The food we eat has a massive impact on our health and overall well-being, so it's no surprise that what we consume also affects the health of our nails. In fact, the state of your nails can also be an indicator of the state of your nails! Dry, cracked, and brittle nails can be a sign that you're not getting enough nutrients, while strong, shiny nails can point to a great diet and healthy lifestyle.
So what foods are good for growing strong, healthy nails?
This refrigerator staple can do a lot more than bind together that boxed cake mix. Eggs are actually one of the few foods nutritionists look to as a good source of vitamin D. By regulating calcium levels, vitamin D will help your nails (and bones) grow strong. Those sunshine-y yolks also offer biotin and healthy fats, so think twice next time you fry up an egg-white omelet. Finally, eggs are a source of sulfur. While the smell does tend to make you feel a little queasy, sulfur is actually very important for nail growth. Who knew?
2. Meat and Fish
While you can achieve a healthy diet and healthy nails with a plant-based diet, 9 in 10 Americans enjoy meat every day. If you're a meat lover, try to focus on leaner options like chicken and turkey. These provide collagen and are high in protein, both of which are crucial to your nail health. If you're looking to the sea (or lake) for your animal protein, salmon is my top pick for healthy nails. Consuming the healthy fats found in salmon and other fatty fish will help you grow shiny, strong nails, not to mention the omega-3's that are good for your brain. Does eating fish make you smarter? That's a question for another article.
3. Plant-Based Protein
If you enjoy a plant-based diet, I know you've heard this question before: But how do you get your protein?! Turns out, meat isn't the only source of protein. Beans, legumes, tofu, and even some vegetables offer just as much protein as animal sources. Beans specifically contain a great deal of biotin. Biotin, also known as vitamin B7, is often found in popular hair, skin, and nail vitamins. Beans are also incredibly versatile, and there are over 400 varieties of beans grown all over the world! I love this recipe for traditional Cuban rice and beans as a great source of protein, biotin, and slow-burning carbs.
4. Orange and Yellow Veggies
Vegetables that are orange or yellow in color tend to contain a higher concentration of beta-carotene. Here's a science lesson for you: beta carotene is known as a precursor to vitamin A. That means it can turn into vitamin A when it enters your body based on your needs. Vitamin A is just one of the vitamins essential for strong, healthy, and accelerated nail growth. Next time you walk through the produce section, count all the orange and yellow veggies! You'll find carrots, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, squash, corn, yellow beets, rutabaga, pumpkins, and more.
5. Healthy Fats
We already mentioned how great salmon is for your nails, but what about other sources of healthy fats? Adding more nuts, seeds, and avocados to your diet will help your nails grow shinier and stronger. Healthy fats help supply the body with magnesium, which is essential for bone and nail health. If you struggle with brittle nails or nails with ridges, your body might be telling you that you need more fat. I know it's crazy. More fat? Aren't we supposed to eat fat-free if we want to be healthy? Not exactly. Unsaturated fats are actually a huge part of maintaining a healthy diet and, as you now know, healthy nails.
Hydration is the single most important part about keeping the body functioning properly. Whether you're trying to lose weight, gain muscle, or grow healthy nails, you probably aren't drinking enough water. Here's a trick: take your bodyweight (in pounds) and divide it in half. That will give you the number of ounces you should drink in a day. For example, someone who weighs 200 pounds should drink 100 ounces of water a day. You can also get hydrated by eating water-rich foods like cucumbers, iceberg lettuce, celery, tomatoes, apples, and watermelon.
7. Leafy Greens
If you're tired of hearing people nag you to eat your greens, I promise I'll keep it brief. Kale, arugula, watercress, spinach, and collards can supply you with enough iron, folate, and calcium to keep your nails strong. That means no more splitting your nails when you try to take the batteries out of the TV remote. If you suffer from fungal toenails, food alone won't get rid of the fungal infection; however, what you consume can help encourage your nails to grow faster and, as a result, make the results of your fungal toenail treatment appear more quickly.
Berries, especially blueberries and strawberries, are high in antioxidants. Antioxidants rid the body of free radicals, or unstable atoms in the body that can damage healthy cells and cause illness. For the nails, berries supply many vitamins and micronutrients to keep the nails strong and healthy.
9. Bone Broth
Bone broth is a popular food trend right now, and for good reason. By harnessing the nutrients found within the bones, bone broth delivers collagen and easily-digestible protein to the body. Collagen is necessary for hair, skin, and nail health. There are collagen powders and even coffee creamer available, but I like the simplicity of bone broth. Its health benefits are aplenty, and those benefits transmit to the nails.
I've saved the best for last. Now, I'm not saying you should consume keg after keg in order to grow healthier nails. In fact, doing so would likely have the opposite of the intended effect. Beer does contain silicon; in fact, it contains a great deal of the stuff. Our bones, cartilage, and nails crave silicon for its strengthening properties. All that to say: you don't have to feel guilty about cracking open the occasional cold one. And I'll drink to that!
Can Your Diet Fix Unhealthy Nails?
While you can encourage healthy nail growth by consuming the proper vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients, diet alone may not be enough. There are myriad conditions that can affect the nails including fungal infections, nail dystrophy (a fancy way of saying "ugly nails"), and ingrown toenails. If you're embarrassed by the appearance of your toenails, you shouldn't wait to seek treatment. In fact, the sooner you make an appointment, the sooner you'll be able to enjoy flip-flop season without a care in the world. Call us at 989-695-6788 to schedule your appointment, or fill out our online contact form, and take the first steps to beautiful, healthy toenails today.
Did you know we offer medical pedicures? This is another great way to keep your nails looking clean and healthy. Schedule your medical pedicure in Freeland, Mi, today!