Do your nails ever feel like they’re weaker than they used to be? Or maybe your nails are more brittle and starting to split. Our nails can be a good indicator of our overall health and keeping them in good condition can have a lot to do with the food we eat. Certain vitamins and minerals will contribute to good nail health. And many of these vitamins and minerals are packed into a variety of tasty foods.
Biotin rich foods: B7, coenzyme R and vitamin H
Biotin promotes healthy cell growth and is known as the super vitamin as it can help enhance hair, skin and nails.
Increasing your intake of biotin rich foods is easily done as it is found in a range of foods such as:
B12 vitamin foods
Iron is absorbed more easily when you have good levels of vitamin B12 in your diet and both of these play an important role in keeping nails strong and healthy.
Foods rich in B12 include:
Eggs and dairy
B9 or Folate
Another vitamin that is essential for nail health and growth is vitamin B9 or folate. This vitamin plays an important role in red blood cell formation and new cell development.
Folate can be found in:
Dark green vegetables
Seeds (Chia, hemp and flax seeds)
The nail plate is made up of a protein called keratin. While keratin is actually dead cells, by eating enough protein in your diet it will help ensure that your nails are strong.
Protein is present in:
Having good levels of iron is essential as it makes up the centre of your red blood cells, which then carry oxygen to your organs and every cell, including your nails. How much iron you need depends on your gender and age.
Iron is found in:
If you eat a plant-based diet eating foods with a source of vitamin C (berries, strawberries, oranges, kiwis) alongside plant-based iron rich foods such as green leafy vegetables, peanuts, seeds, beans will help increase absorption.
Magnesium plays an important role in the formation of new nails through a process called protein synthesis.
Magnesium rich foods include:
Dark green leafy vegetables
Nuts such as cashews, peanuts, almonds
Sometimes the white spots that appear on the nail plate can be the result of a lack of zinc in your diet. Because the cells in your nail plate divide and grow rapidly a good supply of zinc is required for healthy nails.
Good levels of zinc can be found in :
Nuts (almonds and cashews)
Good levels of vitamin C will help your nails grow strong. It plays an essential role in producing collagen which is fundamental to the growth of nails, hair and teeth.
Vitamin C rich foods include:
Red bell peppers
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Including omega-3 fatty acids in your diet will help your nails to grow strong and give them a shiny appearance. These fatty acids are nourishing and promote healthy cells that create the nail plate.
Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include:
Fish (salmon, trout, tuna, sardines, mackerel)
Flaxseeds and flaxseed oil
Eating a well balanced diet which includes foods with a wide variety of vitamins and minerals will help contribute towards strong, healthy nails. And it won’t only be your nails that benefit, these vitamins and minerals will have a positive effect on your whole body. Keep your food intake interesting by changing it up and making it as colourful as possible and your nails should soon start to reflect your overall health.