Being a massage therapist, I have become conscious of nails all the time (plus I’m constantly clipping mine to keep them short). Growing strong, healthy nails are a part of everyone’s life, especially a woman’s. But, unfortunately, not everyone has the ability to grow strong, healthy nails.
If you are one of those people have no fear! There are foods you can consume to help get stronger, healthier nails. Problems with nails can be a result of minor vitamin and/or mineral deficiencies. However, if problems persist, please don’t hesitate to seek further medical care as nail problems can also indicate more serious health conditions.
Tomatoes contain many nutrients including biotin (a B vitamin) and lycopene. There is some evidence that biotin can have a positive effect on weak, brittle nails. Lycopene, which gives tomatoes their color, is known for its skin protection properties, so the skin around your nails will greatly benefit from it.
2. Ground Flaxseeds (or Flaxseed Oil)
Flaxseeds contain both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, both polyunsaturated fats, that help keep your hair, skin, and nails shiny and healthy. Signs of a deficiency can include dry, flaky skin, dull hair and brittle nails.
Coconut is best known for its high (but good) saturated fat content. What makes up to 50% of that fat content is a substance called lauric acid. When consumed, lauric acid converts to a compound called monolaurin, which is responsible for killing bacteria, fungi, and viruses, including the ones that keep your nails from looking good.
Asparagus is an excellent source of vitamin E, which is useful in keeping the skin moisturized and fighting the effects of aging, so again it’s good for the skin around your nails. Also, out of all vegetables, asparagus is third in line for supplying the most folic acid, which can help if you are suffering from reddish-brown spots on your nails.
Plums are a very good source of vitamin C. This is another must have fruit for any reddish-brown spots.
6. Sea vegetables
Sea vegetables can include arame, dulse, agar agar, seaweed, kombu/kelp, and nori. These foods are packed with nutrients like vitamins A & C, iron, protein, and zinc. Deficiencies in all of these nutrients may contribute to a host of nail problems. Why not hit your nails with a big, fat nutrient punch! To get the most out of these vegetables, it’s best to buy certified organic when possible to reduce your exposure to contaminants like heavy metals.
7. L. acidophilus
L. acidophilus (or Lactobacillusacidophilus) is one of the most well known probiotics. Probiotics are the friendly bacteria best known for their ability to kill the bad bacteria that tends to cause disease. By killing off the bad bacteria, your body has a better chance of staying healthy and, as a result, the conditions that may have caused your nails to become weak, brittle, dry, or cracked won’t occur. All probiotics are not for everyone, though. Some of the other conditions they help with are diarrhea and digestive disorders. However, I’ve seen people overdo it and cause diarrhea and digestive problems by taking too much.
8. Sunflower seeds
Sunflower seeds have a very high content of vitamin E which, as mentioned previously, is useful in keeping the skin moisturized and fighting the effects of aging, so the skin around your nails will thank you. They, too, are a good source of folate (folic acid).
Liver, whether you eat meat or not, needs to be on this list. Liver contains vitamins A & B12, iron, protein, and folic acid. Nails are made up of a protein called keratin so it’s only right to choose foods containing protein, especially a high-quality source of protein like liver. An iron deficiency can lead to weak, brittle nails, and zinc prevents the yellow coloring of the nail. If possible, shop local for your liver and make sure it comes from a grass-fed, pasture-raised source. It also doesn’t hurt if it’s certified organic.
In addition to eating the above foods also make sure you drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and moisturize your hands very well with oils such as avocado, coconut, and jojoba or butters like shea and cocoa.
Local Harvest – Local Harvest connects people looking for good food with the farmers who produce it.
Eat Wild – Eat wild provides information about the benefits of choosing meat, eggs, and dairy products from pastured animals.