Focusing on your overall health means paying attention to details big and small:
• your weight
• your blood pressure
• how you feel
• how you look
As for how you look, though you may opt out of fussing with frills, that doesn’t mean that things like your fingernails and hair aren’t important. In fact, they can be a key sign of good (or bad) health.
Your hair and your nails are made up of keratin. Keratin is a special protein made by cells in your skin.
When it’s made, it pushes through the skin, then dies and turns hard, turning into hair or nails. This process is called “keratinization.”
When the process of keratinization is going well, it reflects good health. Nails and hair will be strong and smooth.
By contrast, a person who is sick will have nails that are dry and brittle. Their hair will break easily and be dull. There are other signs and symptoms your hair and nails will give youtoo!
The body functions that determine whether keratinization is well supported are a healthy kidney and thyroid, as well as hormones that are in balance.
To ensure that these organs and functions are well supported, there are several nutrients that you should be sure you’re getting.
• Protein: gets broken down into amino acids that build keratin
• Vitamin A: Helps your body absorb protein
• Vitamin C: Works with zinc to build collagen
• Vitamin B2: Helps develop new tissue
• Vitamin B7 (biotin): Develops stronger nails
Other nutrients that are key to growing vibrant, healthy nails and hair include vitamins D and E, iron, calcium and iodine.
To support nail and hair health, there are certain foods that will make a big difference. Eating more of these will add strength and shine:
8 Foods to Grow Gorgeous Nails and Shiny Hair
1. Protein – Adding a plant-based protein powder to your smoothie will stop hair loss.
2. Blueberries – Blueberries are high in antioxidants that protect growing cells against free radical damage.
3. Almonds – Almonds are loaded with magnesium. This mineral counters stress that can cause damage to hair and nail cells. Other good sources of magnesium include cacao nibs and leafy greens. And almonds are also high in protein.
4. Beer – Not that I’m advocating alcohol but here’s one good reason to tilt a glass every now and then. Beer contains silicon, a mineral that boosts scalp circulation and hair growth. It also fights brittleness in nails.
5. Oysters – Oysters are the food highest in zinc. Zinc is needed to make the keratin that turns into hair and nails. Not a fan of shellfish? You can also get zinc from poultry, cereals, and baked beans.
6. Yogurt – There’s a link between losing hair and low levels of Vitamin D. Also, the calcium in dairy helps build healthy hair and nails. Just be sure you read the labels before you buy yogurt.
7. Eggs – Not only are eggs high in protein and vitamin D, they also contain biotin, which plays a key role in building keratin.
8. Salmon – Salmon contains biotin and protein, as well as omega-3 fatty acids that promote healthy skin. Since nails and hair are formed from the top layer of skin, healthy skin means healthy nails.