kris ulland

Your Nutrition Partner

Hair loss is normal for everyone and at every age. According to the American Academy of Dermatologists, it’s normal to lose anywhere from 50 to 100 strands of hair per day. For people with longer hair strands, losing them may be more noticeable. Since there are on average 100,000 hair follicles on each person’s scalp, the loss of 100 or so hair strands a day doesn’t make a big difference in appearance.

All hairs on your head are at a different stage of their two-to-five-year lifespan. Hair grows and dies in phases, and nutrition, stress, hygiene, and daily styling all play a role in how much hair you lose daily.

The phase in which a hair strand is growing is called the “anagen” phase, and 90 percent of the hair strands you have are currently in that phase. Hair grows about 1 centimeter per month during the anagen phase. When something stops your hair from growing, it’s called anagen effluvium. Anagen effluvium is what you would typically think of when you think of “hair loss”.

The catagen phase comes next. Only about 1 to 2 percent of your hairs are in the catagen phase at any given time. This phase lasts two to three weeks. During the catagen phase, the hair strand stops growing.

The last phase of hair growth is the telogen phase. Hairs in the telogen phase are also called “club hairs.” During this phase, a hair strand will be at rest as it prepares to detach from your scalp. About 8 to 9 percent of your hair is in this phase at any given time. It may not be shed until the active growing anagen phase, as the newly growing hair pushes it out.

It might be called a dead hair, but, in general, most of the length of your hair is dead. The only live cells in a growing hair are at the very base, under the skin. A club hair has no live cells.

Telogen effluvium describes having more than 10 percent of your hair in the telogen phase. Telogen effluvium is temporary, but more hair will fall out while you have it. Stress, surgery, or even having a fever for a few days can bring on telogen effluvium, but your hair will probably be back to normal within six months.

Baldness means you’ve inherited genes that cause your hair follicles (what each hair grows out of) to shrink and eventually stop growing hair. Shrinking can begin as early as your teens, but it usually starts later in life. In women, the first noticeable sign of hereditary hair loss is usually overall thinning or a widening part.  When a man has hereditary hair loss, the first sign is often a receding hairline or bald spot at the top of his head.

Hair loss (alopecia) can affect just your scalp or your entire body, and it can be temporary or permanent. It can be the result of heredity, hormonal changes, medical conditions or a normal part of aging. Anyone can lose hair on their head, but it’s more common in men.

Baldness typically refers to excessive hair loss from your scalp. Hereditary hair loss with age is the most common cause of baldness. Hair loss can appear in many different ways, depending on what’s causing it. It can come on suddenly or gradually and affect just your scalp or your whole body.

Signs and symptoms of hair loss include:

  • Gradual thinning on top of head. This is the most common type of hair loss, affecting people as they age. In men, hair often begins to recede at the hairline on the forehead. Women typically have a broadening of the part in their hair. An increasingly common hair loss pattern in older women is a receding hairline.
  • Circular or patchy bald spots. Some people lose hair in circular or patchy bald spots on the scalp, beard or eyebrows. Your skin may become itchy or painful before the hair falls out.
  • Sudden loosening of hair. A physical or emotional shock can cause hair to loosen. Handfuls of hair may come out when combing or washing your hair or even after gentle tugging. This type of hair loss usually causes overall hair thinning but is temporary.
  • Full-body hair loss. Some conditions and medical treatments, such as chemotherapy, can result in the loss of hair all over your body. The hair usually grows back.
  • Patches of scaling that spread over the scalp. This is a sign of ringworm. It may be accompanied by broken hair, redness, swelling and, at times, oozing.

See your doctor if you are distressed by persistent hair loss in you or your child and want to pursue treatment. For women who are experiencing a receding hairline, talk with your doctor about early treatment to avoid significant permanent baldness.

Also talk to your doctor if you notice sudden or patchy hair loss or more than usual hair loss when combing or washing your or your child’s hair. Sudden hair loss can signal an underlying medical condition that requires treatment.

