6 Surprising Food Cures

green tea in a clear glass on a saucerIf someone told you there were eight foods that could make you more beautiful and help you feel a lot healthier, you’d want to eat up, right?

Consider this your grocery list.

Problem: Thin, Dry Hair
Fix: Green Tea

The benefits of green tea keep piling up, and here’s another one: The caffeine in tea slows the production of a chemical that shrinks hair follicles and results in thinner strands. He recommends two to three cups of tea daily. (Coffee drinkers, your morning cup of java can have the same effect.) But if you’re plagued with dry, flaky scalp or hair loss, it may be a sign that you’re not getting enough zinc. Meet your 8 milligram daily quota with a variety of zinc-rich foods like crabmeat, yogurt, baked beans, green peas and pumpkin seeds.

Problem: PMS
Fix: Milk or Cheese

When women don’t get enough calcium, they may experience more severe cramps, mood swings and bloating. Research found that 1,200 milligrams of calcium a day (the amount in about two slices of Swiss cheese plus a glass of skim milk and a yogurt) can cut premenstrual symptoms by as much as 48 percent. If you tend to get headaches during your period, you may be low in magnesium. A quarter cup of almonds or cashews can help you meet up to 30 percent of your day’s needs for the mineral.

Problem: A Bad Mood
Fix: Healthy Carbs

When you’re blue, you probably crave sweets, and there’s a biological reason why: Simple carbs prompt the brain to secrete serotonin, the calming hormone that can ease stress and depression. But after the initial spike in mood, sugary treats set up the body for a blood sugar crash that can make your bad mood worse. A better food group for a boost in spirits: complex carbs like chickpeas, lentils and whole-grain bread.

Problem: Acne
Fix: Fish or Walnuts
What you don’t want: anything made with white flour, especially refined, processed carbs like white bread and sugary cereals. (One study found that these foods triggered more breakouts than a diet rich in fish, fruit, whole grains and legumes.) What you do want: Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, which help control inflammation throughout the body, including inflammatory acne. That means halibut, walnuts, flaxseeds—and especially salmon.

Problem: Splitting Nails
Fix: Protein

We think of nails as one layer, the one that gets buffed and painted during a mani. But your nails are actually made up of layers of a protein called keratin—and eating protein may strengthen those layers. If your nails are weak, for a lot of women, the easiest fix is protein. Researchers from the University of North Carolina who studied the growth of big toenails (no, we’re not kidding) found that nail growth rates have increased by almost 25 percent since the 1930s, possibly because protein-rich foods are more available. But some women today still don’t get enough because of chronic dieting. Most of us require between 45 and 65 grams per day, so try to eat some protein, like lean beef, poultry, fish or nuts, at every meal. Don’t forget breakfast: Just two eggs provide 12.5 grams—roughly 20 percent of your daily requirement.

Problem: Bad Breath
Fix: Plain Yogurt

Breath mints may be a quick fix, but they don’t combat the main cause of bad breath—a buildup of bacteria on your tongue, in between your teeth and in the back of your throat (often caused by food left behind from not brushing thoroughly enough). In fact, if your breath mint contains sugar, it’ll actually feed those microbes and can make odor worse in the long run. But Japanese research has found that eating plain, sugar-free yogurt may help get rid of the stinky sulfur compounds.

Can Lack Of Sleep Lead To Hair Loss?

A hair brush on a surface(BlackDoctor.org) — Even if you manage to cover the dark circles under your eyes and get the red out, your hair may be a dead giveaway that you’ve been burning the midnight oil.

Sleep is the body’s natural restoration period, the time when it rejuvenates and repairs itself. When this suffers, our hair can too. Without enough shut-eye, our tresses simply won’t grow as thick or as fast, and they will often lose their shine and bounce.

Worse than lackluster hair is losing it altogether.

According to a leading hair loss clinic in Britain, The Belgravia Centre, a lack of sleep has been shown to affect the body’s immune function, hormone secretion, and physical and mental stamina. Hair is very sensitive to changes within the body, and hair loss is nearly always the consequence of an internal disturbance.

That internal disturbance is often stress — something that goes hand and hand with sleep deprivation.

While some people can get enough sleep in just a few hours each night, others need a full eight or nine hours to feel fully rested. Either way, if the normal sleep pattern is disrupted, it can trigger emotional and physical stress.

Senior trichologist at the Belgravia Centre, Leonora Doclis, says, “Sleep deprivation is a form of stress, a terrible form of stress.”

Doclis goes on to state, “Stress can indeed cause hair loss. In those susceptible to male pattern baldness or female pattern hair loss, stress can instigate, accelerate and aggravate the problem.”

In addition to getting enough zzz’s, you can pamper your slumbering strands with a nighttime masque or leave-in conditioner.

You can also treat your tresses to a silk or satin pillowcase. Besides feeling delightfully soft, the smooth surface creates less friction so it’s easier on your locks when you toss and turn. This can not only help prevent hair loss and breakage overnight, it can also keep your hairstyle in check — possibly avoiding the dreaded bed head when you wake.