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.
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.
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 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 fatty acid is 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.
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.
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.
Soooo I might be a weirdo, 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 a few minutes. I almost wish it was a bit drier. If you guys know of any good texturizing/mattifying hair products, help a sister out??? (pretty please?)