Natural Ways to Get Strong Hair and Nails
Trends and fads come and go but classic styles are timeless. One of the most classic looks is strong hair and nails. Hair and nails are made from the same type of cells that are organized in a different way. Both use the same nutrients to grow. While these nutrients are generally easy to attain in a regular diet, many people still aren’t getting the right nutrition to keep their hair and nails strong and healthy. Dry, brittle hair and nails are some of the indications of illness, so if you have these symptoms, here are the nutrients you need to get in your body ASAP.
Keratin, a form of protein, is the primary component of hair and nails. It comes from skin cells called keratinocytes and is tough, which is why nails and hair feel stronger and harder than the rest of your body. However, to produce keratin, your body needs amino acids, which you can only get by eating protein.
Protein comes in many forms including lean meats, like chicken, sirloin, and round cuts, dairy, nuts, soybeans, and protein powder.
Zinc is a mineral that is vital for healthy cell division. The parts of your body that rapidly reproduce (cells, hair, nails) need a constant flow of zinc in order to generate strong cells. A zinc deficiency manifests itself in many ways, but the most notable are slow-growing, splitting, discolored nails.
The best food source for zinc is seafood. Oysters contain the highest levels of zinc. If you can’t stomach the thought of slurping these slimy delicacies you can relax, zinc can be found in some red meats and beans.
Like the commercial says, “Milk, it does a body good.” Calcium is vital to creating strong bones, teeth, nails, and hair. It is one of the body’s most sought-after minerals, so when your system lacks sufficient calcium, you can see it in the health of your hair and nails.
Most of us are familiar with standard calcium-rich foods as we are taught from an early age that dairy products, white beans, leafy greens, nuts, etc. help your bones grow strong. What many people don’t know is that vitamin D and other nutrients necessary for calcium absorption are less well-known so consider supplementing with a can of tuna to increase your vitamin D levels.
Prolonged periods of stress definitely affects your nails and hair. Fortunately, magnesium is the best all-natural anti-stress mineral. It prevents hair loss and unsightly ridges on nails which can be caused by poor diet and untenable stress.
Magnesium isn’t a well-known mineral, but it is present in plenty of nutritious food as noted on the chart below. Pumpkin seeds are inarguably the most magnesium-rich food, followed closely by dark chocolate. Now you have the perfect excuse for snacking on a square of chocolate.
Biotin (also known as vitamin H) is highly regarded as a hair-saver. Doctors prescribe biotin to sufferers of alopecia, an autoimmune disorder marked by hair loss. In fact, the H in vitamin H stands for haar and haut, or hair and nails in German.
Biotin is found in bananas, which have the highest concentration. Legumes (including peanuts and lentils) also are rich in biotin.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
The fatty acids in omega-3s keep your keratinocytes healthy so you can grow long, strong hair and nails. Salmon, tuna, mackerel, and even sardines are full of omega-3s. If fish isn’t your thing, you can also enjoy walnuts, flaxseed, and even eggs to get a sufficient daily dose.