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How diet affects nail health

Do you want long, shiny nails that you can decorate and show off to all your friends? Keep in mind that diet and nutrition play key roles in the way your nails look.

Your diet and your nails
Woman eating an apple

Your nails can indicate whether you are anaemic, eating too much junk food or getting enough calcium in your system.

Dr Oz says, “A healthy, balanced diet can benefit your nails as well as the rest of your body. If you don’t get the nutrients your body needs, your nails might reflect it. Certain nail conditions, such as horizontal ridges across your nails or brittle nails, can result from a deficiency in an important vitamin or mineral.” The acclaimed doctor recommends checking out your local dermatologist if you’re worried and asking them about trying a biotin supplement.

Ways to identify your health needs:

  • Horizontal ridges in the nails can indicate previous illnesses or infections.
  • Eating unhealthy and poor diet could be displayed with vertical ridges.
  • Pale nails are frequently a sign of a lack of iron in your system — including conditions such as anaemia.
  • Nails breaking easily or chipping can mean a lack of calcium.
  • White spots appearing on your nails? It may be time to check your zinc levels.

Solving the problems

So how can we get our diets up to scratch to ensure excellent nail growth? What type of foods and nutrients do we need to stock up on to have long-lasting beautiful nails.

  • Eat foods with calcium and zinc.
  • We all enjoy alcohol and sugary sweets, but try to consume these only in moderate amounts.
  • Eat fewer saturated fats.
  • Increase your intake of vitamins A, B, C, D and E.
  • Try foods like apples, asparagus, brown rice, cucumbers, grapes, nuts, salmon, seeds, soy, tuna and grains, all of which can help to grow strong nails.

Although eating certain foods and taking vitamins will not provide a quick-fix for your nails, it will help contribute to nail health when combined with proper care and maintenance, such as cleaning and moisturising.

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