close), but it sounds like there is an impending financial crisis that only our (brilliant) elected officials can avoid. Ah, yes —nothing to stress about there. The thought of an impending crisis is enough to make your hair fall out. So what can you do (aside from avoiding the news) to keep a healthy head of hair? Let’s dive in. 

Keeping A Good Head Of Hair

Hair loss is a common concern caused by aging or genetics. It's so common, in fact, that by the age of 35, two-thirds of men will experience some form of hair loss. And it's not just men – 40% of Americans who experience hair loss are women. So why do some people lose hair faster than others? Is it all just age and genetics, or can lifestyle also play a factor?

Diet plays a significant role in hair health. Increasing protein intake has been linked to hair growth, and low protein levels may contribute to hair loss. Crash diets that deprive the body of essential nutrients have also been shown to harm hair health. This shouldn’t be too surprising, but it's important to maintain a balanced diet with sufficient protein to support healthy hair growth.

If the nutrition piece is already in place, appropriate supplementation can also help prevent hair loss. Taking multivitamin supplements, especially those containing selenium, vitamin B, zinc, vitamin D, iron, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E, may promote hair health. Just remember that the FDA does not regulate supplements, so it is important to choose products vetted by third-party companies that can ensure quality and safety.

In addition to supplements, certain practices and products have shown the potential to help people have healthier hair. Although more research is needed, scalp massages have shown promising results in stimulating hair growth. Low-level laser light therapy, also known as red light therapy, has been found to increase hair density and thickness. There is even some research to suggest that applying coconut oil to the scalp may help prevent hair loss.

And just when you thought coffee was just a delicious morning drink, it turns out that caffeine-infused products such as shampoos and conditioners can be as effective as some medications in preventing hair loss. I don’t think that means adding coffee to your shampoo, though, so I would do some more research before pouring an iced latte over your head.

While hair loss is a natural part of the hair growth cycle, it is important to note that excessive hair loss may be a red flag warning you of some other underlying condition or deficiency. Genetics, hormonal changes, stress, certain hairstyles, medications, and more can contribute to hair loss. Finding out why your hair is falling out is an essential first step before you start going through and trying everything on the laundry list of remedies we listed above.

Reversing hair loss is also possible in some cases, but it largely depends on the underlying cause. Temporary hair loss due to medications, pregnancy, stress, or weight loss can often be resolved over time. Dermatologists can also offer corticosteroid injections, platelet-rich plasma therapy, or prescription medications like finasteride to promote hair regrowth. Still, like with any other medical interventions, these should be viewed as last resort.

The key takeaway? No one wants to lose their hair, but unfortunately, hair loss is one of those things that is still inevitable as we age. Some of us might have missed winning the genetic lottery, and thinning hair is simply the cards we were dealt. But regardless of your situation, a healthy lifestyle can absolutely promote healthier hair. A whole foods-based, balanced diet with adequate protein and proper stress management are two of the most important things you can do for your hair and overall health.

Who would have thought?

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Health Food Or Indulgent Snack?

Is dark chocolate a superfood or a devil in disguise?

On the superfood side, dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants and has been shown to have a favorable impact on blood pressure. It's got fiber and a bunch of minerals like iron, magnesium, copper, and manganese. Just remember, if you want to reap these perks, stick to dark chocolate with a high cocoa content. Milk chocolate is not going to cut it here.

But there's always a catch. Dark chocolate is sneaky with its high-calorie count, so portion control is key; you can’t just use antioxidants as an excuse to inhale a bar of chocolate every night.

And there is also something else. Recent research from Consumer Reports found that some dark chocolate bars may contain higher levels of heavy metals like cadmium and lead.

So what is the final verdict? As far as indulgent snacks go, dark chocolate is probably a better choice than many other options, but I wouldn’t go so far as to label it a superfood, or a health food, for that matter.

So feel free to indulge, but just make sure to do so responsibly.

Tonic Shots

  • Have you ever had hemp seeds? These versatile seeds are rich in anti-inflammatory omega-3s, packed with vitamins and minerals, and plant-based protein. Here are ten delicious ways to enjoy these superfood seeds! Read more.

  • It’s not quite dark chocolate, but these meat snacks can pack a nutritional punch along with the protein you need to keep a full head of hair. Read more.

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