Hair loss is typically related to one or more of the following factors:

  • Family history (heredity) The most common cause of hair loss is a hereditary condition that happens with aging. This condition is called androgenic alopecia, male-pattern baldness and female-pattern baldness. It usually occurs gradually and in predictable patterns – a receding hairline and bald spots in men and thinning hair along the crown of the scalp in women.
  • Age With age, most people notice some hair loss because hair growth slows. At some point, hair follicles stop growing hair, which causes the hair on our scalp to thin. Hair also starts to lose its color. Caught early, treatment helps some people regrow their hair.
  • Hormonal changes and medical conditions  A variety of conditions can cause permanent or temporary hair loss, including hormonal changes due to pregnancy, childbirth, menopause and thyroid problems. Medical conditions include alopecia areata which is immune system related and causes patchy hair loss, scalp infections such as ringworm, and a hair-pulling disorder called trichotillomania. A few months after giving birth, recovering from an illness, or having an operation, you may notice a lot more hairs in your brush or on your pillow. This can also happen after a stressful time in your life, such as a divorce or death of a loved one. A common cause of this imbalance is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). It leads to cysts on a woman’s ovaries, along with other signs and symptoms, which can include hair loss. Stopping some types of birth control pills can cause a temporary hormonal imbalance. 
    If the stress stops, your body will readjust and the excessive shedding will stop. When the shedding stops, most people see their hair regain its normal fullness within 6 to 9 months.
  • Medications and supplements Hair loss can be a side effect of certain drugs, such as those used for cancer, arthritis, depression, heart problems, gout and high blood pressure.
  • Radiation therapy to the head The hair may not grow back the same as it was before. If you receive chemotherapy or have radiation treatment to your head or neck, you may lose all (or most of) your hair within a few weeks of starting treatment. Hair usually starts to regrow within months of finishing chemotherapy or radiation treatments. Dermatologists can offer medication to help hair grow back more quickly. Wearing a cooling cap before, during, and after each chemotherapy session may help prevent hair loss.
  • A very stressful event Many people experience a general thinning of hair several months after a physical or emotional shock. This type of hair loss is temporary.
  • Hairstyles and treatments Excessive hairstyling or hairstyles that pull your hair tight, such as pigtails or cornrows, can cause a type of hair loss called traction alopecia. Hot-oil hair treatments and permanents also can cause hair to fall out. If scarring occurs, hair loss could be permanent. If you often wear your hair tightly pulled back, the continual pulling can lead to permanent hair loss. You can prevent hair loss by making some changes. If you color, perm, or relax your hair, you could be damaging your hair. Once you damage a hair follicle, hair cannot grow from that follicle. Having many damaged hair follicles creates permanent bald spots.

Next week’s blog discusses remedies to hair loss.

Guava

Guava fruit looks like a large lime or smooth avocado but the sweet flesh inside is nothing like these foods. Guava tastes more like a tropical strawberry-pear blend. Originally guava came from hot and humid areas in Mexico, Central America, Northern South America, and the Caribbean. Today guava is grown in many other tropical and subtropical climates in areas such as Asia, the United States, and Africa.

Most of the guava in the States is grown in Florida, where it was introduced as a crop to farmers in the mid-1800s by way of Cuba. There are around 30 types of guava in either the white or red category, which includes strawberry guava, cherry guava, Miami red guava, Behat Coconut guava, and apple guava. The pink guava fruits have more water content, fewer seeds, and aren’t as sweet as their white counterpart, which is denser and contains more starch. Guava comes in many sizes and is either round or shaped like an avocado. Guava is similar to passion fruit and is sweet without being saccharine and has an overall tropical essence.

Guava is a natural food that tastes like dessert and contains a lot of good-for-you nutrients. Guava has vitamins C and A, and potassium, copper, manganese, folate, and fiber. The seeds also offer eaters a tiny dose of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. There are 37 calories in one fruit and 12% of your recommended daily fiber intake.

