It might be easy to overlook your nails during your daily preening, but the health of your fingernails and toenails says a lot about how well you take care of yourself. There’s no need to resort to drastic measures, however—a slight change to your diet is all it takes to improve your nail health.
Like anything that’s worth it, improving your nail health with proper nutrition requires dedication, and it can take a while to notice results. By understanding what your nails need to be healthy, however, you can fully support your efforts to gain perfect nails by eating the five foods in this list.
Antioxidant-rich foods promote proper nail growth, and your nails also need micronutrients to stay healthy. Along with keratin, the substance that makes your nails hard, nail beds are composed primarily of collagen. As the body’s most abundant protein, collagen is affected profoundly by oxidative stress, and foods high in antioxidants promote collagen synthesis by reducing levels of free radicals in your cells. Let’s continue with our list:
These teardrop-shaped tree nuts contain lots of vitamin E and zinc, which both contribute to nail growth and health. A handful of almonds per day is enough to boost the shine and strength of your nails.
Biotin is essential for proper nail growth, and cauliflower is one of the richest sources of this essential B vitamin. While white is most popular, all colours of cauliflower contain the same amount of biotin.
Spinach contains a lot of biotin, and it’s also a great source of iron, which prevents common signs of nutrient deficiency in fingernails and toenails.
Rich in vitamin C, one of the body’s most abundant antioxidants, all types of citrus fruits can help your nails look lustrous and healthy.
Your nails use the fats in avocados directly, and these pitted fruits are great sources of essential vitamins that your fingernails and toenails need to stay healthy.
Next to vitamin C, vitamin E is the body’s most abundant antioxidant, and this nutrient is particularly active in your hair, skin, and nails. Almonds contain lots of vitamin E, and they also contain zinc, which improves your nail strength.
Almonds are convenient to snack on wherever you go. They don’t crack and fall apart like walnuts, and they’re more substantial than peanuts or cashews. In short, almonds are the perfect on-the-go snack food.
People often resort to meat and seafood to get zinc. All the while, however, almonds quietly contain all the zinc you need to gain and maintain healthy, strong nails.
Shaved almonds can be the perfect complement to vegan ice cream—homemade or store-bought!
Cauliflower contains high concentrations of biotin, which has been studied as a treatment for brittle fingernails. Biotin helps with your nail metabolism, which allows the cells in your fingernails and toenails to reproduce and maintain themselves effectively.
You might like the taste of cauliflower raw, but most amateur chefs find that this vegetable tastes better steamed like broccoli. Try steaming a few different colours of broccoli at once for a rainbow effect.
Along with broccoli, cauliflower is one of the only vegetables known to contain sulforaphane, a potent antioxidant that the scientific community is seriously examining for its medical benefits.
Cooked and diced, cauliflower can take the place of rice in many dishes. Just remember to drain your cauliflower “rice” properly before you eat it.
Concave nails or vertical nail ridges can be signs of iron deficiency. While anaemia isn’t only caused by deficiency in nutritional iron, eating a food like spinach that’s high in iron is one way to address the issue. Spinach also contains lots of other essential micronutrients, but it’s one of the best plant sources of iron.
Spinach tastes best fresh-picked. Even frozen spinach has its benefits, but canned forms of this nail-boosting vegetable might not be as satisfying.
We all know that spinach contains lots of protein, but you might be surprised to learn that this vegetable also includes around the same amount of vitamin C as oranges per gram.
Since spinach leaves are thin and long, they work perfectly as the cores of vegan wraps and burritos.
Vitamin C is involved in collagen production in multiple ways, so consuming lots of this essential nutrient boosts your overall collagen levels. Your hair, skin, and nails all use large quantities of collagen to stay strong and healthy, and eating foods like oranges, which contain lots of vitamin C, addresses the root of the issue by giving your nails more food to grow.
Peel your orange, slice it, or juice it. There are lots of different ways to eat oranges, just don’t spray anyone’s eyes with citrus juice if you choose to eat these potentially messy fruits in public.
Oranges aren’t very nutritious aside from their antioxidant content when compared to other fruits. They do, however, contain more dietary fibre than you might expect, which offsets the effects of their natural fruit sugars.
Instead of always pairing oranges with dishes that are sweet, remember that these pungent citrus fruits also balance bitter or spicy foods.
Avocados contain linoleic acid, which is a primary building block of keratin. Combined with the rest of these fruits’ impressive vitamin and mineral content, avocados are clearly a food you want to eat as much as you can as you improve your nail health.
Avocados aren’t tasty when they’re too hard, and you shouldn’t let them get ripe either. Instead, cut your avocado in one slice along the pit as soon as your thumb can indent the skin.
In addition to healthy fats and antioxidants, avocados also contain reasonable concentrations of plant protein. For anyone trying to abstain from animal products, every little bit of extra protein is welcome.
Fruit smoothies often don’t turn out as creamy as we might’ve desired. Adding a little bit of nutritious avocado can be just the thing.