Many people do not like the idea of aging, but age does not necessarily have to mean gray hair, sagging skin, lost muscle tone, and sinking energy levels. There are many natural ways to keep your energy high, your skin healthy, and to encourage cell rejuvenation. Below are a few tips to help you stay young and healthy well into your golden years!
Regrow Healthy Hair
There are many natural methods to help regrow hair as well as cover your grays. If hair loss is your concern, you can replenish hair growth with the Chinese herb arbovita (also called Platycladus orientalis and Semen Platycladi). Apply arborvita to stimulate follicles, improve blood flow, and strip away root-clogging oils. I have recommended this herb to my patients over the past 20 years with very good success. A natural herbal blend that combines herbs to nourish hair follicles and promote healthy hair is my Hair Nurture formula. A Chinese herb for graying hair is “Shou wu” (also called “fo-ti” or polygonum root). Found in a hair nurture supplement available in Asian herb stores, it’s used to restore hair growth and reverse graying. Eating black sesame seeds, black beans, and walnuts are thought to reverse graying hair, too.
You can also cover up the gray by using natural colorants to dye your hair. Chamomile and lemon juice can color light hair. Henna works well for shades of light brown and red. Coffee or black tea can be used by brunettes. Here’s how: Brew two to four cups of strong coffee (or tea), and allow to cool. Pour over dry, tangle-free hair. Thoroughly saturate your hair, and use your fingers to work through. Leave on for ten to twenty minutes and then rinse out. Be mindful of staining carpets and other items. This method is a way to naturally dye your hair over time, but its temporary, and must be repeated regularly. For a dark black hair coloring, you can make the coffee mixture and add in some squid ink.
Revitalize Growth Hormones
The term “human growth hormone” may bring to mind images of athletes and bodybuilders. In reality, HGH, which is produced by the pituitary gland in the brain, maintains healthy cell growth for everyone. When we’re young, we secrete a lot of this hormone to build bones and develop muscles. After age 25, HGH production wanes, and our bodies tend to have less lean tissue, more fat, and thinner skin; hair begins to fall out and mental function declines – all this happens because our cells aren’t replacing themselves as efficiently as before. I do not recommend using artificial HGH supplementation, as it has possible side effects, including joint discomfort and blood sugar imbalance.
Instead, you can stimulate your body to produce more HGH on its own by doing squats to exercise the large muscles. In one study, squatting exercises caused an eightfold increase in HGH levels. You can also do leg presses at the gym. At home, simply grasp a heavy object, bend your knees, keep your spine straight, squat down and hold the position, count to 10, then come back up. Of course, be mindful of your knees and don’t do this if you have knee issues.
I have many patients that complain about one of the hallmarks of aging: waning energy. Here are some energy-enhancing strategies:
• Magnesium is an essential mineral that mitochondria, the tiny power generators in your cells, require to help your body produce energy. Many people don’t get enough of this essential mineral, because two common dietary habits leach magnesium from our bodies: using too much salt and eating too much dairy. You can get your fill of magnesium from eating whole grains (such as brown rice, oats, millet, and whole wheat products, like bread and pasta) and a variety of nuts and seeds. Have a daily handful of pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, Brazil nuts, and cashews. If you prefer capsule form, try taking 500 mg of magnesium daily.
• Fatigue can also come from a deficiency of B vitamins. Get your B’s from eggs, fish (especially shellfish), orange juice, leafy green vegetables like spinach and collard greens, and sunflower, sesame, and other seeds. Or take B vitamins as a daily supplement – just be sure the product includes the whole complex and is formulated to avoid imbalance.
• For a pick-me-up, drink two to three cups of ginseng tea every morning. Unlike coffee, which stimulates the central nervous system, ginseng elevates energy gently.
• Start practicing Tai Chi, Qi Gong, or Dao-In yoga, which are gaining popularity in the US. These gentle exercises promote energy, balance, and a calm mind. Many recent studies have confirmed their balancing action for blood pressure, sugar, cholesterol, equilibrium, and other organ functions. Though these exercises will make you feel younger than your years, they can be practiced at nearly any age – my own Tai Chi teacher was 90 years old.
May you Live Long, Live Strong, and Live Happy!
Dr. Mao Shing Ni, best known as Dr. Mao, is a bestselling author, doctor of Oriental Medicine, and board certified anti-aging expert. He has appeared regularly on “Dr. Oz,” “The Doctors,” and “EXTRA.” Dr. Mao practices acupuncture, nutrition, and Chinese medicine with his associates at the Tao of Wellness in Santa Monica and Newport Beach. Dr. Mao and his brother, Dr. Daoshing Ni, founded the Tao of Wellness more than 25 years ago in addition to founding Yo San University in Marina del Rey. To subscribe to his tip-filled newsletter please visit www.taoofwellness.com. To make an appointment for evaluation and treatment please call 310.917.2200 or you can email Dr. Mao at email@example.com.