Nails are dead cells, made from a hardened protein which is known as keratin. This protein is also present in hair and skin. Nails grow from a matrix. As new growth in the matrix happens, the older cells of nails will be pushed out to form new nails. Healthy shiny nails which are strong and flexible are a sign of a healthy person. One of the major cause of weak nails is a poor diet. If you wish to improve your nail quality and overall health then it is important to follow a healthy and balanced diet.
Healthy Diet for Weak Nails
From the mentioned below foods one of the most important nutrient for healthy nail maintenance is zinc. Vitamin C, omega-3, and protein are also important. Iron and calcium are also necessary in small amounts. Vitamin E is great for overall skin care, while vitamin A and B are required in some amount too.
Zinc: Mostly brittle and weak nails are caused due to the deficiency of zinc. So, it is important to eat a lot of zinc rich foods. Women who were pregnant or are on the pill mostly have zinc deficiency. You can find zinc in many food sources like meat, fish, eggs, shellfish, pumpkin, whole grain cereals, etc.
Iron: Iron deficiency leads to anemia, and one of the symptoms of anemia is brittle nails. Hence, get yourself checked if you have iron deficiency. Some of the top iron rich foods you can eat to diminish iron deficiency are liver, red meat, egg yolks, dark leafy green veggies, turkey, beans, artichokes, and dried fruits like raisins and prunes.
Vitamin C: Vitamin C is an important antioxidant and helps in keeping clear skin. But, it also plays one very important role. It helps in proper absorption of iron in the body. So, to promote iron absorption eat vitamin C rich foods like lemons, oranges, green tea, berries, etc.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: To maintain overall good health, especially good heart health and skin health consume good fats and stay away from bad fats. One of the best fats are omega-3 fatty acids. You can get them from various fish like herring, sardines, salmon, tuna, and mackerel.
Protein: As already mentioned above, nails are composed of a hardened protein called keratin, one needs to up their protein intake too. So, eat yogurt, chicken, turkey, eggs, soybean, and other rich sources of protein.
Vitamin E: Vitamin E is great for maintaining good circulation in the body. It also helps to keep the skin healthy, supple, and moisturized. For stronger nails eat vitamin E rich foods like almonds, avocados, hazelnuts, corn, and olive oil.
Calcium: Nails contain a little amount of calcium too, so to prevent weak nails eat calcium-rich foods like milk, eggs, yogurt, cheese, almonds, Brazil nuts, broccoli, etc.
Vitamin A & B: Little amount of vitamin A and B is also necessary to maintain healthy nails. These vitamins help to improve blood circulation and are powerful antioxidants. So, get these vitamins from food sources like green leafy vegetables, green tea, nuts, beans, etc.
Simple Home Remedies to Strengthen Weak Nails
Apart from including the above nutrients in your diet, you can also apply certain household items on your nails to help them get stronger faster.
- Apply a nutrient rich oil to the nails twice a day. This will give them a great luster too. Apply a bit of olive oil or almond oil to them everyday.
- If you have hardened nails, then keep scrubbing them twice a week at home. For this use powdered rice, castor oil, and honey mix.
- You can also apply lemon and honey mix directly on the fingers. Apply and massage the mix for two minutes, and then wash it off after half an hour.