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Guess What? These Foods Will Literally "Feed" Your Nails

If you want gorgeous nails, stop by the grocery store and pick these foods up.

Beauty & Fashion

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.

1. Eggs

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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

2. Cauliflower

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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

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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)

4. Salmon

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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.

5. Blueberries

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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

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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

7. Kiwi

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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

8. Oats

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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".

Join our xoTribe, an exclusive community dedicated to YOU and your stories and all things xoNecole. Be a part of a growing community of women from all over the world who come together to uplift, inspire, and inform each other on all things related to the glow up.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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