Brittle hair and nails are usually both signs your body is lacking nutrients it needs, so be sure to add some foods that strengthen your nails to solve the problem quickly. Biotin, selenium, protein, zinc, copper, iron and beta-carotene are all essential to good hair growth. Going without them is like setting yourself up to have brittle, weak nails, along with damaged hair. Certain foods are rich in these nutrients, while others are not, but don’t worry, because believe it or not, the nails and hair are some of the easiest things to improve the appearance of in the body. Feeding your nails more of what they want will have them looking stronger in no time. Now that you know what nutrients you need from foods, here's some ways to implement foods that strengthen your nails into your meals. Before you know it, you’ll be eating these foods automatically, without even knowing you’re trying.
Fish is absolutely one of the best foods that strengthen your nails of all. First, it’s full of lean, easy to assimilate protein that can be used immediately for your body, exactly how it wants to use it. Protein helps feed collagen and keratin in your skin, hair and nails. Fish is one of the most beauty friendly sources of animal protein you can eat as well. Choose salmon, tuna, white fish, shrimp and crab for the best benefits, and eat it at least three times a week. Avoid high mercury sources like sushi, mackerel and swordfish, which can actually weaken your nails, not strengthen them. Bake, broil or grill fish and add it to your lunches, dinners and substitute other sources of meat with fish. In no time, you’ll be looking great and your nails will be growing quickly too.
Now, I know this might sound a little strange to some of you, but this deep green powder, which is technically a seaweed, is rich in nutrients that will give you amazing skin, hair and nails in no time. Spirulina has over 800% of your daily beta-carotene intake, which is a form of Vitamin A. It’s also a rich sources of biotin, B vitamins, magnesium, chlorophyll and rich in protein. Spirulina can easily be added to smoothies, soups or into homemade energy balls or bars. I like the Nutrex brand for the mildest taste and highest quality. Spirulina is also a wonderful source of iron, and contains more iron per teaspoon than meat.
Almonds are a fantastic source of magnesium, zinc, protein, manganese and copper, which are all important to nail health. Almonds are also very high in selenium and biotin, which are two minerals your nails literally crave. Choose raw over roasted almonds so you get the most benefits, and add them as a topping on smoothies, yogurt or oatmeal. You can also pair some raw almond butter with some celery, whole grain crackers or use it to make homemade energy bars. Almonds will have your skin, hair and nails looking better in no time!
4. Hemp Seeds
Hemp seeds are one of my personal little nutrition and beauty secrets. If you’re not already indulging in this heart healthy, beautifying seed, I suggest you start! Hemp seeds are high in omega 3 fats, and contain all essential amino acids. Hemp seeds are also rich in protein, which feeds your hair, skin and nails. When it comes to nail health, they also contain biotin, selenium, manganese and, once again, protein. All of these nutrients make hemp a great tool to increase your health, along with helping your nails grow and stay strong. I suggest using 1 tablespoon of hemp seeds in smoothies, yogurt, oatmeal or using them in homemade energy bars or bites. They’re incredibly easy to use, and so fantastic for your body. You can use them as a replacement wherever you would use nuts in a recipe as well.
Eggs are one of the best sources of biotin you can consume, and are one of the most nutrient dense animal foods you can eat. The key to eating eggs the right way is to eat pastured, certified humane eggs not fed a diet high in soy or corn, and that haven't been given hormones or fed inorganic feeds high in pesticides. They’re also richer in body-friendly protein, Vitamin D and natural sources of healthy fats instead of fats from their food. They’re higher in Vitamins E, omega 3 fats and minerals like selenium, biotin and iron. Add eggs to your diet and your nails will thank you! You can eat them in any form or fashion, but my personal favorite is baking with them. I also suggest egg whites for many of the same benefits, without the excess fat.
Yogurt is wonderful for your nails, ladies! As long as you choose a high protein yogurt, low in sugar, like plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt, it is truly a miracle food for your nails. Yogurt’s high protein content isn’t all it has going for it. Yogurt is also rich in biotin, iron, magnesium, potassium, calcium and Vitamin D. Calcium is another mineral very important for your nail health. It helps strengthen your nails, hair and bones, and prevents breakage in all three areas. We all know yogurt is easy to enjoy in many ways. One of my personal favorites lately is in a smoothie to make it taste more like a milkshake! I like organic Greek yogurt, as well as hormone-free, non GMO varieties for the best nutrition possible.
