You know you love it when you look down at your hand and see those long, beautiful claws painted to perfection! Or maybe you like the natural look of long, shaped, and filed nails with a slight glossy glow. Then there's also the fake tips you can glue onto your fingernails for the same type of look. In a few weeks, you’ll get them removed and start the process all over again. If only we could grow long and healthy nails ourselves, right? Well, now we’re going to learn how!
A big portion of our nail growth and health relies on the composition of the nail itself. If it isn't strong internally, it’s not going to last. What am I talking about, you ask? Diet!
By this, I don't mean going on a diet. I mean adding things to your existing diet that are proven to promote strong and healthy nails.
You may have heard that your hair, skin, and nails are very similar in that they share a common protein, keratin. This protein is what forms the fibers that keep your hair and nails long and strong. In order to promote keratin production, there are a few things we want to include in our diet regularly. These include omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamin C, biotin, and cystine.
We hear about omega-3 the most with fish, particularly in reference to fish oil capsules you'll often see women taking! Salmon has one of the higher counts of Omega-3, weighing in at 4,123 mg per serving. Other foods rich in these fatty acids include flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and soybeans.
Protein intake is another important consideration. The most popular foods that contain a decent amount of protein include eggs, milk, or whey protein that you can add to almost anything! Red meat is a good one for nail growth because it contains high amounts of iron as well as protein. That doesn’t mean you should eat it everyday, as it is linked to a whole bunch of other issues, but once or twice a week will give your body a good boost! You can also focus on eating protein-rich snacks like almonds and other nuts, nut butters, yogurt, and quinoa.
The first thing that probably came to your mind was oranges. Other fruits with a high Vitamin C content are kiwis, strawberries, guava, and cherries. Vitamin C rich vegetables include any color of bell peppers, kale, broccoli, and brussel sprouts.
Biotin is one of the main ingredients you should be adding into your diet if you're serious about improving your nail strength and health. This one is easy for me because I eat a lot of avocado and sweet potatoes, which are, of course, high in biotin. Salmon again hits the list, as well as nuts, dairy, and eggs. A good concentrated source can be found in liver (if you’re into that) as most biotin is stored there.
Cystine is a type of amino-acid that works in the forming of nail proteins. You can find a good amount of this in pretty much any kind of meat, as well as lentils, oatmeal, sunflower seeds, and swiss cheese.
Let’s review what we just discussed. You pretty much can’t go wrong eating these main staples: salmon, eggs, meat, and dairy products like yogurt and cheese. You also want to keep your fruit and veggie intake up for your vitamin C and biotin. Seeds and nuts can be a great way to get these important keratin building blocks in your system as well!
Although it may seem easier to just take a supplement and call it a day, making these modifications to your diet is really an overall healthier option. It’s also easier than keeping up with 20 different pills a day! A few suggestions to get you started would be to have avocado toast and yogurt for breakfast, make a trail mix with nuts and seeds as a snack, and a meat of your choice with 2 or 3 roasted veggies on the side for lunch or dinner. Give it a few weeks, and you should start seeing the growth of your long and healthy nails!
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