Strong nails are something most people are born with, but they can break down over time. Whether your nails are naturally brittle, or they grow so quickly they look fake, making them stronger is something many of us want to do. And if you think your nails are covered by enjoying regular manicures, think again. There’s more you can do. And since nail health, much like hair health, can be a good indicator of how healthy your body is in general, it’s important to pay attention. If your nails are feeling brittle and weak, there might be something lacking from your diet, such as a particular vitamin or nutrient.
You don’t need to worry about shelling out the big bucks for any invasive treatments, however, nor do you need to start taking bullet-shaped supplements every day. Simply speaking, if your nails feel like they need a bit more TLC, incorporate the following foods into your diet and you should notice the difference sooner than you can say mani-pedi.
Eat clean and fresh for stronger nails
Similar to how lean proteins helps you feel better, eating them can be just as good for your nails. As dermatologist and author Ava Shamban told HuffPost, lean meats like turkey, chicken, and beef can help keep nails strong and healthy. Likewise, fresh fruit gives your body the nutrients and vitamins it needs while also assisting with nail growth.
Registered dietitian Erin Palinski-Wade told Health: “Antioxidants help protect your body’s cells against free radical damage. This damage increases stress hormones and inflammation, which impacts all cells in the body, including those in the hair and nails.” Blueberries have the highest antioxidant properties, so stock up on those for healthy nails.
Veggie-wise, Hello Motherhood advises leafy greens like kale, spinach, and broccoli are loaded with iron, folate, and calcium to keep nails in tip-top shape. And The Healthy reports tomatoes and bell peppers are loaded with vitamin C, which aids in collagen production and can also promote nail health.
Eat healthy fats and plenty of protein for stronger nails
Elsewhere, dietitian Lucy Jones suggests you need plenty of good fats in your diet too, for good nail health, such as those found in oily fish like salmon. (via Good Housekeeping). Alternatively, vegans can opt for more avocado in their diets to get the same effect. Snacking on a handful of almonds daily can also help your nails, as they’re loaded with vitamin E, which is vital for nail health, because it protects cells from oxidative damage.
Almonds also contain zinc, which is vital for nails and can be found in wholegrain cereal, if you’re looking to start your day off right. Another great breakfast option for healthy nails is eggs because they’re so rich in protein. As Jones advises, “Nails are made of a really tough protein called Keratin that is exactly the same as your hair. So protein is really important, you need all those amino acids to create all of those protein based cells in our body and that includes our nails.” Lack of protein is what makes nails become brittle and weak. Finally, it seems obvious, but staying hydrated is key to keeping nails looking strong and healthy.
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