Don’t say goodbye to your natural color just yet.

By Isadora Baum
Updated: May 02, 2019

Aging is (unfortunately) inevitable, but gray hair doesn’t have to be! Turns out, there are certain foods with properties that can actually prevent graying of hair—so you can keep your locks streak-free for as long as possible (even without that box of hair dye!)

Best part? These foods are delicious and easy to implement, and offer a host of vitamins and minerals to keep your body humming along, so you have permission to eat as much as you like.

Here, the top five foods that can protect your hair from turning gray.

Tangerines

That’s right—this tasty citrus fruit has more benefits than just offering some sweetness and tang. “Tangerines are a great source of vitamin C, which is crucial in development of collagen protein, a connective tissue that makes up much of the body, including hair,” says Kelly Jones MS, RD, CSSD, LDN. Try a tangerine the next time you want a sweet snack, or use a few in one of these citrus recipes.

Fermented Foods

Probiotics aren’t just great for your digestive system—they’re also great your head! “Fermented foods like kimchi or sauerkraut provide probiotics to support gut health,” says Jones. And a healthy gut is important for hair health, as gut bacteria actually produce the B-vitamin, biotin, she explains.

Biotin deficiencies result in changes in hair color and strength, says Jones, such as making them brittle and more prone to thin out, so getting enough in your diet can keep your color lasting longer.

Salmon

Salmon provides a nice dose of vitamin D, which may be related to hair pigmentation, says Jones. “If someone has a true D deficiency present with premature grays, a D-3 supplement may help, but obtaining it through the diet with fatty fish like salmon can mean you’re getting many other nutrients to support hair and skin, such as omega 3 and protein,” she says. We’ll call that a win-win.

Eggs

While egg whites have lots of protein, you’ll want to eat the whole egg—including the yolk—if you want to reap hair health rewards. “Whole eggs provide Vitamin B-12 (a nutrient that isn’t obtained from plant foods),” says Jones. “A 2016 study showed those with premature graying were more likely to have low Vitamin b-12 status,” she says. Eat hard-boiled eggs as a snack or make eggs for a hearty breakfast that’s packed with nutrients. And if you’re a vegan, you should consider taking a vitamin B12 supplement.

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is a good source of both iron and copper, two nutrients that are excellent for preventing gray hair and aging. “Low ferritin (the storage market of iron in our blood) has been linked to premature graying in one study, and while copper deficiency is rare, the nutrient is in part responsible for melanin production,” says Jones.

With aging comes lower melanin levels, so keeping those copper levels high can help combat the process. Enjoy a square or two for a sweet indulgence—your hair will thank you!

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