6 Vitamins and Foods to Avoid Going Gray Early

You might not realize it, but your diet plays a key role in delaying the appearance of gray hairs. That's because vitamins help keep your hair healthy. Certain habits can help as well.
6 Vitamins and Foods to Avoid Going Gray Early
Karla Henríquez

Reviewed and approved by the doctor Karla Henríquez.

Written by Okairy Zuñiga

Last update: 09 October, 2022

What we call gray hair is either white or gray. Usually, it has turned this color due to a loss of melanin. If you want to avoid getting gray hair at a young age, there are certain steps you can take. Nutrition and lifestyle are key to avoiding gray hair.

We’ll be looking at this in today’s article, but first some general information for you on the subject.

  • Due to physiology or age, melanin in the body gradually decreases over time
  • Gray hair is considered premature in people under the age of 30.
  • Poliosis is grayness in localized areas of the hair, such as specific strands in the eyebrows or eyelashes.
  • In addition, other people develop partial grayness, which is gray hair spread out over the head.

Nutrients and foods that can help you avoid gray hair

If premature gray hair is getting in the way of your well-being and self-esteem, it’s a good idea to increase your consumption of the following nutrients:

1. Vitamin B5

A plate of cut broccoli

Vitamin B5, often called patothenic acid is indispensable for:
  • The formation of antibodies that improve the body’s defenses.
  • Helping to heal wounds.
  • Combating fatigue.
  • And, lastly, supporting good skin conditions, mucous, and hair.

However, the U.S. National Library of Medicine suggests that there’s not enough scientific evidence to back up those claims.

You can get vitamin B5 from foods such as:

  • Liver
  • Egg yolk
  • Broccoli
  • Fish
  • Avocado
  • And, finally, milk

2. Vitamin B1

Though there’s no scientific evidence that relates vitamin B1 (also called thiamine) with gray hairs, vitamin B1 is essential to produce energy from carbohydrates. Apart from being involved in the metabolism of fats, and avoiding the appearance of early gray hair, it also contributes to the function of the nervous system and increases mental agility.

Consuming sufficient vitamin B1 prevents serious complications due to type 2 diabetes, according to information from the National Institute of Health (United States).

To obtain this vitamin eat the following foods:

  • Sunflower seeds
  • Whole grains
  • Raisins
  • Corn
  • Asparagus
  • Nuts
  • And, finally, legumes

3. Vitamin B12

A plate of baked fish and salad

As part of the vitamin B complex group, vitamin B12 plays an important role in metabolism. This is because it converts food into energy. Ideally, one should consume at least 4 mg. of B12 per day.

As far as avoiding getting gray hair early, there’s no scientific evidence that supports claims that vitamin B12 helps you keep your original color.

The foods that contain it are:

  • Beef
  • Fish
  • Chicken
  • Lamb
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • And, finally, mollusks

4. Liver

Liver is one of the foods that helps to break down hydrogen peroxide, a contributing factor to gray hair according to this study from the University of Bradford. Also, it is an element rich in catalase, which counteracts the effects of hydrogen peroxide. In addition, it helps maintain the natural hair color longer.

However, it’s important not to eat liver more than four times a month. This is because there is a large number of trans fats and cholesterol that can jeopardize health.

When preparing the liver do the following:

  • Firstly, as much as possible, limit the amount of fat
  • Secondly, make sure you eat plenty of fresh vegetables

5. Tea

All types of tea contain large quantities of silicon. This mineral has the capacity to strengthen the composition of the hair and its natural color, according to this study from the University of Zurich in Switzerland.

Silicon also has protective properties for the brain and liver, according to this study from the Complutense University of Madrid (Spain).

6. Avocado

Avocado is an excellent deterrent of gray hair since it’s rich in copper. This mineral is essential for the production of melanin and catalase. These two nutrients help to break down hydrogen peroxide that accumulates in the hair follicles and causes the appearance of gray hair, as we mentioned before.

We recommend:  7 Ideas to take advantage of all the benefits of avocado

Habits that will help you delay and avoid the appearance of gray hair

Man practicing yoga

As we mentioned earlier, your lifestyle is reflected in your body. That’s why it’s important to include the above foods in your diet and adopt the following habits:

Avoid stress

Living a relaxed life will help you stay young and avoid having gray hair. A good exercise routine is one of the best ways to relax, especially participating in yoga and tai chi. Exercise three times a week for 30 minutes each.

Quit smoking

The use of tobacco doesn’t only cause cancer. It’s also a determining factor in other aesthetic problems like the early appearance of gray hair and wrinkles, according to this study from the Ignacio Chavez National Institute of Cardiology (Mexico).

Protect your hair from UV rays

Constant exposure to the sun causes various types of skin cancer and early aging. Nevertheless, that isn’t all. A report from the Schwarzkopf Clinic found that ultraviolet rays can also damage the scalp and cause you to get gray hair early. 

It would be advisable to look for a shampoo that protects your hair from UV rays, wear a hat, and avoid being in the sun for too long.

As a final recommendation, try to eat these foods together, since the B vitamins work as a group. The early appearance of gray hair can be prevented with a diet rich in nutrients combined with natural treatments for the hair and a healthy lifestyle. If you follow these recommendations, all aspects of your life will improve!

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.