It's often difficult to get a doctor's appointment if you want to fit a quick health check into your busy routine. Fortunately, examining your own hair, skin, teeth and nails can reveal a lot about your general wellbeing.
Your crowning glory
Healthy hair is a sign that you have strong, healthy kidneys. To ensure that you have strong, luxurious hair, take care of your kidneys by:
- Drinking lots of water.
- Avoiding salt.
- Cutting out nasty foods such as coffee, refined sugar, alcohol, dairy and fatty foods.
- Eating more onions, seaweed, salmon, beans and grains.
You can also improve the way your hair looks by increasing your intake of the protein keratin. Hair is largely made up of this protein, which is found in beans, seeds, grains, tofu sprouts and fish.
Other hair-healthy vegetables, such as nori, hijiki and arame can be added to delicious soups, salads and casseroles. Many common vegetables, including onions, garlic, carrots and bell peppers, are a great source of silica - another of the main building blocks of hair.
Health information at your fingertips
Another useful indicator of overall health is the condition of your fingernails. A healthy nail will be strong and flexible. It should also be pink in colour and free of blemishes. If your nails are thin and brittle, prone to splitting or pale and transparent, this is a sure sign that something is wrong.
The health of the nails is connected to your liver, so any problems could point to trouble with this vital organ. To improve liver function, you should avoid alcohol, enjoy a low fat diet, and introduce liver-purifying juices into your daily routine. Useful ingredients include beetroot, cucumber, carrot, apple and aloe vera.
Something to get your teeth into
The condition of your teeth and gums is another sign of internal health. If your gums bleed easily, this is an indicator that things could be seriously wrong.
Fortunately, it doesn't take a huge sacrifice to improve the health of your teeth. If you increase your calcium intake, especially through plant sources of calcium such as seaweed, sesame seeds, figs and quinoa, this should quickly strengthen your teeth and bones.
Drink herbal teas such as tea tree and myrrh and begin a course of vitamin C supplements to give your teeth and gums a real boost.
Your skin's deepest secrets
As the largest organ in the body, the skin is also a great indicator of any imbalance in your diet and the effect this could be having on you.
Dry skin can be caused by many things, including age, stress levels and climate. However, nutritional deficiencies can also cause dry and chapped skin, and you personally can do a lot to fix this.
If you avoid red meat, alcohol, salt and refined sugar, you should see an improvement in your skin condition after a couple of weeks. Eating more foods rich in antioxidants, such as berries, spinach, broccoli and romaine lettuce is also highly beneficial.
Flax oil and evening primrose oil both promote healthy, radiant skin. Moreover, if you take up yoga and regular meditation, this will help naturally rejuvenate the skin, as well as improving circulation.
It's hardly surprising that what is happening on the outside of the body is a reflection of what is going on inside it, and it is always useful to know what you can do to improve the general health of your body.
Nutritionist Gillian McKeith gives more information on how you can get to know your body and recognise the signs of common ailments on her website http://www.mckeithinteractive.com/yourfacts.aspx
She is the author of the newest bestselling book ‘Gillian McKeith's Food Bible', and known around the world for her television programme You Are What You Eat.
This article was written by Tony Head, a copywriter with an interest in healthy living.