Nutrition plays a vital role in nail health. Changes in the color or texture of your nails could indicate nutritional deficiencies that may need to be addressed with diet and supplements under professional guidance.
Protein-rich foods are key for healthy nails. A deficiency in this nutrient could result in brittle and weak nails. Eat plant-based proteins like quinoa, lentils, soya and beans as well as lean meat and fish to support nail strength.
Vitamin C is well known for its brightening effects, but this nutrient also strengthens nails and prevents hangnails. Vitamin C promotes collagen production, which provides a strong base for nails. The vitamin also helps the body absorb iron, a mineral that contributes to nail strength.
Biotin is another important nutrient for nails. It plays a role in keratin formation, which is the protein that gives nails their strength and resilience. Biotin is found in eggs, nuts, seeds, and vegetables. People with a biotin deficiency may benefit from a biotin supplement.
Folate, a water-soluble B vitamin, is essential for cellular growth and DNA synthesis. Foods that are rich in folate include leafy green vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds. People who are deficient in folate may experience brittle nails.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Often touted as nutritional superheroes, omega-3 fatty acids play a critical role in nail health. By boosting hydration, improving elasticity and managing inflammation, they can help prevent common nail problems like ridges and brittle nails while nurturing their growth.
Increase fatty fish (like salmon, mackerel and sardines) and plant-based sources of omega-3 (like flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds and walnuts) in your diet. Supplements with EPA and DHA can also be beneficial.
Biotin, also known as vitamin B7, is another crucial nutrient for nail health. It helps strengthen brittle nails and promotes their growth by supporting the production of keratin, a fibrous protein found in the nails and hair. It is available naturally in foods such as eggs, nuts and whole grains, or may be taken as a supplement under the guidance of a healthcare professional.
Calcium helps to strengthen nails and reduce peeling or splitting. It’s important to ensure an adequate intake of calcium by eating foods rich in the mineral, and/or taking a daily supplement.
Weak, brittle or slow-growing nails may indicate a calcium deficiency, but if that’s the case, there are usually other health issues that need to be addressed as well. For example, frequent wetting and drying of the nails can contribute to them becoming brittle.
Protein is also key to nail strength, and can be found in eggs (which are a good source of vitamin B12), lean meats, dairy and legumes. Nutritionists recommend including protein-rich foods in the diet daily to help promote healthy nails.
The B vitamin, Biotin, is important for nail health but it is also necessary to have adequate levels of Iron. Iron is required for red blood cell production and transporting oxygen to every cell in your body including your nails. Low Iron levels can lead to brittle and dry nails which can become weak or even collapse inwards.
The best source of iron is animal products like meat, chicken and eggs but plant-based options are leafy vegetables, legumes and fortified cereals. Adding foods rich in Vitamin C can help increase absorption of iron.
Protein boosts keratin production which contributes to strong and healthy nails. Protein is found in plant-based foods like soy, legumes and quinoa as well as eggs, nuts and dairy. You can get a good amount of protein from your diet but a protein supplement can be useful too.
A nutrient essential to the health of nails and hair, zinc helps prevent brittle nails and supports healthy nail growth. It also aids in tissue repair and healing. Zinc can be found in foods such as meat, seafood, dairy products, nuts and whole grains.
The water-soluble B vitamin, Biotin, is another dietary staple necessary for nail health. It helps convert food into energy and is involved in protein and DNA synthesis. A deficiency in Biotin can lead to brittle nails and a dull color. Biotin can be found in liver, dairy products, eggs, beans and pumpkin seeds.
Proper nail care, practicing good hygiene and a well-balanced diet are the key to healthy nails. Pay attention to changes in your nails and consult with your physician if any abnormalities occur.