You’ve no doubt heard that a healthy diet is necessary for preventing diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer, but did you know a healthy diet is also important for your hair and nails? Knowing what to eat for stronger hair and nails can help you maintain shiny, luscious strands and long, smooth nails.
What Causes Brittle Hair and Nails?
Brittle hair and nails can be a sign of a diet deficient in essential nutrients. Healthy hair is often free of split ends and full of shine, and healthy nails are pale pink (or flesh-colored) and smooth to the touch.
When your body isn’t getting the proper nutrients, you may notice that your hair lacks luster or is thinning, and your nails break easily or have a different tint of color. Getting your hair and nails healthy again can be as simple as including more of a specific vitamin or protein in your diet, which can easily be done by eating certain foods.
What to Eat for Stronger Hair and Nails
Whether you need more vitamins or fatty acids, there are some targeted foods that can boost your health and help you get on the right track towards stronger hair and nails.
A handful of walnuts a day can be a great dose of omega-3’s and vitamin E, which are both essential to strong, healthy hair. Omega-3’s will keep your hair hydrated while vitamin E will repair damaged hair follicles.
Oysters may seem unusual, but 1 serving of oysters has 74 grams of zinc, and zinc is an absolute must for healthy hair and nails. Zinc is responsible for many of the body’s biological processes that create protein, a necessary nutrient for your hair and nails. If you can’t get your hands on oysters, then you can have meat or fortified cereals with zinc.
Not only are eggs full of protein, they’ve also got biotin (vitamin H). People who often suffer from weak hair and nails are deficient in biotin, which plays a role in the development of keratin and, in turn, the health of your hair and nails. If you can’t have eggs, then other options include bananas, beans, salmon, and lentils.
You’ve heard over and over again how great salmon is for your heart health, and that’s thanks to salmon being a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. But did you know that omega-3 fatty acids are useful for your hair and nails too? The omega-3s in salmon help reduce inflammation in scalp skin (which means healthier hair follicles) and the nail plate. Salmon is also a great source of biotin and protein.
It’s a well-known fact that milk is a fantastic source of calcium. This necessary mineral helps you maintain healthy hair and nails. Since your body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium, you can purchase milk that’s been fortified with vitamin D to ensure you get all the calcium you can get out of your glass of milk.
Carrots are full of vitamin A, which produce a natural conditioner for your hair called sebum. The sebum that’s produced is what makes your hair often look healthy and shiny. Other foods that provide vitamin A include sweet potatoes, kale, and spinach.
If you’re feeling stressed out and think your stress could be contributing to your weak hair and nails (which is completely possible!), then try incorporating almonds into your diet. Almonds are an excellent source of magnesium, which is known as a natural anti-stress mineral. If you notice vertical ridges on your nail, it could be due to a magnesium deficiency, in which case you’ll want to eat almonds or other magnesium-rich foods like spinach, swiss chard, or dark chocolate.
Your Hair and Nails Are a Sign of Your Health
The appearance of your hair and nails can reveal insight into your internal health, which is why it’s important to recognize any changes that may occur. If your hair begins thinning or your nails become brittle, this can be a sign of nutrient deficiencies or something else going on in your body.
Certain hair and nail conditions are related to underlying diseases, so it’s important to discuss the health of your hair and nails with your doctor and make sure dietary changes are the right approach.