As you age, experiencing greying of hair is quite common. You might get worried, but it is a part of Mother Nature’s plan. However, if you have started dying your hair to cover them up at a young age, you might be dealing with premature greying. You need to focus on essential nutrients for hair, which can help prevent hair greying and thinning.
What causes hair greying?
Our hair follicles produce less melanin, which is responsible for colour pigmentation, and as we get older, and our hair becomes grey. However, if it starts when you’re young, there could be a variety of health and lifestyle variables at play, including certain nutrient deficiencies.
To find out which nutrients can help increase hair growth and prevent hair greying and thinning, Health Shots spoke to Dr Aparna Santhana, renowned dermatologist, Shree Hospital, Mumbai.
“Greying is an inevitable part of ageing and must happen to everyone at some point,” explains Dr. Santhana. However, she adds that due to modern stressors and bad nutrition, we are seeing an increasing number of people experiencing premature greying. To deal with it, there are foods and nutrients that we may incorporate into our diet to help us avoid premature greying.
5 nutrients to prevent hair greying and thinning
Hair is almost entirely made up of protein, and the scalp, the living breathing powerhouse behind hair, requires protein to keep operating and for proper hair metabolism. Vegetarians, in particular, must consume enough protein to meet their amino acid requirements. We require one gram of protein per kilogram of body weight every day, either in our diet or as a supplement. Simply put, protein is the building block of hair, and a lack of it can cause a variety of problems, including hair greying.
Foods that provide good protein
- Vegetarians: Lentils, peas, quinoa
- Non-vegetarians: Eggs, fish
2. Omega-3 fatty acids
These are essential fatty acids, which are essential to the body, hair and scalp functioning but not produced by the body and that’s why you need to receive them from them food item. Omega-3 fatty acids ensure the hair stays soft and lustrous and prevents hair loss and hair thinning while also focusing on boosting hair growth. A minimum of 250 mg is required by the body, either in your diet or as a supplement.
Foods that provide omega 3
- Non-vegetarians: Fatty fish like salmon or krill
- Vegetarians: Flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, soybean
3. Vitamin D
Apart from keeping your bones healthy and strong, one role vitamin D plays is stimulating new and old hair follicles. When there isn’t enough vitamin D in your body your hair may turn grey or white. One study published in The International Journal of Trichology found that children who experienced premature hair greying had low vitamin D levels. But remember, both vitamin D deficiency and overconsumption of vitamin D, may cause hair loss. So, consume it in moderation.
Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, necessarily needs to be supplemented. The recommendation is 1500 to 2000 International units (IU) a day.
Foods that provide vitamin D
- Non-vegetarians: Eggs and fish
- Vegetarians: No natural sources, but fortified milk and breakfast cereals are available.
4. Iron and copper
Hair loss and hair greying is one of the symptoms of iron deficiency because lack of iron in the body disrupts the blood supply to hair follicles. To avoid hair thinning and greying, iron and copper are one of the most essential nutrients. In fact, one independent anecdotal study proposed that sufficient levels of iron and copper may help in preventing early greying. Around 8 to 10 mg a day of iron and about 1000 to 1200 mcg of copper are needed per day.
Foods that provide iron and copper
- Non-vegetarians: Eggs, shellfish
- Vegetarians: Dark leafy greens, dark chocolate
5. B complex vitamins
Vitamins are essential nutrients to boost hair growth and prevent any kind of hair issues. One of the best known vitamins for hair is the B complex vitamin. B complex vitamins such as B12, Biotin, and B6 are important for strength and colour of hair. Deficiencies of any of these nutrients are known to promote hair greying. B complex supplements are very useful in preventing greying. We require about 500 to 600 mcg per day.
Foods that provide B complex
- Non-vegetarians: Eggs, liver, meat
- Vegetarians: Nuts, leafy vegetables, nutritional yeast
So, ladies, nosh on these foods to ensure a steady supply of all the nutrients your hair needs. Zinc may also be included in one’s diet because it aids cell turnover and aids in the healing of tissues in the scalp and hair. All of these nutrients can give you long, bouncy, and voluminous hair!