Gray hair is a normal part of the aging process. Hair strands are packed with melanin, which gives the hair its color. And as you age, hair follicles produce less melanin resulting in gray or white hair. Genetics, stress, nutrition and certain medical conditions can all contribute to earlier hair graying. 

Although you can’t change your genetics or medical history, you can do a lot to support a healthy stress response and increase the nutrition in your diet! The following are four fantastic foods that you can incorporate into your diet to help support your hair wellness and delay the gray. Plus, what products you should use to prevent and combat gray hair as you age

Foods to Eat to Delay Gray Hair

Add these four foods to your diet to help support your hair as you age:

1. Hummus 

This delicious Mediterranean dip is a powerhouse for your hair health and can support delaying premature graying. 

Chickpeas are incredibly high in folate or vitamin B-9, which is important because a deficiency in B-9 has been associated with early graying. This is because B-9 is important for the production of methionine, an amino acid that's essential for hair color. Folate also helps with the production of DNA and RNA. 

Another beneficial ingredient in hummus is tahini, which is an excellent source of copper, containing nearly 30% of your recommended daily value in just one tablespoon. Copper plays a number of crucial roles when it comes to your hair health. It helps your body metabolize iron, supports energy production and supports melanin production. Having enough copper in your diet can ensure that these important processes are preserved as you age. 

Another way to incorporate copper into your daily routine is to use VEGAMOUR’s new GRO Ageless Gray Delay™ Hair SupplementThis hair-healthy supplement is formulated with a blend of B Vitamins, plus fo-ti, selenium, calcium and copper to help combat signs of premature melanin loss and support healthy hair growth. Just two capsules a day at dinner time can preserve hair’s pigment, add a collagen-rich shine and reduce shedding. 

Explore: Vegan Hair Products

2. Mushrooms 

Vitamin D deficiencies affect nearly half of Americans. And unfortunately, a vitamin D deficiency can cause your hair to prematurely grey.

Safe sun exposure is the best way to get vitamin D, but if you live in the northern hemisphere, during much of the year, it can be difficult to get vitamin D from sunlight alone. This is where mushrooms can help! Some mushrooms are grown using specific UV lights that increase their vitamin D content. 

To see if the mushrooms in your local grocery store have been grown with UV light, review the nutrition panel. As of January 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s labeling requirements now mandate that vitamin D be listed in the Nutrition Facts Panel. Look for mushrooms showing 10 mcg or more of vitamin D.

Learn: How to Stop Gray Hair Naturally

3. Fermented Foods

Did you know that a robust and diverse microbiome can actually delay hair graying? Fermented foods like kimchi or sauerkraut provide probiotics (helpful bacteria) to our microbiome. Among many, many other benefits, a strong microbiome helps us produce biotin. Deficiencies in biotin can change hair color and contribute to premature graying

Adding a few servings of probiotic-rich foods to your daily diet can be an easy and effective way to give your gut microbiome a boost while also improving overall health. But if you don’t love the tang of fermented foods, it’s OK to start slow! Try adding a spoonful of the kimchi juice into a salad dressing to boost beneficial bacteria and brighten the flavor. Even just one forkful of fermented food mixed into your meal can provide benefits! 

Another option for delaying hair graying is our GRO AGELESS Ant-Gray Hair Serum, which is perfect to use in tandem with GRO Ageless Gray Delay™ Hair Supplement. The serum is formulated with two patent-pending plant-based actives that have been clinically proven to restore color and shine to graying hair, boosting the appearance of natural hair color up to 34%. 

4. Dark Chocolate 

Dark chocolate can be a good source of iron which is excellent for preventing gray hair. In one study, low ferritin levels (ferritin is a blood protein that contains iron) were associated with premature hair graying. One ounce of dark chocolate contains 20% of your daily value of iron. To increase how much iron you absorb from your daily chocolate, consider having it alongside a vitamin C source (chocolate-dipped strawberries, anyone?) 

Eat Right, Supplement Your Diet and Support Your Hair

Striving to eat a nutritionally rich diet is key to supporting your overall health, including your hair. And although you cannot out-supplement a nutrient-poor diet, you can use a targeted supplement to ensure your body always has what it needs to perform its best. You can also incorporate hair care products that restore color and shine to graying hair. All of these actions combined can help you keep your gray hair in check for as long as possible. 

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Disclaimer: Information in this article is intended for general informational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek professional medical advice from your physician.