Eat Your Way to Healthy Hair and Strong Nails

diet-for-healthy-nails

Eat Your Way to Healthy Hair and Strong Nails

Okay, so you guys probably know that I’m kinda, sorta, obsessed with my nails. Right? Right. 

You’ll rarely catch me NOT wearing nail polish and I pretty much never rock short nails. Unless, that is, I accidentally break one- then they all gotta go. I also always get compliments on my nails and last time I got a manicure (I usually prefer to do them myself) my manicurist couldn’t believe my nails were “mine” until she removed my nail polish.

I always get asked what nail supplements or treatments I use and here’s the secret: I don’t use any. To me, it’s all about a healthy, well-balanced diet- as long as my diet is on point my hair stays healthy and my nails stay strong.

BIOTIN

If you’ve ever read any magazine or blog article about healthy and strong nails, chances are you’ve heard of biotin. Nails are made of protein keratin- when that protein is dry and dehydrated, your nails break. Biotin helps to strengthen your nails which in turn prevents them from breaking. I’ve tried many different Biotin supplements and a lot of them broke me out (which is a common problem, I noticed) and this one is the only one that worked for me (it also made my hair grow like crazy). If supplements are not your thing, you can also get your biotin from foods like oatmeal, walnuts, almonds and carrots. When it came to growing out my hair I’ve had better results with my $5-a-bottle biotin supplements than my sister had with a  certain $30-a-bottle hair supplement advertised all over Instagram.

green-smoothie-recipe-lifestyle-blog

ZINC

Zinc is another mineral that’s vital for the health of your hair, nails and skin. Zinc deficiency can cause hair loss and if you do a lot of dieting, eat a low-calorie diet or tend skip to skip meals at times (which, btw, you shouldn’t, mmmkay?) and noticed your hair thinning, this might be something to look into. Pepitas (pumpkin seeds), spinach and cashews are all good sources of zinc. I love having my spinach in pasta or smoothies– if you’re not a fan but still want to get all the benefits this totally works because you barely get that “spinach” flavor.

OMEGA 3

Omega 3 fatty acid are amazing not only for your hair, but also amazing for your skin. I’m also convinced that it was Omega3 supplements that cured my cystic acne; they also help with my PMS which can get BAD sometimes. Another reason why I love Omega 3? It improves my mood (there’s even a study proving that Omega3 is as effective in treating depression as Prozac- whut?). I started taking Omega3 supplements many years ago when my hair started falling out like crazy (I actually thought I was going bald guys, no joke) and it’s the only thing that helped me. For many, many years I used these Omega3 supplements from Dr. Periccone which are amazing. Since going plant-based, I switched to a vegan alternative. Other than supplements, I also love Flax, Chia and Hemp Seeds– all of which are great sources of Omega3.

PROTEIN

Mmmkay so since nails are made out of protein, it only makes sense to mention protein here as well. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone ask me “but, if you don’t eat meat, what do you do for protein?“- which, seriously can be SO annoying. It’s like, hello? Ever heard of lentils, beans, spinach, peanut butter, tofu, quinoa or plant milk and so on? My favorite sources of protein are hemp milk, black beans, and natural peanut butter.

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Now this might seem like A LOT of food to eat just for healthy hair and strong nails but it actually isn’t and you can easily incorporate a lot of these into your diet. When you keep all of these in your diet, you don’t need to eat an entire box of spinach a day- just work these into your diet. If I’m not having a green smoothie for breakfast (where I get my spinach or kale) I usually have oats with hemp or almond milk and I top them off with some fresh fruit like blueberries (which contain proanthocyanidins that aids hair growth, they are also amaaaazing for your skin, full of antioxidants). Flax, and hemp seeds also go into my smoothies, but I also like topping my peanut butter and banana sandwiches with them. Flax and chia seeds also work nicely in salads. I have a veggie-stuffed potato for dinner at least 4 times a week and I always make sure to stuff it with some beans, kale and carrots.

Brittle nails and hair loss can be a sign of zinc, protein or biotin deficiency so it’s always best to first talk to your doctor if you’re considering introducing any supplements to your diet or suspect a vitamin deficiency. While I can’t live without my Omega3 supplements, I love getting the rest of my nutrients through food because… well..  it’s a delicious way of getting all your vitamins.

