Did you know that the health of your hair and nails reflects your internal health? If your hair is shiny and you have strong nails, it is an indicator of good internal health. Conversely, brittle, dull hair and weak, splitting nails signal poor internal health and nutrition. Hair and nails are fast growing tissue with high nutrient requirements. Your hair and nails depend on important nutrients from the food you eat to stay healthy and strong. Eating the right foods will benefit your nails and hair in addition to your overall health. Important nutrients for healthy hair and nails are vitamin A, B vitamins, iron, omega-3’s, protein and zinc. These nutrients are natural conditioners.Your fingernails are usually the first place to show indicators of mineral deficiencies. An iron deficiency will show up as vertical ridges. Not enough magnesium can also be a cause of vertical ridges. A zinc deficiency can appear as white spots.
Here are some healthy foods to add your diet for not only good hair and nail health, but your overall wellness:
Whole grains – barely, brown rice, and oats provide silica. Silica strengthens the structure of many tissues of the body such as your bones, skin, hair, and nails. Studies show that silica helps reduce the rate of hair loss and increases the shiny brightness of your hair. These same foods also provide other beneficial nutrients for your body.
Animal protein – You can add animal protein sources to your diet such as red meats, fish, (especially salmon), eggs, poultry, milk, and yogurt for healthy hair and nails. Yogurt adds calcium, biotin, iron, magnesium, protein, and vitamin D. Animal protein is a “complete protein,” as it contains all the 9 essential amino acids. Protein is utilized by the body for cell building to form healthy bones, hair, muscle, nails and skin.
Avocados – give your hair and nails a natural glow. Avacados are full of vitamins A, B, E, and K and healthy fats.
Broccoli – is an excellent source of iron, amino acids and antioxidants. Iron helps boost the amount of red blood cells in the blood called hemoglobin that carry oxygen. The supply of oxygen to your hair follicles causes your hair to grow and makes it healthy and strong, and to your nail beds adds a healthy pink color to your nails and creates faster nail growth. Antioxidants help repair oxidative damage while amino acids help repair cellular damage also promoting hair and nail growth.
Dark leafy greens – green leafy vegetables such as collards, kale, romaine lettuce, and spinach, contain vitamin B12, E, and iron, which are needed nutrients for healthy hair and nails. A B12 deficiency can cause discoloration or a hyperpigmentation or of your nails.
Legumes – contain biotin, iodine, and zinc. These nutrients help repair hair and nail damage and quicken growth.
Mushrooms – are full of nutrients essential for hair and nail growth, such as potassium, copper, zinc, vitamin B2, and folate.
Seeds – Seeds contain antioxidants, fiber, lipids, minerals, protein and vitamins. Flax, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, and watermelon seeds have vitamin B6, E, iron, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, and zinc.
Sweet potatoes – Sweet potatoes contain beta carotene, an antioxidant that your body turns into vitamin A. Vitamin A is crucial for the division and production of cells necessary for healthy hair and nails.