Let’s talk about band-aids... not the fun ones with the cute little patterns, but the ones we apply to our health concerns without even realizing it - and more specifically, today I’m talking about hair and nails. 💁🏼♀️💅🏼
Hands up if you’ve ever purchased a product to help grow your nails or your hair? To help strengthen your hair or nails? To make your hair shiny? To make your nails less brittle? If you answered yes to any of these, then you have applied a band-aid to a problem that can most likely be narrowed down to a nutritional deficiency.
What you put in your grocery cart is the first step toward maintaining tough hair and nails! These well-groomed body parts are made of a fibrous protein called keratin that—when fed the right ingredients—will naturally grow stronger and healthier over time. So, what plays a role in healthy hair and nails & what should go in your cart? 👇🏻👇🏻
Biotin (vitamin h) - improves splitting or thinning hair, strengthens nails, decreases splitting nails and keeps nails looking great —> bananas, beans, cauliflower, eggs, lentils, peanuts, salmon, almonds
Omega 3 Fatty Acids - promotes shinier hair, helps support scalp health, moisturizes nail beds, increase suppleness of thin, brittle nails. A deficiency here can result in dry scalp or dandruff. —> eggs, flaxseed, flaxseed oil, spinach, tuna, walnuts, salmon
TIP: Spinach is also a great source of iron and vitamin E which are also essential to hair and nails; incorporate daily by adding to smoothies, breakfast (in eggs) or to a salad at lunch or dinner
Protein - essential for growing strong hair and nails. —> lean meats, eggs, nuts, seafood, soybeans, whole grains
TIP: Whole grains (wheat, barley, oats, millet are great sources) are also an essential source of silica; a trace mineral that helps utilize calcium properly and is a predominant mineral in the composition of nails. Soft and brittle nails can indicate a systemic deficiency.
Vitamin A - produces a conditioning substance known as sebum which keeps hair looking and feeling healthy (& also contributes to better eye health and immune system function!) —> apricots, broccoli, cantaloupe, carrots, mangoes, oatmeal, spinach, sweet potatoes with skin on
TIP: Beta Carotene is converted to vitamin A by the body and helps to improve dry hair and skin. Shop for orange produce to find lots of beta-c! For a real vitamin A boost, try an omelette with spinach and canned or fresh salmon.
FUN FACT: Large doses of Vitamin A are often used by dermatologists to treat acne - this requires medical supervision as you do not want to overload your body with vitamin A either!
Zinc - plays an important role in the formation of your connective tissues and is a component of hundreds of enzymes in the body; some of which regulate the body’s ability to make new proteins that will become building blocks of healthy hair and nails. Alopecia, hair drying, thinning and brittleness can all be signs of zinc deficiency. —> cashews, green beans, lean beef, lobster, oysters and soybeans.
Vitamin C - keeps hair long and strong, necessary for growth and development of hair, essential for producing the collagen that keeps nails resilient to breaks —> citrus fruits esp tangerines, strawberries, red peppers (The bright veggies pack 190 percent of the day’s recommended intake of vitamin C and are also loaded with antioxidants that prevent free radicals from damaging and oxidizing our nail cells. Throw some red peppers into a stir-fry, or dip the raw veggie in some hummus for a protein-packed snack!)
FUN FACT: collagen also helps to keep skin firm and tight!
Vitamin D - strong and shiny hair, helps create new hair follicles and can improve hair thickness —> fish, mushrooms
Selenium - plays a role in protection from oxidative damage, creates more hair follicles and is needed for strong, healthy strands —> nuts, beans, mushrooms, fish
Others worth a mention!
Vitamin B6 - bananas, both potatoes, spinach
Vitamin B12 - lean meat, poultry, fish, tangerines
Folic Acid - plenty of fruits and veg esp citrus and tomatoes, whole grains, beans, lentils
Water and foods high in water keeps nails and cuticles hydrated —> watermelon and cucumber
It’s time to stop applying band-aids to everything and actually work on the root (pun totally intended! 😂) of the problem! By putting a little thought into your grocery list, you can do your body a world of good through the power of whole food nutrition! 🌱💕
For more; check out this great article 👇🏻👇🏻