The Best Foods for Super Strong Nails and Why They Work
Posted on November 07 2018
There is no doubt that good nutrition and healthy nails go hand in hand. A healthy, balanced diet is essential for the body to function at its optimum, but there are several key vitamins and nutrients which are pivotal for the nails. We all want healthy, strong and resilient nails, and these key food groups can help to achieve that.
The main protein in the nails is keratin, a fibrous protein which forms the main structural constituent of the nail making it stronger and more resilient. It is relatively easy to spot when your nails are not getting the nutrients they need, changes or discoloration to any part of the fingernail may indicate poor nail health as well as brittleness or thinning of the nail itself.
Vitamin A and Zinc
Vitamin A is amongst the most important of nutrients for maintaining healthy levels of keratin and so healthy nails. Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin which is effective for nail growth. It acts as an antioxidant that prevents free radicals from damaging cells of the body, including those in the nail. Good sources of Vitamin A include spinach, apricots, apples and blueberries, which are easy to load up on in the form of smoothies and snacks. Zinc is another key nutrient with similar properties to Vitamin A, it is important for many biochemical reactions involved in growth and is best found in nuts and seeds like pumpkin or flax.
Omega 3, Folic Acid and Biotin
Healthy levels of Keratin cannot be maintained without paying attention to the nutrients needed by the Keratinocyte, this is the epidermal cell in which Keratin is produced. The epidermal cells perform a barrier function in the human body, protecting from bacteria and regulating the amount of water released from the body. If these cells are not protected, Keratin cannot be as easily produced and nail health will decline. Some of the key nutrients required by the Keratinocyte are Omega 3, Folic acid and Biotin. Omega 3 fatty acids keep Keratinocytes healthy and can be found in oily fish, nuts and linseed oil whilst folic acids which provide moisture to growing tissues and are also known as Vitamin B9, can be sourced from beetroots, eggs, avocados and citrus fruits. Finally, but by no means less importantly; Biotin is the key nutrient which is absorbed at the core of the nail, the part embedded in the finger where cells are generated. Biotin is most prominent in foods such as lettuce, cucumber, oats, raspberries and milk. Biotin helps to boost cell growth in the nails, leading to stronger, longer lasting nails.
And because they are hands down the best dietary sources of all of the above, here are the most important foods for super strong, healthy and resilient nails:
- Nuts and seeds
- Dark green leafy vegetables
- Berries of most kinds
- Lean white meat
- Anything high in Omega 3 fatty acids such as oily fish or avocados
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