Your nails are an indicator of your overall health. If your nails are dry and brittle, it means you may be lacking in some important nutrients and vitamins that help your nails to be strong and healthy. If you have just started doing your own nails and used to go to the salon, having thin nails after this is not an indicator of your health. Some salons tend to over buff your nails, taking away layers of your natural nail every time. It takes 6 months for your nails to completely regrow after that kind of damage. If you have recently made the switch to doing your own nails at home, incorporating these foods in your diet will help your nails grow back stronger and healthier than ever and also help to maintain their health and strength.
Lean Meats and Eggs:
Lean meats such as chicken, turkey, fish and beef are full of protein. As your nails are made from a protein called Keratin, it is the first thing you should add to your diet to help them become stronger. Just like your muscles need protein to grow strong, so do your nails. Adding protein to your diet also helps speed the growth of your nails. Low protein diets can create ridges in your nails. Red meat is full of iron. Iron deficiency can lead to brittle nails. Eggs are a versatile addition, making them a simple protein to incorporate into your diet. They are a protein that is much easier to digest and absorb than meats. Biotin which is found in eggs also helps to thicken your nails.
Beans and Legumes:
If you prefer more of a plant based diet then getting your protein from beans and legumes is a great alternative. For example beans and lentils are full of essential vitamins and minerals such as biotin. They are also high in protein which is essential in helping to speed the growth process and results in healthy thick nails.
Fruits and Berries:
Berries such as blueberries and strawberries are an easy and delicious snack you can incorporate into your diet. Blueberries in particular have the highest antioxidant properties of all fruits. Antioxidants help protect your bodies cells from free radical damage. By eating blueberries you are reversing the damage and inflammation in the cells in your nails. It helps strengthen and condition your nails and cuticles. Strawberries on the other hand are full of Vitamin C. This helps produce collagen and plays an important role in cell formation creating healthy shiny nails.
Leafy Greens and Veggies:
Leafy greens such as spinach, kale and broccoli are full of iron, folate and calcium. These vitamins help your nails to grow stronger than ever. Ensure you are consuming these raw or lightly cooked as you do not want to cook out all of the vitamins in them. Veggies such as Carrots, pumpkin and sweet potatoes are high in vitamin A, which make your nails shiny and hydrated. Tomatoes and capsicums are high in Vitamin C which is great for increasing collagen levels.
Nuts and Seeds:
It's super easy and convenient to grab a handful of nuts and add this to your diet. Nuts such as almonds are high in healthy fats. Almonds in particular are high in protein and magnesium. If you have vertical ridges in your nails it might be a sign that you are lacking in magnesium. Seeds such as sunflower seeds are also high in magnesium. Perfect to strengthen your nails and help eliminate the ridges.
Hydration is also an important factor for your nail health. Your nails need water to grow healthy and strong. A way you can tell if your body has had enough water is to press on your natural nail beds, your nail will turn white, then release, if they regain their colour immediately, your body is hydrated. If it takes longer than half a second to regain its colour, it means your body is dehydrated. Drink plenty of water for your nails and your overall health.
Whole grains such as brown rice and oatmeal are easy to incorporate into your diet for good nail health. As whole grains are a complex carb they are not only great for your energy levels but perfect for maintaining nail health. Brown rice is also a great source of biotin which as mentioned above helps with creating thick nails. Oats are particularly important as the manganese, silicon and vitamins in them generate healthy bones and healthy nails.
Basically, healthy additions to your diet, as listed above, can improve your nail health immensely! Don't forget, you are what you eat!