Before the pandemic hit, something that I did pretty religiously was get my nails done. While I proudly rocked long almond-shaped ones that were all mine, I enjoyed getting them powder-dipped or having a gel manicure that would last for weeks on end. However, once I read that long nails aren't exactly "pandemic-friendly" because they tend to store up a lot of germs and I also had to get used to taking care of my own nails (since salons were closed), I started to pay closer attention to how to care of them more than ever. This included when it came to my diet.
Something that you may already know is our nails are made up of a fibrous structural protein called keratin. This automatically means that our nails need protein in order to stay healthy. Not only that but since nails, on average, grow around 2 1/3 millimeters each month, it's important that we consume foods that will increase blood circulation, encourage cell growth and strengthen our nails in the process.
In walks eight foods that will do just that. Whether you stay in the nail salon or you care for your nails at your crib, if you want to see less brittleness, breakage and splitting, these are some of the foods that will help you to accomplish your goal.
One of the best things about eggs is how much protein they've got in them (about six grams per serving). Again, since your nails are made up of protein, I'm pretty sure you can see why I decided to list eggs as one of the best foods for your nails first. Eggs also have a good amount of Vitamin B12, selenium and choline in them. Choline is dope because it helps to build cell membranes (which is something else that your nails need). Also, since eggs have the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin in them which can protect your nails (and hair and skin) from damaging UV rays while also promoting elasticity, it certainly can't hurt to add more eggs to your diet.
Another Egg Angle for Your Nails: DIY Eggs and Honey Nail Strengthening Mask Recipe
Cauliflower is the kind of vegetable that's packed with Vitamin C while also being a good source of fiber, folate, choline, the antioxidant sulforaphane and Vitamin B6 and Vitamin K. Vitamin C is really good for your nails because it helps to increase the levels of collagen in your body. That's good to know because collagen works to make your nails less brittle. Sulforaphane is beneficial because it's able to reduce bodily inflammation. Vitamin K is cool because, as we age, our body needs more of this nutrient added to our system; in part, to strengthen our nails and to keep them from breaking as easily.
Another Cauliflower Angle for Your Nails: Cauliflower (Colored) Nail Polish by Palate Polish. It's vegan and cruelty-free.
3. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are considered to be a "perfect" food; a superfood, if you will. It's a starchy veggie that also has plenty of protein and fiber. The amount of Vitamin A that sweet potatoes contain is totally off of the charts (almost 770 percent of the daily value that you need). It's also high in Vitamin C, manganese, Vitamin B6 and potassium, and it contains an impressive amount of pantothenic acid, copper and niacin too.
Your nails need copper because it helps to slow down their aging process. Your nails need manganese because it plays a significant role in the synthesis and production of connective tissue that your nails require.
So, definitely try and eat a baked sweet potato or treat yourself to some sweet potato fries a few times a month (at least).
Another Sweet Potato Angle for Your Nails: Sweet Potato Face Mask (that you can also apply to your hands)
You're gonna be hard-pressed to read an article about foods that are good for you and not see salmon somewhere on the list. As far as your nails go, salmon's omega-3 fatty acids help to deeply moisturize your nails from the inside out, the vitamin B-complex in it contains amino acids that will help to build protein and keep your nails from splitting and peeling, and zinc helps to alleviate white spots on nails (which is typically a sign of having a zinc deficiency).
Another Salmon Angle for Your Nails: Rub some fish oil on your nails a couple of times a week to keep your cuticles moisturized and your nails nice and shiny.
Blueberries are a low-calorie fruit snack that definitely will give your system plenty of antioxidants, vitamins C and K, fiber and manganese. Since they are made up of 85 percent water, blueberries can help to keep your nails hydrated as well. Not only that but did you know that if you don't have enough manganese in your system, that can lead to splitting and/or breaking nails? This means that every time you sprinkle some blueberries onto your cereal or you drink a homemade blueberry smoothie, you will be helping your nails to get stronger by the day!
Another Blueberries Angle for Your Nails: Blueberry Lemon Scrub. Exfoliating your hands (including your nails) can help to remove dead skin cells, even their skin tone and increase blood circulation which will ultimately encourage your nails to grow faster.
6. Yellow Peppers
Although red peppers actually have the most nutritional value, don't sleep on what yellow bell peppers can do for you too. They've also got a good amount of protein in them as well as Vitamin C (569 percent of the daily value), potassium, copper, phosphorus, calcium, Vitamin B6 and folate. All of this works together to reduce free radicals, detoxify your system and slow down the signs of aging.
Also, since phosphorus helps to repair, maintain and even grow tissues and cells while calcium helps to heal damaged tissue, your nails will thank you, every time you dig into a yellow pepper, for sure.
Another Yellow Pepper Angle for Your Nails: Morning Tang Juice Recipe
Fiber helps to detoxify. Folate assists with cell growth and division. Vitamin E works to keep free radicals at bay. Vitamin C reduces oxidative stress and strengthens one's immunity. These are all nutrients that kiwi has in them. As a bonus, when you eat them along with iron-rich foods (such as red meat, dark leafy greens, beans and dried fruit), kiwi can help your system to absorb iron more quickly. And all of this is essential if you want to have long nails that won't break.
Another Kiwi Angle for Your Nails: Kiwi Nail Art Tutorial
Oats are another food that is really good for you. It's a gluten-free whole grain that has a lot of manganese (191 percent of your daily value) as well as phosphorus, protein, fiber, magnesium, copper, zinc, folate and vitamins B1 and B5. Something else that oats contain is the plant compound polyphenols. When it comes to your nails, this is a good thing because that is a compound that is able to protect your nail beds' cells while also keeping your nails hydrated and preventing them from splitting. Just one more food that will help your nails to thrive, from the inside out, in every way!
Another Oats Angle for Your Nails: Check out Allure's feature "Oat Milk Nails Are the Nail-Art Equivalent to No-Makeup Makeup".
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