Guava and passion fruit tend to get mixed up or used interchangeably. They are not the same, though both are roundish. Passion fruit has a purple-red outer shell that’s not edible, though the large dark seeds and flesh are. Guava can be eaten skin and all. Guava also contains a lot more vitamin C, where passion fruit has more iron and fiber. Passion fruit is more tart than guava when eaten raw.

Several test-tube and animal studies found that guava leaf extract improved blood sugar levels, long-term blood sugar control, and insulin resistance. One study in 19 people noted that drinking guava leaf tea lowered blood sugar levels after a meal. The effects lasted up to two hours. Another study in 20 people with type 2 diabetes found that drinking guava leaf tea reduced blood sugar levels after a meal by more than 10%.

Research shows that the high levels of antioxidants and vitamins in guava leaves may help protect your heart from damage by free radicals. The higher levels of potassium and soluble fiber in guavas are also thought to contribute to improved heart health.

Guava leaf extract has been linked to lower blood pressure, decreasing LDL cholesterol, and increasing HDL cholesterol. A 12-week study in 120 people found that eating ripe guava before meals caused an overall decrease in blood pressure by 8-9 points, a reduction in total cholesterol by 9.9%.

Taking 6 mg of guava leaf extract daily resulted in reduced pain intensity of menstrual symptoms. It appeared to be even more powerful than some painkillers.

Guava leaf extract may benefit digestive health. Studies suggest that it may reduce the intensity and duration of diarrhea. Several studies reveal that guava leaf extract is antimicrobial. This means that it can neutralize harmful microbes in your gut that can cause diarrhea.

The antioxidants and vitamins in guavas can help slow down the aging of your skin, while guava leaf extract may help treat acne.

Guava leaf extract has been shown to have an anticancer effect. Test-tube and animal studies show that guava extract can prevent and even stop the growth of cancer cells. This is likely due to the high levels of powerful antioxidants that prevent free radicals from damaging cells, one of the main causes of cancer. One test-tube study found that guava leaf oil was four times more effective at stopping cancer cell growth than certain cancer drugs.

Low levels of vitamin C are linked to an increased risk of infections and illness. Guavas are one of the richest food sources of vitamin C, almost twice the amount you would get from eating an orange. Vitamin C plays an important role in maintaining a healthy immune system.

Because vitamin C can easily be flushed out of your body, it’s important to regularly get enough through your diet.

How to Buy

You can find guava in specialty grocery stores around the country. However, if in Florida or nearby, fresh guava can be found in most supermarkets. Another way to source guava is to look for guava pulp frozen or in a jar, freeze-dried guava, or dried fruit. It’s easier to find the last two items, especially in a health food store, a Latino market, or in high-end stores that specialize in international ingredients and exotic fruits.

Approximately 30 types of red and white guavas are grown in a variety of sizes, and are either round or oval in shape. The most popular types of white guava on the market include Mexican Cream, Tropical White, Giant Vietnamese, and Pineapple Guava. On the red side, there’s Red Malaysian, Ruby-X, and Thai Maroon. There is one yellow-fleshed guava called Detwiler, a cultivar developed in California.

When shopping for guava look for the softest fruit of the bunch, this usually denotes the ripest and sweetest samples. Ripeness can be gauged by gently squeezing the outside of the fruit, and looking at the color, the darker the outside the less ripe it is.

How to Store

Fresh guava that is still dark green can be kept in a room-temperature kitchen in a bowl, or placed in a paper bag to help speed up ripening. Guava that’s a lighter green and/or with spots of pink should be eaten right away or kept in the refrigerator to slow the ripening process down. Cut guava can be stored inside a sealed container and will last this way for three or four days in the fridge. Slices of fresh guava can also be frozen and kept for eight months.

