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Share to Pinterest13 Foods For Strong, Healthy Nails
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13 Foods For Strong, Healthy Nails

By Staff Writer
Share to Pinterest13 Foods For Strong, Healthy Nails

What we eat affects a lot more than our gut health and our weird; choosing the right nutrient-rich foods can make a big difference in the health of your nails too! Nails are primarily made of the protein keratin, and if you don't have the right nutrients, they can start looking a bit worse for wear, growing brittle or sprouting hangnails more often than usual.

Thankfully, many foods support strong, healthy nails and can significantly affect how this front-and-center feature grows and appears.



Share to PinterestTop view of fresh blueberries in bowl
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Eating blueberries means getting a nice dose of healthy antioxidants, which protect your cells from free radical damage. Free radicals can cause an increase in stress hormones and inflammation, which can spell trouble for your nails and general health.

Plus, vitamins C and D are also found in abundance within them. Toss some blueberries into some yogurt or a smoothie, or eat them plain, for a nail-strengthening boost.



Share to PinterestCloseup of brown fresh almonds seed in wooden spoon on wooden table.
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Almonds are good for more than just packing a protein-filled punch. They're also good for your nails, and all it takes is a small handful a day. As you snack, you'll be nourishing your body with magnesium, protein, vitamin E, and zinc, all of which contribute to nail development. Making these tree nuts a go-to snack can help your nails look and feel great.


Dark green vegetables

Share to PinterestVegan Gluten-Free Creamy Spinach Pasta
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Dark leafy greens are nutritional powerhouses, especially when you're looking for some extra strength in your nails. Many are loaded with iron, calcium, and various antioxidants, all of which can help keep your nails in optimal health. Start incorporating spinach, collard greens, kale, and other dark green veggies into your daily diet, and your nails will start growing healthier than ever.


Pumpkin seeds

Share to PinterestPumpkin seeds on a spoon
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Pumpkin seeds provide a quick boost of zinc to help your body create the proteins necessary for your nails. Plus, they're loaded with protein, iron, magnesium, potassium, and omega-3 fatty acids. Roasting up some pumpkin seeds may be the solution if you notice white spots or lines developing along your nails or if they've grown brittle.



Share to PinterestRolled oats in a bowl
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When your nails are looking a little more brittle than usual, or you've been getting more hangnails than usual, integrating oats into your diet can help. They are a natural source of biotin, as well as zinc and silicon. The latter boosts the production of collagen, which nails depend on to grow. Toss together some oatmeal with berries and maple syrup, or prep overnight oats for an easy fix.



Share to PinterestBowl of fresh raw chicken eggs on wooden background, top view.
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Eggs are one of the healthiest foods, and they can really boost your nail health. They're one of the few sources of vitamin D, which can help build strong nails and bones. Their yolks are also loaded with healthy fats that can lock in moisture. The B vitamin biotin can also contribute to the hardness, firmness, and thickness of your nails.



Share to PinterestGrilled and Roast chicken breast with seasoning
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Your nails may not be made of muscle, but they still rely on protein to grow. Chicken is a great source of lean protein and also provides vital collagen and iron. While this might be one of the most basic meat options, this healthy, affordable choice can be prepared in numerous ways for a tasty meal that your nails will thank you for.



Share to PinterestRoasted salmon in iron pan
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If you prefer your protein of the seafood variety, salmon is a great choice. It's loaded with plenty of healthy fats that your nails will use to improve their vitality and shine. Plus, salmon comes with omega-3 fatty acids that are good for overall health. Shoot for a serving of seafood like salmon twice per week.

If you don't eat fish, you can get omega-3s from hemp and chia seeds or Brussels sprouts, though the composition of the fatty acid is a bit different.


Orange and yellow vegetables

Share to PinterestPoke bowl with tuna, salmon, edamame beans, wakame chuka seaweed, corn, carrot
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Orange and yellow veggies get their color from beta-carotene, which can be turned into vitamin A. Vitamin A is particularly important to the production of keratin, which means bulking up on beta-carotene can help you strengthen your nails. Reach for carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, and pumpkin for that extra boost.


Bone broth

Share to PinterestBone broth in a cooking pan
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Bone broth is made by simmering bones and connective tissues in water for an extended period of time, which extracts the collagen, as well as other nutrients and amino acids. If you've got a leftover chicken or turkey carcass after a nice dinner, try turning it into bone broth. The best bone broths turn gelatinous in the fridge when chilled.

The gelatin and collagen are great for your nails and hair, and the broth tastes great too.



Share to PinterestQuinoa
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If you've never had quinoa before, now's a great time to start. This tiny grain packs a major dietary punch and encourages faster, healthier nail growth thanks to its plentiful nutrients. It's rich in protein, which can be especially important for vegetarians, and it's loaded with calcium, magnesium, iron, and so many other important vitamins and minerals that keep nails looking their best.



Share to PinterestStrawberry
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Adding strawberries to your regular daily diet can help create more resilient nails and takes barely any effort. Like blueberries, strawberries are a fantastic source of antioxidants and can be used in similar dishes or eaten on their own. Strawberries are also high in vitamin C, which your body uses to produce collagen for nail growth.


Beans and legumes

Share to PinterestBean salad
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Your nails rely on protein to grow healthy and strong, and beans and legumes are an excellent plant-based source, plus they're amazingly versatile. They're loaded with biotin, which will lead to longer, thicker nails. Beyond this, they're high in protein and essential B vitamins.

If you're looking for a nail-friendly Meatless Monday meal, a Mexican or Indian-inspired bean dish is a great choice.


Healthy diets make healthy nails

Share to PinterestVarious fruits and vegetables with vitamin c on wood
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Your nails need all sorts of vitamins and minerals to look their best as they grow. Choosing foods that are rich in B vitamins, calcium, vitamin C, folic acid, and fatty acids can help them become long (whatever your preferred length) and luxurious. Just remember, nails grow slowly, so it might take some time after your diet changes for you to really see the effect.


Signs your nails need a diet change

Share to PinterestClose-up of two female hands with natural nails, overgrown cuticle on a blue background. hand and nail care.
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Your nails can reveal a lot about your diet and any nutritional deficiencies you might have.

  • Soft, weak nails imply a deficiency in vitamin B, calcium, iron, and fatty acids.
  • White spots can indicate a zinc deficiency.
  • The absence of a half-moon shape at the base of the nail can imply malnutrition or anemia.
  • Brittle nails can be a sign of a lack of protein and iron.

If you notice these signs, a doctor can perform a blood test to identify any deficiencies, and you can start changing your diet accordingly. Your nails are a visible sign of these deficiencies, but they affect many body systems over time.



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