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Often, when discussions of healthy skin, hair and nails come up they are frequently centered around products that people use. These days, it seems that there is a product for everything. Whether you want to strengthen your nails or add volume to your hair or remove years from your skin, there is a product that promises to solve all your problems. However, we often forget that healthy hair and nails begin from within rather than from an external source. The best way to have a healthy body is to start with healthy nutrition. The benefits of a healthy diet are almost endless and extend far beyond healthy hair and nails. A decreased risk of disease, more energy, better sleep and an improved immune system are all ways that your body benefits from proper nutrition. As an added bonus, you’ll likely find that your hair and nails are stronger than ever, with no additional products needed. If you want to improve your health as well as your hair and nails, we have a list of certain ingredients you should aim to have in your diet as well as the foods they can be found in.  

A lack of biotin is often found in people who have thinning hair and weak nails. Thankfully, there are plenty of readily accessible foods that are loaded with biotin. Head to your local supermarket and pick up some bananas, beans, cauliflower, eggs, peanuts and salmon. Even the pickiest eater is sure to find something on this list that is tasty and effective. 

Ingesting a sufficient amount of omega-3 fatty acids is another essential factor in healthy hair and nails. People are usually surprised to find that a lack of omega-3s is a main cause of dry scalp and dandruff. There are three fatty acids that are crucial to your epidermis, the outer layer of your skin, and contain keratin which is necessary for your hair and nails. Consuming enough omega-3s will also give your hair extra shine. Foods that are high in omega-3s include: eggs, salmon, spinach, tuna and walnuts. 

Protein, protein, protein. It’s probably the one nutrient that most people are familiar with. What you might not know is that proteins are the building blocks of strong hair and nails. The good news is that most people find if very easy to get enough protein in their daily diets without thinking about it too much. If you find yourself protein deficient the best sources are lean meats, low-fat dairy products, whole grains and seafood. Protein is another essential part of keratin, which as we now know, is one of the main ingredients in strong hair and nails. 

Don’t forget to consume an adequate amount of Vitamin A and Zinc as well. Healthy scalps produce an adequate amount of sebum, which is the substance that helps condition your skin. To produce enough sebum you have to eat enough Vitamin A, found in foods such as broccoli, cheese, oatmeal and sweet potatoes. Zinc is important in both your immune system, the formation of connective tissues and an important component of enzymes which regulate the proteins that become the building blocks of your hair and nails. Zinc is abundant in green beans, lobster and cashews.  

So next time you go to the grocery story try to incorporate some of these fresh, whole foods into your basket. Also, as you read the nutrition labels of pre-packaged foods you buy, look beyond just the calories, fat, fiber and carbs. Take a closer look at the vitamins and minerals that are listed toward the bottom of the label and see if they contain any of the essential ingredients needed for strong hair and nails.

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