In the News: Aloe Vera May Improve Hair Health, Cinnamon May Control Blood Sugar, Dancing Can Improve Brain Health

Aloe vera may improve hair health. Most often associated with sun burns and skin irritation, aloe vera may also be helpful when it comes to hair vitality and growth. While this connection isn’t universally proven yet, aloe vera is packed with hair-friendly ingredients such as fatty acids, various vitamins, amino acids, minerals, and plant steroids. In a study focusing on seborrheic dermatitis (a skin condition often found on the scalp), applying aloe vera helped reduce itchiness, scaly irritation, and reduced the amount of scalp affected by this condition overall. Only time will tell how this powerful plant will play a role in hair health in the years to come. Want to give aloe vera a try? Try making this delicious shake. (MN)

Cinnamon may control blood sugar. As fall approaches, cinnamon will be sneaking up in all sorts of food and beverages. This fragrant spice not only imparts an all-natural sweetness but also provides an array of health benefits too. The key is to choose the right type of cinnamon. The two basic kinds are Ceylon, which is grown in Sri Lanka, and Cassia, which is grown in China and Indonesia. While Cassia has a strong flavor and scent and is often used in the foods we consume, Ceylon, the more expensive kind, can provide health benefits. This spice has shown a promising effect on diabetes and cholesterol, and the antioxidants found in cinnamon may also play a role in fighting HIV, dementia, lower blood pressure, and cancer. To learn more about the benefits of cinnamon, check out this gallery. (CNN)

Dancing can improve brain health. Research has shown that certain types of exercise can have a major impact on the hippocampus — the part of the brain responsible for learning, memory, and balance. Dancing and endurance training are both effective in keeping the brain young, but dancing, in particular, plays a role in behavioral skills. These findings are particularly exciting for the senior citizen community, and they may inspire new extracurricular programs across the board. One such program, known as “Jimmin” (jamming and gymnastics), combines melodies with physical activity, which helps dementia patients who have strong reactions to music. (SD)