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".
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.
Featured image by Shutterstock
After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (firstname.lastname@example.org) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
Take Our 2-Minute Wellness Quiz To Up Your Self-Care Game!
Black women are not a monolith. We all are deserving of healing and wholeness despite what we've been through, how much money we have in the bank, or what we look like. Most importantly, we are enough—even when we are not working, earning, or serving.
Welcome to Black Girl Whole, your space to find the wellness routine that aligns with you! This brand-new marketplace by xoNecole is a safe space for Black women to activate their healing, find the inspiration to rest, and receive reassurance that we are one small act away from finding our happiness.
Want to discover where you are on your wellness journey? You don't have to look far. In partnership with European Wax Center, we're bringing you a customized wellness quiz to help you up your wellness game. Answer our short series of questions to figure out which type of wellness lover you are, what you need to bring more balance into your life, and then go deeper by shopping products geared towards clearing your mind, healing your body, and soothing your spirit.
Ready to get whole? Take our quiz now!
Ayesha Curry Says It's ‘Been A Journey’ In Becoming Confident Within Herself
Self-confidence is something that many people struggle with in their life, whether it’s due to societal pressures to meet a certain beauty standard or lifestyle or the constant comparison to others.
Despite the causes surrounding the issues with self-confidence, numerous ways exist to improve it. According to Medical News Today, several steps include having compassion for oneself, incorporating some form of self-care into a daily routine, and zeroing in on the positive aspects of one's life.
One person that could relate to a couple of these points is Ayesha Curry. From the outside looking in, Curry has it all, from a successful career as a best-selling author and restaurant owner, and a doting family. The 34-year-old is married to Golden Warriors point guard Steph Curry, and the couple shares three children.
In a recent interview with People magazine, Curry opened up about the road to accepting herself while promoting her new partnership with Square.
The star revealed to the publication that although she may appear to have it all together, her self-confidence had wavered "from time to time" like most people.
Curry said she combatted those feelings by accepting who she was as a person and "letting go" of the expectations others had set for her.
"I think confidence is something we all struggle with from time to time. It's definitely been a journey for me," she said. "A big part of that journey was letting go of other people's expectations and embracing my own uniqueness."
While the mother of three didn't disclose the exact reason behind the lack of self-confidence she experienced, many can assume it could be due to the pressures of maintaining the perfect image of a woman of faith, a mother, having a famous husband, and the attention he gets from the opposite sex, which she once mentioned in the past.
Regardless of the matter, it is excellent to see Curry walking in her truth and inspiring others to do the same.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Feature image by Miikka Skaffari/Getty Images