Looking good is not just about having an attractive face and beautiful skin. The health of your nails and hair is as important in making you appear beautiful. Although there are tons of personal care products to take care of your nails, getting proper and adequate nutrients is very essential in helping your nails grow and to maintain their strength. A nutritious and well balanced diet not only improves your overall health but also promotes the growth of healthy nails and hair. Keratin is the main component that constitutes your hair and nails, and hence foods that are good for your hair are good for your nails as well.
What to eat for healthy nails
Just like all the other parts of your body, your nails also require a good supply of nutrients to remain strong and healthy. Deficiency of certain nutrients can lead to brittle, split or flattened nails. Given below are some of the super foods that can help you have beautiful and healthy nails:
Protein – Protein is an important factor that plays a key role in the production of keratin and the healthy growth of nails. Therefore, you need to include plenty of foods rich in protein to your daily diet. Eggs, pulses, lean cuts of beef, pork, chicken, fish and dairy products, are some of the protein rich foods that can be taken on a daily basis. Another good way to add protein to your regular diet is by supplementing your foods with protein powders such as soy, hemp or whey. (What are proteins? – read more)
Folate rich foods – A deficiency of the B vitamin folate can lead to the growth of dull nails. Folic acid helps in making your nails strong, healthy and beautiful. It is responsible for the production of new cells that promotes the growth of nails. The intake of foods that are high in folic acid such as spinach, lentils and beans can promote better nail growth. Folic acid supplements are also available.
Iron – Iron is an essential mineral that helps in preventing hair loss as well as in encouraging the growth of healthy hair. The deficiency of iron can lead to the development of dull, split and brittle nails. In order to keep your nails healthy, increase your intake of foods that are rich in this mineral. Eating vitamin C rich foods such as tomatoes, bell peppers and citrus fruits promotes the better absorption of iron by your body. Important sources of dietary iron include beans, nuts, seeds, lean beef, organ meats, shellfish, leafy green vegetables and whole grains.
Did you know: Chironji offers good supply of iron. Read more - Benefits of chironji
Almonds – If you see vertical ridges in your nails, then it might be a sign of magnesium deficiency. In addition to being a wonderful source of protein, almonds are also rich in magnesium that helps in maintaining strong and healthy nails. Almonds also provide omega-3 fatty acids that strengthen your nails and prevent their splitting.
Blueberries – Blueberries have strong antioxidant properties that protect your nails from free radical damage. Free radicals can increase the stress hormones in your body and lead to inflammation, which in turn causes damage to the cells in your body including those of your nails. Foods rich in antioxidants help fight off the free radicals and protect the cells from the oxidative stress and damage.
[Read more about benefits of blackberries]
Coconut oil – Coconut oil contains triglyceride fats that nourishes your body and promotes the growth of your nails. It also allows your body to absorb nutrients from other foods, which keeps your hair and nails look their best. Read more about amazing benefits of coconut oil for your skin, hairs and body.
Biotin rich foods – Biotin, also known as vitamin B7 or vitamin H is an essential nutrient that plays a vital role in improving the health of your hair and nails. It can also be supplemented into the diet in the form of capsules. Studies reveal that biotin is effective in the treatment of brittle nails. Yeast, cheddar cheese, eggs, soybeans, green peas, walnuts, sunflower seeds, brown rice and bulgur are some of the foods that contain biotin. Did you know that eggs supplies ample amount of biotin? Read more about benefits of eggs.
Milk – Calcium is one of the minerals that your nails need to grow properly. Milk is a rich source of calcium and so drinking milk allows your body to get enough calcium, which in turn can support the healthy growth of nails. Also make sure that you are getting enough vitamin D to facilitate the absorption calcium by your body.
Salmon – Fishes like salmon are rich in protein and Vitamin D that help your nails grow. The protein found in salmon promotes the growth of nails by increasing the production of collagen in the body. Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that is needed for maintaining the health of your skin, bones and nails.
