Nail health is so important. It’s not just about the way your nails look, nail health can be a strong indicator of your overall health, so it’s important to take it seriously. If your nails are dry, brittle and prone to breakage, it could be a sign your diet is lacking in certain important vitamins and nutrients. By upping your intake of nail loving foods, you’ll be able to see a noticeable change. Take a look at the best foods for nail growth.
4 Reasons Your Nails Won’t Grow
1. Pushing, Picking and Biting
Pushing and trimming your cuticles and stress-induced biting and picking can affect your nail growth. If it’s hard for you to leave your nails alone, try to identify the triggers and do your best to avoid them. You can also try applying a hand cream and cuticle balm so you’ll have fewer dry areas to pick.
2. Using Harsh Soaps and Cleaners
Harsh soaps, cleaning products and solvents pull the natural oils from your nails and damage the nail keratin protein. Your nails first become brittle and start to fray on the edges and eventually the layers split.
3. Gel Polish and Acrylic Nails
Getting your nails done is a nice way to treat yourself, but things like gel polish, shellac and acrylic nails can do serious harm to your nails. Gel polish can be tough on your nails, causing brittleness and breakage and repeated use of UV radiation can increase the risk of skin cancer and premature aging of the hands.
4. Vitamin Deficiency
A lack of vitamins and minerals can slow down nail growth and lead to brittle nails. If you notice your nails aren’t growing it could be a sign you’re lacking in iron, zinc, vitamin A and E or protein. It’s important to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet for nail growth.
11 Best Foods for Nail Growth
Blueberries are chock full of antioxidants, which help protect your body’s cells against radical damage. This damage increases stress hormones and inflammation, which impacts the hair and nails. Blueberries have one of the highest antioxidant properties of all fruits, so are also excellent for your health overall.
2. Dark Leafy Greens
Dark leafy greens like spinach, broccoli and kale help strengthen your nails. They contain a good dose of iron, folate and calcium, which are excellent for nail health. Spinach is especially beneficial because it also contains vitamin A and E. Add spinach to your daily smoothies to reap the benefits and remember that cooking greens down can cook the vitamins out of them.
3. Orange and Yellow Veggies
Carrots, bell peppers, pumpkins and sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A, which helps keep your nails moisturized and shiny. Orange and yellow veggies also contain beta-carotene, the precursor to vitamin A that helps promote healthy skin. Beta-carotene is a key ingredient for nail health.
4. Lean Meats
Since your nails are primarily made of keratin (a type of protein), if your nails are weak, adding more protein including lean meats like turkey, chicken and fish is a good idea. Lean meats are also a great source of iron, which is essential to carry oxygen cells throughout the body, including your nails. A lack of iron can lead to concave nails or ridges on the surface.
Almonds are rich in vitamin E, which is vital when it comes to maintaining healthy nails. Known as the beauty vitamin, it helps protect cells from oxidative damage and free radicals. Almonds are also high in zinc, another vitamin key for strong, healthy nails. If you follow a plant-based diet, it’s important that you consciously make an effort to add more zinc to your diet. A lot of dietary zinc comes from foods like seafood and meat, so if you don’t eat those things, you need to get zinc from elsewhere.
6. Healthy Fats
Fat is a key nutrient to keep your nails strong and your nails thrive on a specific type of essential fatty acid called linoleic acid. You can get this from things like oily fish, but you can also get it from healthy oils like sunflower oil, hemp oil, avocados and nuts. To prevent your nails from becoming brittle, focus on healthy fats and getting enough essential fatty acids in your diet.
7. Bone Broth
Bone broth, such as beef and chicken bone broth are high in natural collagen, which is key for strong and healthy nails. The amino acids found in gelatin help with collagen production and bone broth is also a great source of protein. Nails are made out of protein so adding more of it to your diet is only going to help, and bone broth is an easy way to do that.
Eggs are another great source of protein to add to your diet for nail health. As we mentioned above, our nails are made of the tough protein called keratin, which is the same as your hair. When we’re lacking protein our nails become brittle and discoloured. Eggs are a great addition to any meal of the day, and eating more eggs is great for your nails!
Salmon is an excellent source of protein, and it’s also a fatty fish that’s rich in biotin and omega-3 fatty acids, all of which are essential nutrients for your nails. Salmon is also chock full of healthy fats and vitamin B6 and B12, which help keep your nails from splitting, breaking, and peeling.
10. Beans and Legumes
If you’re a vegetarian or follow a plant-based diet, beans and legumes are an excellent way to get nutrient-rich sources of protein and biotin. Beans are packed with biotin, which is essential for nail health, helping your nails grow longer and thicker. Legumes, such as lentils contain essential minerals and vitamins, including B vitamins and biotin.
11. Whole Grains
Whole grains such as brown rice and oats are amazing sources of biotin, silicon and cysteine, which all help keep your nails in tip top shape. Oats contain micronutrients like copper and zinc that are important for nail and bone health. They also contain manganese, silicon and B-complex vitamins, all of which promote healthy nails.
Try these foods to help strengthen and grow your nails. You’ll be amazed at the difference it can make.
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