Graying hair is a natural part of the aging process – and nothing to be ashamed of. However, for some people, it happens much earlier than they would expect (or like). While genetics are often involved, sometimes, gray hairs may be a sign of certain dietary mis-steps.
Not getting enough of certain nutrients, and potentially introducing toxins into your body through unhealthy foods, may interfere with the body’s production of melanin, the pigment responsible for hair, skin and eye color. If melanin is compromised, you may be looking at a head full of grays years before you were genetically meant to.
One vitamin that is important in preventing premature gray hairs is vitamin B12. A deficiency in this vitamin, which is usually found in meat, poultry and seafood, has been associated with untimely grays. If you do not eat meat, eggs and dairy products including milk, cheese and yogurt you may be low on B12. If you are a vegan, you may wish to talk to a health professional about a high-quality supplement.
Copper is a mineral which is integral to the body’s production of melanin. It has been found by some research to be low in individuals who prematurely get gray hairs. Foods including leafy green vegetables, avocados, tomatoes, nuts and beans – to name just a few – provide your body with a rich source of copper. Another vitamin that helps prevent graying is folate, which can also be found in leafy greens and beans, as well as in citrus fruits.
The key to giving your hair the best chance to retain its color for as long as possible is to eat a varied, nutritious diet of real (unprocessed) foods, with emphasis on raw fruits and vegetables. In fact, some people have reported that switching to a raw food diet has helped with premature graying. Even if you do not go completely raw, make sure to get plenty of raw fruits and vegetables in your meals.
Another factor that may influence premature gray hairs is your thyroid. Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, as well as ailments which affect the thyroid, may lead to graying. If you have changed your diet and are still finding those pesky gray streaks, talk to your doctor about testing your thyroid.
Stress can also contribute, so make sure to mitigate yours through regular exercise, meditation, yoga and downtime doing something you love.
-The Alternative Daily