Do you dream of having pink, shiny, and strong nails? Unfortunately, everyday activities such as handwashing and exposure to soaps and water can take a toll on your nails, leaving them brittle, cracked, and prone to breaking. But fret not, because the solution might lie in the nutrients you consume. Yes, deficiencies in the body can also affect nail health, but consuming certain vitamins and minerals can help keep your nails in tip-top shape.
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Your nails are not just a pretty accessory; they can reveal a lot about your overall health. Nutrient deficiencies can manifest in your nails, so it’s crucial to eat a well-balanced diet to ensure their health. While there isn’t a specific nail vitamin, vitamins and minerals play various roles in the body. Simply put, the nutrients that benefit your overall health also benefit your nails.
To shed light on this topic, we spoke to Neha Pathania, Chief Dietitian at Paras Hospitals, Gurugram. She shared insights into the nutrients that can contribute to nail growth and health.
The 5 Essential Nutrients for Nails
Zinc is a mineral found in a variety of foods. It plays a vital role in many bodily functions, including cell division and development. Nails are composed of rapidly dividing and developing cells. Therefore, a steady supply of zinc is essential for good nail growth. Insufficient zinc intake can lead to the deterioration of the nail plate, resulting in white spots on your nails. The recommended dietary allowances (RDAs) for zinc are 11 mg per day for males and 8 mg per day for females.
2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids can lubricate and moisturize your nails, giving them a beautiful shine. Additionally, these fatty acids help reduce inflammation in the nail bed, nourishing the cells that produce the nail plate. Without enough omega-3 fatty acids, nails can become dry and brittle.
Biotin, also known as vitamin B-7, is a water-soluble vitamin that your body requires. It aids in converting food into fuel for the body. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), a deficiency of biotin can lead to issues with the nervous system, skin, hair, and nails. Consuming biotin regularly can help keep your nails looking their best.
Keratin, a fibrous structural protein, is the main component of your nails. This protein provides strength and resilience to your nails, protecting them from damage. Consuming sufficient protein in your diet stimulates keratin production, leading to strong nails. Conversely, a diet low in protein can result in weaker nails.
Iron is a crucial mineral found at the center of red blood cells, which transport oxygen to every cell in your body, including your nails. Insufficient iron levels can deprive your cells of oxygen, affecting nail health. An iron deficiency or anemia can cause vertical ridges or concave nails. Ensuring an adequate intake of iron is vital for maintaining healthy nails.
Remember, your nails reflect your overall health, and paying attention to your nutrient intake can make a significant difference. Include these essential vitamins and minerals in your diet to promote strong, shiny, and beautiful nails.