Here's a guide to a healthy diet to prevent greying hair
Oh God! My hair has started turning grey suddenly.” We all have gone through this one dilemma, wherein we don’t want our hair to get grey but at the same time it’s always been told that grey hair is linked to wisdom. Well, that’s a tough decision whether to show your wisdom or your grey hair. But, it’s a fact of life that as we get older, greying of hair sets in. In fact, one-third of us go grey under the age of 30. The problem of premature greying of hair can be the result of different factors, key ones being genetic predisposition, hormonal rise and fall, addiction to smoke and stress and strain of modern lifestyle. The insufficient pigmentation of the hair follicle and the absence of melanin cause the scalp to have a mix of grey and white hair. Studies have also shown that grey hair is formed when a hair follicle starts building up too much hydrogen peroxide. Your hair follicle creates hydrogen peroxide naturally, but when the balance is disturbed or any malfunctioning happens, that’s when we start seeing the occurrence of grey hair. While there is no cure for going grey (except by camouflaging it with hair colour), few tips will teach you how to stop grey hair at an early age to some extent.
Vitamins, minerals and nutritional deficiencies may also be one of the major causes of greying hair. In order for hair to look and grow healthy, and have that shine, hair needs proper amount of nutrients. Without a proper and balanced diet, our hair and skin begin to look haggard and weary. Grey hair and baldness are linked to stress because our response to anxiety is often stress-eating, and we deprive our body of the proper nutrition that it needs. Eating a balanced nutritious meal is necessary in order to maintain hair colour and to retain a healthy hair, besides having sufficient melanin.
Certain foods have been found to help in melanin production and prevent the greying of hair, and these can be incorporated into our diet to maintain the natural colour.
- A diet rich in copper can help your body naturally restore melanin in your hair. Some foods that contain a good amount of copper are almonds and cashews, mushrooms, lentils, potato, green leafy veggies, chickpeas, etc. Whole grains, lean meat and fish generally contain up to 50 percent of the required copper intake from a balanced diet. Tyrosine from food also helps in absorbing a good amount of copper from food, tyrosine can also be found in many natural sources like pumpkin seeds, lima beans and sesame seeds. Another good idea to improve your skins and body health is to eat nuts and legumes, peanuts, prunes and dried beans in your routine.
- Eating iron-rich food can add benefits to a copper-rich diet when attempting to restore melanin in your hair. Dark green vegetables such as spinach, fenugreek and kale or yellow fruits such as bananas and tomatoes, kidney beans, lentils, ragi etc are excellent sources of iron. Low iron levels are associated with early graying.
- Berries like strawberries, raspberries and cranberries, oranges, male, etc have an abundant amount of Vitamin C that promotes growth of healthy hair and also prevents premature greying.
- Dairy products like organic milk, curd and paneer are rich in Vitamin B, Vitamins B-6 and B12 that are vital for the production of red blood cells. This promotes oxygen and nutrients supply to your scalp.
- Refined and processed foods such as white flour, refined sugar and all products made from them, soft drinks, pastries, jams and jellies should be avoided. These unhealthy foods don’t provide any nutrition and take away energy and cause wrinkles, unattractive skin, grey hair, and premature old age. Stay away from junk food as much as possible.
- Finally comes massaging your head with coconut oil. It is one of the healthiest oils for your scalp. Not only does it prevent lice and dandruff, it promotes the regrowth of damaged or greying hair. Application of coconut oil on scalp and also on hair nourishes hair and consequently prevents premature greying of hair, plus it also conditions hair better than any other synthetic or chemical products available in the market. Application of warm coconut oil makes the hair sparkling, soft, and smooth and in the long run it also slows down the growth of grey hair. By massaging this oil into the hair roots and scalp, natural melanin production can be boosted. You can also combine this oil with lemon juice or Indian gooseberry (amla) for an additional melanin boost to your scalp. Curry leaves can also be boiled in coconut oil, this is a popular home remedy and an excellent hair tonic to stimulate hair growth and increase hair pigmentation.
- As I mentioned earlier, grey hair can also be caused by hydrogen peroxide built up. This can be successfully neutralised by the catalase enzyme. And where can we find that stuff? Don’t worry, it’s in our humble onion. The remedy is simple — just mix one part onion juice with one part lemon juice. Massage this into your scalp daily, and then wash off. You will definitely get the results.
These treatments are very effective at an early age to prevent greying and to maintain good scalp health, so follow it and get healthy hair. Above all, follow a youthful and positive attitude. The latter is a great buffer against life’s stresses, including stress-related greying of hair.
Chief Nutrition Officer, Luke Coutinho Holistic Healing Systems. The writer is a clinical nutritionist
with a focus on healthy lifestyle choices.