We are aware that our body requires nutrition to stay healthy and disease free; similarly eating healthy food with balanced nutrient levels help in maintaining the strength and aesthetics of our nails. In this article we have tried to list down some of the essential nutrients for maintaining healthy nails.
Here Are 7 Essentials Nutrients For Thicker And Stronger Nails:
Protein- REPAIR WEAR AND TEAR
The role of protein in human body is to repair the wear and tear. Our nails contain a type of protein which is known as keratin. This keratin gives nails its strength and also helps in nail growth. Hence, it is important to include natural sources of proteins in your diet. Now, if you are a non-vegetarian, your diet would include meat and eggs; which will efficiently balance the protein level. These food items are generously rich in proteins. But, in case you are a vegan, it is important to include different vegetarian protein rich food in your diet.
Some of the examples of vegetarian protein rich foods are quinoa, beans, different types of nuts and seeds, pumpkin, almonds, watermelon; tofu etc. Vegetarian foods that are high in protein content also include dairy products, nuts, soy-bean etc.
Zinc- ENSURES GROWTH
Zinc is a micronutrient which ensures proper growth of nails. Also at times there is a particular appearance of white spots on nail surface; which all of us might have observed at some or other point. This spot is due to zinc deficiency. Foods which are rich sources of zinc include – Oysters, sea food, wheat germ, spinach, cashew nuts, beans, white mushroom, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, oats etc.
Iron- PROVIDES STRENGTH
Iron is essential as it provides strength to the nails. Iron is mainly accountable for maintaining normal Haemoglobin levels in blood. If you ever notice your nails are pale, thin or brittle, the culprit might be anaemia which occurs due to low haemoglobin levels. To curb this it is important to maintain iron levels in blood.
Foods having high levels of iron include meat, pork, chicken; pumpkin seeds, tofu, green leafy veggies, beans, whole grains, dark chocolate, different types of nuts like cashew nuts, peanut almonds etc.
Vitamin C – HELPS REDUCING IRON DEFICIENCY
We already know how iron levels are important for our nails. Vitamin C is very essential for proper iron absorption. This means that if your Vitamin C levels are low you might experience weak dull nails which are brittle. Hence, in order to avoid any iron deficiency, boost your diet with foods like eggs, spinach, fortified cereals etc. Citrus fruits such as lemons, oranges are a good source of vitamin C. Other foods that help body in iron absorption are tomatoes, bell peppers etc.
Biotin – IMPARTS LUSTER & IMPROVES NAIL HEALTH
Biotin is a water soluble vitamin (Vitamin B) which plays a vital role in building amino acids and proteins, which are famously known as the ‘building blocks’ in body. A number of research studies have observed that biotin helps in promoting new cell growth which ultimately leads to better growth of your nails.
Foods that are rich in biotin include whole wheat bread, veggies like cabbage, cauliflower, onions; eggs, wheat germ oil, whole grains, strawberries, fish- especially salmon etc. There are a number of biotin supplements which are easily available in market.
Folate – REDUCES DULLNESS
Folate is simply Vitamin B9 which helps in nail growth and reduces nail dullness. Your nails tend to become dull due to a number of reasons like lack of nutrition or exposure to harsh chemicals etc. It is also known that along with growing age your body’s capacity to absorb folate lessens and hence an additional supplementation is required.
Examples of food containing high levels of folate are – beans, lentils, green leafy veggies like okra, asparagus, spinach, fenugreek, legumes, peas etc.
Essential Fatty Acids – PREVENTS FLAKING OR BREAKING
As a matter of fact that our skin requires constant moisturizing to avoid dryness and to remain healthy & glowing; similarly nails become brittle and begin to flake off if they are devoid of moisture. The best way of keeping the moisture of nails intact is to include essential fatty acids like linolenic acid, omega-3 etc. in your diet. The foods which are rich in essential fatty acids are – avocado, flax seeds, soya oil, canola oil, almonds, walnut, eggs, broccoli etc.
The key to beautiful and healthy nails is proper nutrition. Maintaining a balanced diet which has all the essential nutrients in required amounts is a must. Also, you must never ignore any signs of nail damage or infection as nail health is a mirror of your overall health.