How to Cook

The whole guava fruit is edible and can be eaten like an apple. It can be bitten into whole, served sliced, or, if the outer shell isn’t appealing to the eater, the softer fruit can be scooped out. Guava flesh, seeds, and all, get made into smoothies and juice. Because guava has naturally occurring pectin, many countries process the fruit into sweet, dark jellies. Guava juice or jelly also works well as a vegetable marinade, and the natural sugars caramelize when heated on a grill. Guava is also a popular ingredient in many desserts. Usually, it’s in the form of a jam or fruit paste and cooked between layers of pastry or cake.

Guava Cheesecake

Charla/ That Girl Cooks Healthy

8-10 Slices

Ingredients

For the base:

  • cups almond flour
  • 5 tablespoon dairy-free butter melted
  • 4 tablespoon powdered sugar

For the cheesecake filling:

  • 12 oz vegan cream cheese
  • 10.5 oz vegan white chocolate
  • 1 cup guava puree
  • ½ cup full fat coconut milk
  • 4 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon agar agar powder, not the flakes, mixed with ¼ cup of warm water

For the topping:

  • ¼ cup guava puree

Instructions

To make the base:

  • Line the base and perimeter of a  8” spring-form pan with parchment paper.
  • Place the almond flour, dairy free butter and powdered sugar in a bowl.
  • Use your hands or a pastry cutter to make a crumbly texture (it should be slightly sticky).
  • Once formed, pour the crumbs into the pan and use the back of a spoon to flatten the crumbs to form the cheesecake base.
  • If you want to bake the base, this is an optional step, do so on 350°F, 10-12 until slightly golden.

For the filling:

  • Break the white chocolate into pieces, and place in a medium sized heat proof bowl. Fill a saucepan (that is the same size of the bowl) half way with water and bring to the boil.
  • Once boiling, place the bowl of chocolate over the saucepan to create a makeshift double boiler, reduce the heat to medium and leave the chocolate to melt. (Do not stir the chocolate or it will ruin).
  • Place the cream cheese in a medium sized bowl and whisk with a hand mixer until smooth (don’t over mix) it should take less than 1 minute.
  • Pour and whisk in the full fat coconut milk and powdered sugar.
  • Pour the melted chocolate into the bowl and whisk until fully combined.
  • Add the guava puree then whisk until the mixture is smooth.
  • Scoop out a few tablespoons of the cheesecake filling and stir into the agar agar mixture
  • Stir the agar agar mixture into the cheesecake filling using a spoon.
  • Pour the filling onto the base of the cheesecake.
  • Spoon the remaining guava puree on top of the cheesecake in blobs then use a blunt knife to marble the puree using a back and fourth/side to side motion (don’t run the knife too deep, just less than an inch into the cheesecake is fine).
  • Carefully transfer the cheesecake into the freezer and leave to set overnight.

To serve the cheesecake:

  • Remove the cheesecake from the freezer about 10 minutes before serving.
  • Allow the cheesecake to thaw out for about 5 minutes.
  • Push the base of the cheese cake upwards, using the palm of your hand, don’t be tempted to run a knife around the perimeter. Keep trying until it eventually loosens up.
  • Remove the parchment paper from the perimeter and use a knife to slice the amount of portions you need.
  • Return any leftovers to the freezer immediately before serving.
  • Eat the cheesecake once it is soft, if you don’t want the cheesecake straight away then return it to the freezer or it will soften too much and create a mess (treat it like ice cream)

Notes:

  • Be sure to use a good quality vegan cream cheese i.e tofutti, Trader Joe, Kite Hill, Bute Island etc..
  • Goya has a sugar free guava puree, you will need roughly 2 packs of this.
  • Alternatively, use canned (2 should be enough) guava, if it is in syrup then drain off the syrup and rinse the fruit in water to rid any excess syrup.
  • Don’t skip the use of vegan white chocolate, that helps to stabilize the cheesecake.
  • Use agar agar powder NOT the flakes (it doesn’t seem to hold up very good)
  • Remove the cheesecake no more than 10 minutes before serving. 

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