Having strong, healthy and beautiful nails comes from having a strong, healthy body. Fingernails have a remarkable ability to reveal diseases and other medical conditions your body may be suffering from. White nails are often a side effect of liver diseases, while red nail beds can be a sign of heart disease. Dark lines beneath the nail can signify melanoma and a rippling of the nail surface can be associated with psoriasis or inflammatory arthritis.
When your body isn’t doing well, your nails are often a visible casualty. If your diet isn’t providing necessary nutrients for the body’s proper functioning, your nails can easily become weak, cracked, brittle and dull.
What vitamins do I need for having great nails?
Your body needs an array of nutrients in order to produce strong, hydrated nails that can withstand damage and continue to grow well. Having access to relevant vitamins and minerals can make a world of difference when it comes to nail care.
What vitamin-rich foods should I include in my diet?
Maintaining a healthy diet full of nutrient-rich fruits, vegetables and lean proteins can naturally provide your body with much of what it needs. Aim for a balanced eating regimen so your body has access to a wide-variety of nutritious sources.
Here are just a handful of foods that you can make sure to incorporate into your meal plans for the benefit of your nails and whole body.
The leafy green vegetable is known for its biotin-rich nature as well as having vitamin A, vitamin C, iron and protein. Swiss chard is also a recipe-friendly ingredient even for beginning chefs since it doesn’t brown as easily as spinach when overcooked.
If your local grocery store doesn’t offer Swiss chard, which is also known as silverbeet or spinach beet, you may be able to find the nutritious veggie at a local health food store or organic produce market. Don’t overdo it on the chard though, since large doses can interfere with calcium absorption.
This yummy fruit is widely known as a good fat and is a great source of potassium, but the natural pick is also a great option for accessing our nail-friendly vitamins and minerals like iron, vitamin A, vitamin E and biotin. In comparison to other fruits, avocados are high in calories so even if your diet style is to not count fruit calories, you might want to go ahead and count avocados or at least keep track of your serving sizes.
It’s true that eggs have cholesterol, but a balanced diet can include a boiled egg here and there, which is an effective way to intake biotin, protein, iron, vitamin D and vitamin A all at once. The yolk itself is particularly valuable when it comes to providing biotin so don’t just opt for an egg-white only pick if you’re eating eggs for the purpose of promoting nail growth.
Almonds, peanuts, pecans and walnuts are all dietary sources of biotin as well as iron and protein. Accordingly, nut butters provide these nutrients as well, but food-processing methods can actually destroy biotin so opting for less-processed choices can increase the bioavailability of the vitamins you’re looking for.
Toss a couple of tablespoons of your favorite nut onto a Swiss chard salad mixed with other fresh, nutrient-rich vegetables like bell peppers, mushrooms and carrots.
Food picks like wheat, oats, quinoa and brown rice are whole grains and provide biotin as well as other vitamins and dietary minerals.
Opt for whole wheat breads and pastas as well as rolled oats and long-grain brown rice, which offer more nutrients than their more-processed counterparts. Eating whole grains can additionally aid your health overall, being inversely related to conditions like diabetes, hypertension, obesity and other cardiovascular diseases.
What if I still feel like I’m lacking when it comes to intaking nail-friendly vitamins?
If you feel like a nutritional deficiency may still be at play even when you’re sticking to a healthy diet, you will likely benefit from keeping a multivitamin close by to help supplement your eating habits. There are many convenient, over-the-counter options that are explicitly formulated with hair, skin and nails in mind since the same vitamins can aid the condition of all three body parts. Look for a pick that suits your budget and contains a healthy dose of the relevant helpmeets like biotin.
When should I see a medical professional about my nails?
If you’ve always had short nails and are simply interested now in growing them out longer, there’s probably not a reason for you to visit a dermatologist or other medical professional. However, if your hunt for tips on nail health has stemmed from a recent change in the condition of your nails, like the onset of dark discoloration or holes and streaks, you may be interested in making an appointment with your doctor.
Changes in color, shape, texture and growth patterns can be causes for concern. Your condition may, in fact, be nothing to worry about at all, but if you’re unsure and want to be on the safe side, you can consult with a specialist who is trained to tell the difference between aesthetic worries and serious medical conditions.