08 Jun 8 Foods for Healthy Nails and Luscious Hair
A nutritious diet promotes healthy nails and hair, and as both hair and nails are made up of keratin through a similar process in the body, it is believed that nutrients that help one can also help the other. So it is vital that you start by filling up on these beauty-boosting foods that will help you achieve thicker hair and healthy nails.
Keratin is a protein. In order to produce them, you need to eat protein. Proteins are large molecules made of amino acid chains that you can find in meat and legumes. However, the richest and most protein-balanced food is eggs. Eggs are rich in biotin, or vitamin B8, which plays a role in the development of keratin. Additionally, if your nails are in bad shape, you can take a biotin supplement and a daily dose of 2.5 milligrams to help strengthen brittle nails.
Red meat is loaded in protein and also has another vital nutrient for nails and hair—iron. Those who suffer from anaemia due to an iron deficiency often have flat and fine hair. Moreover, iron deficiency is associated with koilonychias—a nail disease where the edges of the nails are raised, giving them a concave, and hollowed-out shape. It is important to know your iron status: in order to compensate for its deficits, by taking an iron supplement if necessary. Nevertheless, if your iron reserves are good, it is best to avoid foods rich in iron, as excess iron is even more dangerous to health than a lack of it.
Blueberries are among the most antioxidant-rich fruits out there that help to protect against free radical damage, which increases stress and inflammation, and impacts all cells in the body, including nail and hair cells. But most importantly, blueberries act on the microcirculation, favouring a good irrigation of the scalp and facilitating the supply of the nutrients to the hair.
Similar to red meat and eggs, almonds are a rich source of protein but they too are loaded with a key ingredient—magnesium. If your nails happen to have vertical streaks on them, this may be a sign of a lack of magnesium. In addition, magnesium is recognised as an anti-stress mineral, which helps to relax muscle and nerve cells, and most notably, helps to fight stress, which is a nasty cause of hair loss. You can also find magnesium in green vegetables, cocoa and buckwheat.
You might be a little shocked to see this on our list but yes you have read it correctly! According to the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, beer is one of the most important sources of silica—a trace mineral that increases circulation in the scalp, which helps stimulate hair growth. According to a study published in the Archives of Dermatological Research, a daily dietary supplement of 10 milligrams of silica decreases the fragility of nails and hair after 20 weeks. Most single servings of beer contain more than 10 milligrams of silicon and experts recommend that having no more than one drink a day if you’re a woman, and two if you’re a man.
Zinc is an essential mineral for making hair and nail proteins. White spots on the nails are caused by a lack of zinc. According to the National Institutes of Health, oysters contain 74 mg of zinc per serving, far more than any other food. If you aren’t a fan of oysters or can’t eat them everyday, you can substitute your intake of zinc with beef, poultry, fortified cereals and baked beans.
Nettle is a natural fortifier of the scalp, and contains vitamins and minerals that help to strengthen nails and hair. You can consume nettle either in the form of capsules or apply a hair lotion directly on your hair. To do this, you just have to infuse the freshly cut leaves, filtering and diluting them in a small glass of cider vinegar. You can add a few drops of grapefruit essential oil for a sweet smell.
Salmon is a great source of biotin, protein and omega-3 fatty acids. In particular, omega-3 fatty acids help to reduce inflammation and cleanse the scalp thus promoting healthy hair follicles. In addition to this, the anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3 are also great for nails as inflammation impairs the healthy development of your nail plate.