Who said frequent manicures are the only way to maintain good-looking nails? If they’re healthy on the inside, it’ll show on the outside. Although the strength of nails is largely determined by one’s genes, a healthy and balanced diet can do wonders to improve quality, and give your nails that extra lustre, shine and strength you desire. Here’s expert advice on what you should dig into:
1 Organ meat like liver
Liver from non-vegetarian sources is rich in iron. “Iron deficiency is the most common cause of brittle nails, and is particularly common among vegetarians, as vegetarian sources of iron (non-haem iron) are not as good as haem iron present in non-vegetarian sources,” says dermatologist Sirisha Singh. For people who are vegetarian, she suggests a diet containing spinach, lentils, beans and jaggery, as they can give a good amount of iron.
Fish is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids and also provides a healthy dose of protein and sulphur. Salmon, mackerel, cod and sardine have high quantities of Omega 3 fatty acids. “The Omega 3 fatty acids help by moisturising the nail bed and increasing the suppleness of thin and brittle nails,” says Singh. Phosphorous and sulphur help in thickening of the nail, thereby strengthening them.
3 Milk and dairy products like yoghurt and cheese
Nails primarily comprises keratin, which is a protein. Milk and dairy products are a good source of calcium, biotin and proteins, which help in strengthening this keratin matrix. Biotin and calcium help in strengthening the nail plate and make it less prone to cracking.
4 Egg white
A rich source of protein, it helps in making the keratin of nails thicker and stronger. The biotin content is also high in egg whites. But for them to aid in making your nails healthy and stronger, eggs should be cooked. Reason: raw eggs have a binder that binds to biotin and makes it non-absorbable.
5 Pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and oats
“Zinc is a micro-nutrient which isn’t easily available in foods. However, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and oats are rich sources,” says Singh. Zinc deficiency is common, and therefore, can lead to brittle, fragile nails and also white spots on the nails. Eating roasted pumpkin seeds can provide a healthy dose of this micro-nutrients.