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Healthy nails should have a pink hue, no marks, and be strong and of even texture. A change in the tone and texture could indicate deficiency in certain vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Your nails can also indicate potential health problems.
When your nails are healthy and strong, the appearance of them will be noticeable. Gorgeous claws and tootsies begin with a healthy diet. We have listed some tip tips for you to follow that will have your nails looking healthy in no time.

No. 1 - Protein Problems

If you don’t get enough protein in your diet, your nails will be thin and brittle and the rate of nail growth will slow down greatly. You see, nails are made from a fibrous protein called keratin and inadequate intake of protein slows the production of this substance. It is easy to tell if you are not eating enough protein because your nails will not have ‘half moons’ near the cuticle area.

The good news is, protein is abundant in a wide range of foods. If you are a vegan or vegetarian, you can still find protein to help make your nails strong and healthy. The typical Western diet typically allows sufficient protein but sometimes people who are dieting or too busy to eat healthy develop nail growth issues from this.

Most meatsare good sources of protein. These include beef, poultry, fish, venison, lamb, and pork. You can eat beans and lentils, too, to increase your protein consumption. Nuts and peanut butter are two other sources for protein.

No. 2 - Vitamin C Challenges

A deficiency of the C vitamin contributes to ingrown toenails and developing hang nails. Vitamin C is a nutrient that is necessary to increase iron absorption from the foods you eat. Remember to get the enhanced benefits of this vitamin, combine foods that are rich in iron with those that are loaded in Vitamin C.

Good sources of Vitamin C include oranges, cherries, kiwi, guanas, spinach, black currant berries, strawberries, and red bell peppers. It is important to note that anyone who suspects they have a deficiency in the C Vitamin should see a doctor immediately.

No. 3 - Vitamin E Essentials

Another vitamin that enhances nail growth and health is Vitamin E. The E vitamin works along with Vitamin C to promote the circulation of the blood that delivers oxygen to the nail beds. This boosts nail growth and helps strengthen the actual nail materials.

To get more Vitamin E in your diet eat nuts, sunflower seeds, fortified cereals, turnip greens, tomatoes, and avocado.

No. 4 - B Vitamin Boosts

There are many different B vitamins out there and they are all important for nail fitness. The B Vitamin (known as biotin) has been used for years to strengthen horses’ and pigs’ hooves. Hooves are also made of keratin which is the same substance that human nails are made of. To increase nail plate thickness, you should consider taking biotin supplements. Another one of these B vitamins that has been linked to nail health is B12 or Cobalamin. A deficiency in this B vitamin can lead to excessive nail dryness, dark nails, and overly curved nail ends. What’s more, ridges will develop when you have a Vitamin B12 deficiency.

Good dietary sources of B12 include beef, pork, clams, trout, salmon, yogurt, tuna, and milk. If you think you may have a Vitamin B12 deficiency, you should go to a doctor as the condition is pretty serious.

No. 5 - Zinc Zest

Not a lot of media attention is given to the mineral zinc but it is a very important item when it comes to maintaining healthy and strong fingernails and toenails. This mineral is essential for protein synthesis and tissue grown. If you are low in zinc, your nails will have white spots and washboard ridges on them.

There are many foods that are loaded with zinc. These include oysters, red meats, poultry, nuts, legumes, and grains.

No. 6 – Iron Impediments

Chronic iron deficiency will lead to dry, brittle nails and washboard ridges. The shape of the nail becomes odd when you don’t get enough iron in your diet, too. The nail will be flat or upturned and this is the most common nutritional deficiency in teenage girls, young adult women, and menopausal women due to menstruation. Vegans and vegetarians are vulnerable to low iron levels, as well.

To prevent or fix this problem, eat lots of eggs, liver meats, red meats, poultry, salmon, tuna, whole grains, and spinach.

Continue reading after recommendations

  • D’Imperio, K. (2007). Diet tips for healthy nails.
  • Graves, C. (2010). Diet for healthy hair and nails. Livestrong.
  • Photo courtesy of Jason Bachman on Flickr:
  • Photo courtesy of Jason Bachman on Flickr:
  • Photo courtesy of Bertie Meadows on Flickr: Photo courtesy of Tim Samoff on Flickr: