|Don’t give up your good nutrition habits just because you’ve finished |
growing “big and strong.” Healthy eating habits should be practiced throughout every facet of life, no matter how old you are. Your overall health, energy level, and even your appearance depend on your quality of
nutrition. What you eat affects everything from your hair to your skin to your fingernail health.
Take a look at your fingernails – are they smooth and perfectly rounded with a healthy pink glow? Or do you have to resort to applying fake nails or slathering on nail polish to cover up your unsightly fingernail problems? If you want healthy fingernails, you have to nourish yourself from
Your fingernails and toenails are made up of keratin, a hard, strong protein that’s also found in your hair and skin. Your nails are structurally made up of a number of components. First is the nail plate, which is the visible nail you see when you look at your fingers or toes. Underneath that is
the nail bed, a layer of sensitive skin that is anchored to your nail plate.
On all three sides of the nail are nail folds, which simply refers to the
skin that surrounds and folds into your nails. Within the nail plate are the cuticle and lunula, the first of which is tissue that is connected to the nail fold and the nail plate, and the latter of which is the whitish,
half-moon-shaped area found at the base of the nail.
Your nails grow from under the cuticle in a place called the matrix, averaging just 0.1 millimeters of growth a day – equal to one-tenth of an inch each month.
You might notice that pregnant women who take a prenatal vitamin supplement start to grow very long, healthy nails, which brings us to our main point
Fingernail Nutrition – You Are What You Eat
If you have a vitamin or mineral deficiency, it can show up as dry,
cracked, brittle, and irregularly shaped nails. Here’s some important
information that will help you maintain your fingernail health and
remedy dry, brittle nails:
- A deficiency in B-complex vitamins, especially biotin, will produce ridges along the nail bed.
- A diet lacking in calcium contributes to dry, brittle nails.
- A lack of folic acid and vitamin C can lead to hangnails.
- Insufficient dietary essential oils, like omega-3, cause cracking.
So do you have to take a prenatal vitamin supplement in order to have
healthy nails? Unless you’re currently eating for two, a regular daily multivitamin that supplies these nutrients is all you need to maintain fingernail health. Of course, the best way to nourish your body and experience the euphoria of a truly healthy body is to eat a balanced diet. Not sure what to eat? Follow these guidelines for a nail-nourishing diet:
- B-vitamins are abundant in organ meats, like liver and kidneys, as well as fish, cheese, yogurt, milk, eggs, mushrooms, beans (especially chickpeas), avocadoes, bananas, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
- Calcium-rich foods include all dairy foods, especially yogurt, dark green leafy vegetables, almonds, beans, and sardines.
- You will find vitamin C in citrus fruits, red peppers, broccoli, dark greens, kiwis, and strawberries.
- Folic acid is especially plentiful in orange juice, beans, whole grains, and green vegetables.
- Essential fatty acids are found in fatty fish such as tuna, salmon, trout, mackerel, and herring, as well as flaxseeds, nuts, seeds, and tofu.
- Getting more vitamin B, calcium, vitamin C and folic acid in your diet is easy, but many adults find it difficult to consume enough omega-3.
- If you don’t get enough of these essential fatty acids from your diet, you might want to consider supplementation. Flaxseed oil and evening primrose oil are both great sources of omega-3 fatty acids and can be found in your local health foods store.
- Taking a tablespoon of liquid flaxseed oil is a great way to get the most omega-3 fats into your daily diet – just remember to keep the oil cold by storing it in the refrigerator and never cook with it.
Fingernail Care – Quick Beauty Tips
Eating a healthy, balanced diet is the only way to nourish your nails from the inside-out, but taking care of your nails with these quick beauty tips
is also important:
- Stay away from nail polish removers that contain acetone, which dries nails out.
- Use polish removers only once a month and just do quick touch-ups in between.
- Don’t remove your cuticles at the salon – this can make you vulnerable to infection.
- Wear gloves when washing the dishes. Dish soap and hot water are both enemies of healthy nails – don’t be afraid to slip on some sexy rubber gloves.
- Use hand lotion on your nails, too. Rub it in after you wash your hands or take a shower.
- Fingernails are not tools! Do not use your nails to open cans, scrape dried food off plates or pry anything open.