Oranges are generally great for you, as they’re full of vitamin C, have a high water content, and contain healthy sugars. But in excess, one particular ingredient in oranges (among other citrus fruits) has been known to impede the body’s intake of a certain mineral that can prevent grey hair.
Researchers have found that this ingredient in oranges, called ascorbic acid, is known to block the absorption of copper. Low levels of copper then, unfortunately, make your hair grey. The good news is that you don’t need to stop eating oranges – just balance them out with other meals that have adequate levels of copper, including foods such as fish oils or red meats.
Another food that may be causing your grey hairs to pop up eggs (but mostly raw ones). According to Science Direct, raw eggs can be the main cause of biotin deficiency, as they prevent one’s GI system from absorbing biotin.
The biochemistry behind this interesting factoid is that avidin, a protein found in egg whites in particular, bonds to the biotin and keeps it from getting absorbed. Avidin is found in all egg whites, whether the eggs be chicken, quail, or otherwise, and most often appears in raw eggs.
The science is still out as to whether or not there are high enough levels of avidin in cooked eggs to impair biotin absorption. But in the meantime, put down the raw cookie dough or gin fizzes, as it could be greying your hair.
Any list of healthy foods will tell you that alcohol most certainly can impact your absorption of nutrients. In particular, alcohol can impair your absorption of the necessary B vitamins your body needs to maintain good skin and hair health, namely B-12. A 2004 study from Penn State shows that drinking as little as one ounce of alcohol per day for two months can drastically lower your B-12 levels.
It’s often said that B-12 deficiency is one of the leading causes of premature grey hair and that if taken in supplemental form, your hair may stop changing color, and even revert back to its former color. That being said, many snake oil salesmen have sold B-12 as a cure-all remedy for aging, so it’s best to try and take in your lost B-12 naturally, through multivitamins, dairy products, or fortified cereals.
While grey hair can drive you nuts, it can also be caused by nuts. A 2016 study on premature greying in those under the age of 25 notes that low levels of ferritin, a type of iron, contribute heavily to grey hair. In the body, ferritin can be blocked from absorption by phytic acid, which can be found in whole grains, beans, seeds, or, yes, nuts.
Much like other items on this list, nuts are alright in reasonable qualities. But if you notice your hair beginning to grey, try switching up your diet to eat nuts at different times than you’d be eating iron-heavy foods, such as meat or chocolate.
Much like alcohol, smoking can be harmful to your teeth, bones, and nails. But even if you’ve quit smoking, and moved on to a more edible nicotine supplement, your hair can still suffer the consequences.
According to the Indian Dermatology Journal, a phenomenon called “smoker’s hair” can dramatically influence the likelihood that you’ll prematurely cultivate grey hair. Smoker’s hair can be triggered by any of the various ways in which nicotine impacts the body, as in iron deficiency, impairment of estrogen production, and even potential thyroid dysfunction.
There are things that you’re ingesting that could be contributing to your greying hair, but it’s more than likely that you’re just eating the right things at the wrong time. While this is the case for grey hair, it’s also the case for the absorption of any nutrients. For those who are extremely health-conscious and fascinated by food science, the multitude of ways in which food items interact inside of your body can be worth hours of study. For everyone else, however, it’s perfectly fine to switch up your eating regime only if you begin to notice that it’s impacting your physical health.
However, one disclaimer is that if you find your hair rapidly changing color for no particular reason, don’t just write it off as stress or a dietary issue. Greying hair could indicate thyroid disorder, genetic issues or alopecia, and may require medical attention. So while switching up your diet could be good for your hair, seeing a professional just to check in on your health may be even better.