Our nails can be a direct reflection of our overall health. If you are deficient in certain vitamins and minerals, the result can be brittle, weak, dry, dull or flaky nails. In combination with the nail care treatments you receive from our nail technicians and the tips we’ve provided on growing long, strong, healthy nails, you can reinforce your efforts by incorporating these foods into your diet.
Biotin (vitamin H)
Though known as vitamin H, biotin is actually part of the B-complex group, which means it can’t be stored by your body. A deficit can lead to poor nail growth and brittle nails. While a deficiency is rare, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, an illness or certain medications can interfere with nutrient absorption and your body’s ability to manufacture it via the good bacteria that live in your intestines.
You can get biotin through supplements you purchase at your local convenience store or health food store, but you can also get it by eating cooked eggs, soybeans, sunflower seeds, brown rice, green peas and walnuts.
We hear so much about the power of vitamin C and its ability to help guard our immune system from such illness as the cold and flu, so it may surprise you to learn that your body is unable to manufacture this essential nutrient, and instead it must be obtained from food.
Aside from giving your system a boost, it is crucial for the production of collagen, which our body’s use to create such body parts as our fingernails and hair. Without enough of this vitamin, your nails may be slow to grow. Expedite the growth and quality of your nails by eating oranges, kale, kiwi, strawberries, cauliflower, mango, bell peppers, lemons and broccoli.
Cell production is partly reliant on the amount of iron your body contains, and your body most certainly needs this mineral—more than half the iron in your body can be found in your blood alone, and it clinches hold to oxygen molecules that are later carried through the vascular system. An iron deficiency, known as anemia, is not uncommon, especially in menstruating women. But it can lead to more than a compromised immune system and fatigue, it can cause pale skin, hair loss, and brittle, concave-shaped nails.
Good sources of iron include organ meats like chicken liver, iron-fortified cereals, eggs, spinach, leafy green vegetables, whole grains, beans, lean beef, shellfish, nuts and seeds. For an extra boost, pair iron-rich foods with vitamin C-rich foods. Foods packed with vitamin C help the body better absorb iron.
And unlike iron supplements, which are known to cause constipation, these foods contain other natural vitamins and minerals your body needs for digestive health.
Another mineral essential to immune health, growth, development and organ function, zinc guards the cell membranes in your nails and hair, protecting them specifically from free radicals and assisting with the cell division that is needed to occur in order for the development of your nails. A lack of this mineral can present as white spots on your nails. Foods that contain zinc include tofu, mushrooms, poultry, red meat, legumes, miso, sunflower seeds, some shellfish.
A building block of the body, protein assists with the growth of nails, tissues, hair and muscles—in fact, protein is essential to muscle repair following an injury. But as it specifically relates to your fingernails, in order to make keratin—a known protein that is vital to making tough, resilient nails—the body requires proteins of high quality. They can be found in oily fish, lean meat and poultry.
Essential fatty acids
Nails that are brittle or flaking may be a sign that you are lacking essential fatty acids in your diet. These “good” fats help to keep your nails and nails beds moisturized, thus providing the nourishment needed to fortifying them
The health of your nails depends on a combination of efforts. Diet is key, but so is direct nail care. Visit our salon and speak with a technician more to find out how you can improve the health and appearance of your nails with regular treatment.