Strong nails look good and caring for them is easy. Brittle, cracked or discolored nails can be an indication of a lack of nutrients or even health problems, like hypothyroidism. You need to take care of your body if you want it to show in your nails. Though claims have been made that gelatin promotes nail growth, it is not true according to the Mayo Clinic. Eating a well-balanced diet filled with protein, vitamins and minerals keeps your body healthy and can help you in achieving stronger nails.
The high calcium content in milk strengthens nails and makes them grow faster. Try to drink at least one glass of milk daily. It has been found that lack of calcium in the body can cause the nails to be brittle and dry. To allow the body to fully absorb the calcium, have your milk with foods rich in vitamin D such as eggs, mushrooms and others.
Foods with B Vitamins
A lack of B vitamins, specifically biotin and vitamin B-12, can make your nails dry and brittle. Consume carrots, tomatoes, leafy green lettuce, liver, peanut butter, nuts, peas, oatmeal and beans as sources of biotin. Vitamin B12 can be found in meat, eggs and dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheese.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
To get shinier hair, introduce more omega-3s into your diet, which “help support scalp health and may give your locks extra luster and shine,” according to DiBona. The three active ingredients—alpha-linolenic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid—are all essential fatty acids and “are important components of the stratum corneum, which is the outermost layer of the epidermis that contains keratin and has water-holding capabilities.
Protein intake is important for many reasons, notably when it comes to hair and nails. Both “are made of structural proteins known as keratin, so adequate dietary protein is important for providing the building blocks for growing strong hair and nails,” explains DiBona. Lean meats are the easiest way to pack protein into your diet—just make sure to steer clear of any that are overly fatty.
Consuming carrots regularly can improve the appearance of your nails, as well as skin and hair. The high vitamin A content in carrots prevents nails from becoming dull and dry.
If you are a vegetarian, or just want to avoid too much red meat, soybeans and other legumes are a good source of protein for a well-balanced diet. Soybeans also contain biotin. In addition to soybeans, lentils are a good choice for vitamin B6 and sulphur amino acids.