Nutrition for Nails

September 6, 2008 by Kareen Rose  
Published in Beauty

Nutrition that helps create and maintain healthy nails.

The first time I ever had long, strong healthy nails was when I was pregnant with my first child. It didn’t take long to figure out that it was the prenatal vitamins I was taking at the time. When I no longer needed those vitamins I didn’t pursue any nutritional options regarding my nails even though they went back to flimsy, wet paper thin and stubby. I suppose motherhood took precedence at that point in time.

Then came the years of acrylic nails. I learned to do them myself and even talked a girlfriend and my mother into wearing them. They were fun for me and I so enjoyed the perceived elegance they projected. And I liked the tapping noise on my keyboard as well.

The time came when I finally took the acrylics off for good and suffered with short, stubby, flimsy nails once again. Until one day when I noticed they had grown enough to show the white tip over my fingertip. Not only one nail had done this, but all ten. I was amazed. Even more amazing was that they continued to grow and remain stronger than ever before. I did a quick evaluation of what could have caused this phenomenon and realized I had increased my calcium intake a great deal. Was it really all that simple? I decided to find out.

Some of The Whys

Since nails are made up mostly of protein, sufficient consumption of this nutrient is important. If there isn’t enough protein in the diet the calcium won’t be properly utilized. (”All about fingernail problems and alternative treatments“.)

It stands to reason then that calcium is very important to this process as well. A lack of calcium leaves the nails weak, brittle and dry. (”Traci Vandermark“)

The B Vitamins, are necessary for strengthening and promoting normal nail growth and color. While Vitamin C can help prevent hang nails.

Traci Vandermark also points out that sufficient water intake is not only healthy for the body but good for the nails. Water will provide the necessary moisture to keep the nails from becoming dry and brittle. Rubbing lotion onto the nails when applying it to the hands has also been suggested by others as a way to provide moisture.

Necessary Nutriention

Apparently the obvious answer is to get the proper nutrition to show off those lovely fingers decorated with long, elegant fingernails. Ah, therein lies the rub, doesn’t it. What foods does one eat and can one use vitamin supplements instead?

I am a firm believer in vitamin supplements for reasons I will not go into here. That being said, eating a balanced diet is the most effective way to gain a healthy body which can result in healthy nails. So whether you choose to supplement your diet or go by diet alone, follows is a group of suggested nutrients necessary for the healthy nails.

Nutrient Sources: A Partial Listing

As mentioned before, both adequate amounts of calcium and protein are necessary. Protein comes from the obvious sources such as meats, organ meats, beans,eggs as well as tofu, soy milk and peanut butter. Calcium sources come from dairy foods as well as as sardines and salmon with bones, calcium fortified orange juice, dark greens and others. To get enough calcium in my diet I have to use supplements amd have found that calcium citrate is more absorbent and thus more readily utilized by my body.

Robin Plan points out in her blog, “Whole food and more blog” that Vitamin A, B vitamins, Zinc, Vitamin C, Folic Acid and the Essential Fatty Acids are also necessary for healthy nails.

Follows is a partial listing of foods to get these nutrients.

  • Vitamin A-dairy, eggs, liver, trout. carrots and other orange colored foods
  • B Vitamins-organ meats, dairy, eggs, avocados, bananas, whole grains, seeds, nuts
  • Zinc-salmon, brown rice, pumpkin seeds, meats, clams, salmon
  • Folic Acid-orange juice, beans, whole grains, green vegetables
  • Essential Fatty Acids-tuna, salmon, tofu, flaxseed, seeds, nuts,

A simple on line search for any nutrient will provide listings of foods that are rich in your nutrient of choice.

Proper nutrition and a little gentle care apparently are the answers I was looking for. The results of my endeavors? Long, strong, healthy nails that I don’t mind anyone seeing and that lovely tapping noise they make on my keyboard.

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