Top 8 Vitamins and Nutrients for Healthy, Strong Nails
Your fingernails can say a lot about your health. Nail beds constantly give rise to nail tissue, and adequate vitamin, mineral and nutrient intakes help support the growth, formation and strength of new nail cells. A change in the appearance, texture or shape of your nails could indicate nutrient deficiencies.
Here are the 8 most important vitamins and nutrients to keep your nails healthy.
Biotin – Biotin is most concentrated in organ meats such as liver, but can also be found in egg yolk, dairy products, yeast, salmon, avocado, sweet potato, nuts, seeds and even cauliflower.
Other B Vitamins – Both vitamin B12 and folate play a role in red blood cell production and oxygen transportation to nail cells. Inadequacies can result in discoloration of your nails.
Iron – Iron is needed to provide your cells with adequate oxygen, which, in turn, is necessary for healthy nails. If you have an iron deficiency, the shape and appearance of your nails can be affected.
Magnesium – Vertical ridges in your nails may be a sign of a magnesium deficiency. Whole grains, specifically whole wheat, are a rich source of magnesium. Dark green leafy vegetables, as well as quinoa, almonds, cashews, peanuts, edamame and black beans, are good sources, too.
Protein – Nails are primarily made of a fibrous structural protein called keratin. This is what gives nails their strength and resilience. It also protects your nails from damage or stress. Protein can be found in animal foods like meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy, as well as plant foods, such as soy, legumes, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds and whole grains.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Omega-3 fatty acids can help lubricate and moisturize your nails, giving them a shiny appearance. Fatty fish like salmon, trout, mackerel, tuna and sardines top the charts with omega-3s, but they can also be found in walnuts, soy, eggs, chia seeds, flaxseeds and fish and flaxseed oil.
Vitamin C -Vitamin C is essential for the production of collagen, a protein that gives shape, strength and integrity to many tissues and is the building block of fingernails, hair and teeth. While citrus fruits, such as oranges, strawberries and kiwi are thought to be the best sources of vitamin C, bell peppers, green vegetables and tomatoes are very high in this nutrient as well.
Zinc – Zinc is required for many reactions in your body, including the growth and division of cells. Nails are made up of a type of cell that grows and divides rapidly. Because of this fast production, a steady supply of zinc is needed to promote the healthy growth of nails. Animal proteins like beef, poultry, fish and eggs are rich sources of zinc. However, soy, chickpeas, black beans, nuts (such as almonds and cashews) and seeds also contain it.
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