Spirulina – Spirulina, a deep sea alga is one of the healthiest foods that contain a wide range of nutrients that help your nails to grow. It is high in protein and also rich in Vitamin A, vitamin B12, and iron, all of which promote the growth of healthy nails. Read more about benefits of spirulina for your body.
Spinach – Spinach is one of the best leafy vegetables that are beneficial for your nails. It is a rich source of protein along with many other nutrients such as Vitamin E, Vitamin A, B group vitamins such as folate, and iron. Spinach is also high in chlorophyll, which is a wonderful nutrient for healthy nails.
Avocados – Avocados constitute another beauty food rich in protein and many nutrients such as vitamin E, vitamin A, and B vitamins. These nutrients found in avocados improve the health of your nails and the healthy fats in them promote the better absorption of these nutrients by your body.
Brazil nuts – Brazil nuts are rich in selenium, a mineral that has powerful antioxidant properties. It supports the production of collagen in the body and also prevents cell damage. Brazil nuts are also rich in nutrients like B vitamins, Vitamin E and zinc, which are also great for the growth of nails.
Did you know? Brazil nuts are excellent supply of selenium. Read more about benefits of brazil nuts
Foods rich in zinc – A deficiency of zinc in your body may cause your nails to be weak or not growing. Lack of zinc may also be the reason why white spots appear on your nails. Eating foods rich in zinc such as oysters, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, oats and beef helps to prevent the occurrence of these nail related problems.
Orange vegetables – Orange root vegetables such as carrot, sweet potatoes and pumpkin contain high levels of Vitamin A that support the health of your nails. These vegetables also contain Vitamin C, a powerful anti-oxidant that can prevent free radical damage. Free radicals can lead to early aging as well as the weakening of collagen and keratin in the body.
Pumpkin seeds – Pumpkin seeds are alkaline in nature and are rich in a variety of nutrients such as protein, biotin, magnesium, iron, potassium, and omega 3 fatty acids. Eating pumpkin seeds regularly helps you have stronger and healthy nails.
Citrus fruits – Citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C, which is essential in making collagen in the body. Vitamin C helps maintain the health of your nails by strengthening the connective tissues, blood vessel walls and skin.
Tomatoes – Tomatoes are a rich source lycopene and biotin, which help you grow strong and thick nails, giving them a healthy and shiny look. They also contain high levels of vitamin A and vitamin C. These nutrients not only allow you have healthy and strong nails, but are also great for the health of the skin.
Bananas – Bananas are packed with minerals like potassium, zinc and silica, which are believed to improve the health and strength of your nails. It also contains vitamin B6 that also contributes to the growth of healthy nails.
Green beans – Green beans are an excellent source of silicon that helps in developing longer, thicker and stronger nails. According to studies, 10 mg of silicon obtained from green beans daily will help you develop stronger nails within a period of 20 weeks.
[Read about benefits of lima beans]
Grapefruit seeds – Because of its antimicrobial effects, grapefruit seeds extract is very effective in the treatment of nail fungus or onychomycosis. This condition is caused by fungus, mold and yeasts. For treating nail fungus, grapefruit seeds extract can be either taken orally or applied to the affected area.
Oregano oil – Oregano oil can be used topically (for treating nail fungus or athlete’s foot)
Seabuckthorn berry – Seabuckthorn Berry is rich source of Vitamin E, A, Omega 7 fatty acid which are vital for collagen formation and thus healthy nail. It can be used as alternative to vitamin supplements for common nail problems.
Garlic – Just as garlic is beneficial to your skin and hair, it is also keeps your nails looking healthy and beautiful. Garlic with its anti microbial properties it helps in preventing nail infections. Garlic juice can be applied to your nails to get rid of nail yellowness, dullness and brittleness.
Eating foods with the right nutrients improves growth of your nails as well as maintain their overall strength and health. Some say that the nails, hair, and skin of a person tell us how healthy he/she is and how healthy the individual’s diet is. It is important to drink enough water to keep your nails hydrated. Make sure to keep your nails clean in order to avoid fungal infections. Avoiding processed foods and eating a diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables and other whole foods is the way to attain perfect health and beauty.