Your nails may not be something you pay much attention to, but they can tell you a lot about your overall health and nutrition. When you aren’t getting enough of the necessary vitamins and minerals, your nails will suffer as a result. To keep your nails strong and healthy, start eating these nine foods every day.
Your nails are made of a protein called keratin. Protein is your body’s building block, and oysters are one of our best sources! They also contain zinc, which has been shown to boost nail growth when eaten regularly. If you don’t like seafood, you can always take a supplement instead (just make sure it doesn’t have extra calcium in it). Oysters aren’t just for eating either; their shells can be used as natural exfoliates for dry or brittle nails. Soak them in warm water for 10 minutes and use them as an alternative to your regular scrubs.
Eggs aren’t just high in protein—they’re also a rich source of biotin, which helps nail cells reproduce and produce keratin. (Think of it as nature’s hot glue!) Biotin can be tricky to find in foods, but eggs are an easy way to get your daily dose. Other biotin-rich options include carrots, almonds, and cheese. The recommended daily dosage is 30 micrograms for women and 35 micrograms for men.
No, almonds won’t make your nails grow, but they will give you a good dose of vitamin E, one of those nutrients that can help improve skin and nail health. One study even found that people who took 200 units of vitamin E daily experienced improvements in nail thickness and quality after two months. More research is needed before we can definitively claim almonds (or any other food) will make your nails grow faster, but it can’t hurt to get some more of these vitamins into your diet. Oh yeah, a little bit about those almond shells—they have quite a bit of protein too! A handful will put you over 3 grams for sure. Just don’t throw them away!
Popeye was onto something—this leafy green is rich in a range of nutrients that make it a nail-healthy choice. Tryptophan, an amino acid found in spinach, can help improve sleep quality and increase nails’ strength and thickness. And when you’re getting plenty of zzz’s (which promotes nail growth), you may just find yourself waking up with nails that are healthier than ever. It also offers vitamin K and iron—two additional nutrients linked to stronger nails. Make sure to eat your spinach raw or lightly steamed for maximum benefit. Steaming for too long can destroy some of its health benefits, including those for your nails. Instead, try sprinkling your favorite veggies with olive oil and sea salt for a tasty way to get all these vitamins and minerals into your diet without losing out on any nutritional value. Asparagus: This veggie makes our list thanks to its high levels of folic acid, which helps prevent brittle nails by supporting proper cell division within your body.
5. Wheat germ
Wheat germ is rich in B vitamins, iron, magnesium, and zinc. All of these nutrients are vital for healthy nail growth and strength. Biotin is another nutrient found in wheat germ that promotes hair and nail growth. Also known as vitamin H, biotin may aid in strengthening your nails by causing them to grow faster. However, it’s important to note that although biotin supplements can strengthen brittle nails, there isn’t sufficient evidence available on whether or not consuming biotin from food sources does so.
Cheese is rich in calcium and protein, which are both essential for strong nail health. The protein helps grow new skin cells, while calcium is essential for keeping nails flexible and strong. Try eating some cheese as a snack or sprinkling it on your meals! Be sure to choose low-fat varieties of cheese to reduce your calorie intake and save room for other foods you need. And don’t forget about cottage cheese—it has half of the calories that regular cheese does, but all of its nutrients.
For an even healthier option, try Greek yogurt instead of sour cream when you order Mexican food! Greek yogurt contains twice as much protein as sour cream (six grams per serving compared with three), so you can have more than one serving without feeling guilty about consuming too many calories or fat. Also be sure to add lots of veggies like tomatoes, onions, peppers, and jalapenos so that you get more vitamins A and C—two nutrients that keep your skin healthy from within!
The healthiest way to eat oatmeal is steel-cut oats, which is an excellent source of beta-glucan fiber that can help lower cholesterol. Beta-glucan fiber has been shown in studies to promote strong nails growth and strengthen nails. In addition, oats contain biotin and other nutrients necessary for nail strength and growth. Oats are also rich in vitamin E, a nutrient important for skin repair that may help prevent hangnails.
Carrots are packed with vitamin A, which is essential for healthy skin and strong nails. Vitamin A is also known for improving your eyesight. Carrots are high in fiber, which will help you maintain proper bowel movements. It’s easy to eat more carrots by adding them to soups, casseroles, or even eating raw slices as a snack.
No matter what food you eat, your body cannot function properly without enough water. Dehydration can cause a host of problems, from constipation and dizziness to headaches and muscle aches. If you’re not getting enough fluids each day, it’s time to work on that—and fasts. Drinking more water will help your nails grow stronger and make them less prone to breakage. Make sure you’re drinking about two liters of water per day for optimal results. While you’re at it, keep an eye out for hidden sources of fluid: milk, coffee, and juice count toward your daily total. Even soda counts! One 12-ounce serving has close to 10 percent of your daily value (DV) for water. Aiming for eight cups or 48 ounces is a good goal to shoot for if you’re just starting. Drink up!
Skipping meals or not eating enough can lead to iron deficiency, which manifests itself in several ways—not just nails that break easily. To ensure your body has what it needs, including these foods in your diet. If you notice any of these symptoms, talk with your doctor about making an appointment for a checkup. And when it comes to strong nails growth and health, calcium will be one of your most important allies: Research suggests it may help increase nail strength and even decrease brittleness.