7. Leafy Greens
Let’s not forget about the importance of our greens for our nail health. Leafy greens are possibly one of the top foods of all for your nails. They contain raw, easy to assimilate nutrients that feed your hair, nails and skin. Leafy greens contain magnesium, copper, zinc, protein, Vitamins A and E, along with biotin and other B vitamins. Add them to whatever you can, whenever you can. I like to stir them in soups, add them to smoothies, eat salads on a regular occasion, along with toss them into omelets or pair them steamed with fish for dinner.
8. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are one of the best sources of Vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene. This important antioxidant is one of the best you can eat for your nails for so many reasons. Beta-carotene strengthens both collagen and elastin in the skin and nails. It also reduces stress that can cause breakage from inflammation. In terms of growth, it acts as food for your hair, nails and skin. Sweet potatoes are the richest vegetable source of beta-carotene you can eat, but carrots, squash, cantaloupe and leafy greens are all top sources too.
I adore walnuts! They have so many benefits, there’s just no reason not to eat them. They have more omega 3s than any nut, they have protein and fiber and they’re rich in magnesium, melatonin, zinc, copper, manganese, potassium and biotin as well. Walnuts help your nails grow and stay strong due to this powerful nutritional makeup. As a bonus, walnuts reduce your appetite and help stabilize your blood sugar. I like adding them to smoothies, yogurt or just eating a few when I get a sweet tooth. They also help clear the skin, reduce inflammation in the body and improve nail appearance in just a week.
10. Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are another wonderful nut-free source of protein, zinc, copper, magnesium, biotin and Vitamin E. All of these nutrients help feed your nails and help them stay strong. Try sprinkling sunflower seeds on salads, on yogurt, oatmeal, on smoothies or just eating some in a delicious raw trail mix. You might try using plain, unsalted sunflower butter instead of peanut butter as well. It has almost an identical taste, but is more tolerable to those that don’t tolerate peanuts.
11. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are another fabulous source of the same nutrients that sunflower seeds contain, but they contain a bit more magnesium. Aside from hemp seeds, they are the most chlorophyll rich nut, making them more alkaline and less acidic on your body. I personally adore pumpkin seeds, and their high tryptophan content makes them a fabulous source of one of the most essential amino acids to your health. Tryptophan reduces stress in the body, and stress in any form can actually weaken your nails, believe it or not, along with make your hair fall out and give you breakouts. Eating tryptophan rich foods is a great way to prevent that through your diet.
12. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are a fabulous source of nutrients for every single part of your body, but since we’re talking about nail health here, it’s all about the calcium, protein, B vitamins and zinc. Chia is packed full of these nutrients, which keep your hair, nails and skin looking their best around the clock. Eating chia seeds in yogurts, oatmeal, smoothies, protein bars, homemade energy bars or whatever else you want is a great way to increase your nutrition, along with improve your nail health quickly. I personally love them sprinkled on top of yogurts and smoothies. Their crunchy texture is so fun and satisfying, but if you prefer chia pudding, that works too, of course!
Oats are one of the best whole grains to eat for your hair, skin and nails. They’re naturally anti-inflammatory, and they contain so many B vitamins, including biotin, the most important B vitamin for your nails of all. Since oats digest very slowly, they also reduce insulin surges in your body. When insulin surges in the body, it causes your blood sugar to make you stressed. This in turn weakens your hair and nails, along with increases breakouts. Oats can be eaten daily as a delicious breakfast, used in smoothies or even made into homemade energy bars or granola bars. Just don’t add sugar to your oats, or you defeat the entire purpose of eating them for nail and blood sugar benefits. If you don’t like oats, quinoa is a great replacement, as it’s high in protein and also rich in vitamins and minerals that strengthen your nails.
Now, you all have a huge list of foods that can help your nails grow. So, how will you use them? Tell me your favorite way to eat these foods, or any ideas you have that you’re going to start adding to your diet today!