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Soooo I might be a wierdo, but sometimes I feel like my hair is almost TOO healthy. It grows like crazy and is so soft and silky smooth that it won’t hold a curl for longer than few minutes. I almost wish it was a bit more dry. If you guys know of any good texturizing/mattifying hair products, help a sister out??? (pretty please?)

  • Great info paula! This is actually a great excuse to help me stay eating healthy so added bonus! Happy Thursday gorgeous lady! XO-Kim

  • The Sunday Mode

    I think I’ve always been quite lucky that no matter what I eat my hair has always grown really quickly and my nails seem to stay strong, although I definitely think that incorporating all of these things into meals helps the process. The only time my nails have been truly terrible is when I used to wear nail polish back to back, with no breaks and no base coat! Ugh, my nails were awful back then.

    http://www.thesundaymode.com

  • Deborah Holmes

    This is such great information! I’ve been hesitant to try biotin because I’ve heard that it can cause breakouts and I already have acne-prone skin. But I love the idea of healthy hair, skin and nails since those are the areas that I tend to take care of the best. :)

    Thanks for sharing!

    • I have acne-prone skin, too and biotin was a hit and miss until I found a supplement that works for me. If you get enough nutrients from food, then there might not be any need for additional supplements.

  • Your nails are gorgeous! I always add flaxseed to my breakfast, so it’s good to know it’s helping with my nails too :) x

    Everything But The Kitchen

  • I get the ‘watch you don’t become anemic’ and ‘where do you get your protein from’ comments when I mentioned I don’t eat meat!

    My favourite smoothie to make is banana,spinach, flaxseed, chia seed (sometimes raw cocoa nibs) and coconut milk!
    Great post :)

  • I couldn’t live without spinach. Just nope. Spinach and garlic, to be precise; my bf laughs that soon I’d be having them in my teas too… ;)

  • Hair too healthy?! Now that is a problem I wish I had haha! And you know I always admire your nails so thank you for sharing your top healthy tips for achieving stronger nails. I really need to get back on track with a balanced diet, been eating so bad lately x

    Beauty with charm

  • Elizabeth Hisle

    Yes, food is (almost) always the remedy for skin, hair, and nail ailments! I try to incorporate all of the things you mentioned and have for…. well, for as long as I can remember. People don’t believe my nails are real either, ha.

    http://aroseisinbloom.blogspot.com/

  • Ah I wish I’d tell that my hair is too healthy… It is the opposite now and I don’t know why but I’m losing so much hair lately. How effective is the omega 3 supplements? Can you see the effects immediately, like within a month or it is a long process? Well tbh at first I thought your nails were fake, they just look so healthy and perfectly shaped. I need to start taking supplements and eat healthy, instead of junk food!

    Ela BellaWorld

  • I absolutely adore this post as it has been a joy to read! Your imagery truly makes me want to dive into it. Stunning! Such useful tips as I always suffer with weak nails and am yet to find a solution. I have terrible iron and Vit D issues which is an ongoing health issue but I strive to get my vits in through eating well but maybe I should try the supplements you said worked for you?! I actually made your green smoothie/juice recipe today and loved so thank you – always on the hunt for more recipe ideas in general! I have just gone vegetarian too, well pescatarian as still eating fish but I have felt so much better from cutting out dairy and meat. Hence I am loving your posts about diet and health and all else of course. Kelly xx

    http://www.KELLiLASH.com

    • Thank you so much Kelly, you’re so sweet! Cutting out dairy specifically made a big difference in my overall wellbeing (I was never much of a meat eater). I think that my skin particularly loves me being dairy-free haha ;)

  • CutieandherBeauty

    This is exactly what I needed to read,omg.
    My hair has been not in the best condition and it’s been weighing on my confidence but I will definitely give this a try now!Thank you so much for this.

    http://www.cutieandherbeauty.com

  • The Gossip Darling

    OMG! What an awesome post! I swear by Biotin! Works the best! :)

    Mel | http://www.thegossipdarling.com

  • Beauty definitely comes from within. I try to get all the vitamins and minerals I need through food and supplements.

  • Thank you, will have to try that one!! I’d definitely try a Biotin supplement first, since it’s more affordable but if you can splurge on supplements on regular basis, then it doesn’t hurt to try the Sugar Bear Gummies. You might have to take them for a few weeks before seeing any results.

    • Hannah

      Thank you xx