The eyes are commonly known as the windows of your soul, and it is said ‘a man is known by the shoes that he wears’. Well, in a similar way, your fingernails can say a lot about you. Yes, we said fingernails.
Fingernails are of course an obvious beauty statement, a beautifully manicured hand (on either men and women) is something that doesn't go unnoticed by many. However, fingernails are also an important indicator for determining the status of a person's health.
Healthy Nails vs. Unhealthy Nails
Fingernails grow about 3 times faster than the nails on our toes which grow at a fixed rate of about a millimeter a month, and when they are healthy, have a nail plate that is a healthy pink color plus the nail itself is white and smooth.
Many things can affect the health of our nails and can all play a significant difference in the health of your nails.
cleaning rigorously under the fingernails
- using nail varnish too often
- wearing false nails
- nutritional deficiencies
If the health of your nails is neglected, they are much more susceptible to fungal infections or other unsightly conditions. If this does happen, then prepare for a lengthy battle to eradicate the infections. Nail infections are not something that you should take lightly and adequate treatment should be sought.
Diet and Nutrition For Optimal Nail Health
As with most health-related issues, a well-balanced diet is essential for maintaining optimal health and wellbeing, this is true for the health of our fingernails too. Research suggests that there are certain key vitamins that play a significant role when it comes to the health of our nails.
Biotin, also known as Vitamin B7, is essential to maintain protein production (in the case of nails this is keratin) and has been shown to help strengthen weak or brittle nails.
Biotin is the most well-known vitamin commonly associated with boosting a healthy head of hair but can also help boost nail health. Often called ‘vitamin H’, this is an essential vitamin that plays a significant role in promoting optimal hair and nail growth and health. When it comes to consuming a healthy dose of biotin through our diet, eggs are the way to go! They are full of biotin. Other foods that are rich in biotin include peanuts, almonds, wheat bran, salmon, low-fat cheese, and avocados.
Biotin is a significant vitamin when it comes to nail health. Biotin-rich foods are an essential element to ensure that deficiencies don’t occur. Check that your diet has a good balance of B-vitamins to ensure optimal keratin production.
One of the most commonly known vitamins is vitamin C. Also known as ascorbic acid, this is one vitamin that cannot be produced by the body, it needs to be taken into the body through consuming food. Furthermore, this is a vitamin that cannot be stored in the body so you need to consume adequate doses of vitamin C on a daily basis.
Research studies have shown that a vitamin C deficiency can result in brittle nails and cause the slowing down of the growth of both your nails and hair. Vitamin C is essential to the production of collagen, which is a fundamental component of healthy nails.
Vitamin C rich foods include citrus fruits, spinach, cauliflower, cabbage, tomatoes and broccoli to name but a few. Make sure that you have a daily diet that includes several foodstuffs that include vitamin C for optimal nail health. This is a relatively easy vitamin to include in your daily diet.
Amino acids are the considered to be the building blocks of protein which make up every part of our body (muscles, tissues, organs, enzymes) and of this include your hair and nails.
Amino acids are said to be organic compounds that comprise of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen.
When you ingest healthy protein-rich foods such as animal meat or leafy green vegetables, your body breaks it down into amino acids, then redistributes it as needed to build new proteins specific to its needs.
As such, the production of keratin relies on this process so without a doubt, proteins are essential for optimal nail growth and health.
Since your nails are made of protein, amino acid supplementation is an effective option to help build and maintain healthy nails. Check out top quality nutritional health supplements that can help ensure that you consume your RDA of amino acids.
Minerals are an important, daily dietary component and if you fall short in the RDA you may experience problems with hair and nail growth and strength. The composition of nails is primarily made up of Keratin, a protein that is responsible for the growth of our hair and nails.
To keep your nails healthy and strong, you need to provide your body with the required amounts of essential nutrients. Essential nutrients, such as protein, vitamins and minerals, help in preventing nail infections as well as other nail issues.
Key minerals such as zinc, copper, and iron are essential minerals for ensuring that your nails grow and stay strong.
Our Ultimate Take Home Message
Fingernails, like many parts of our body, are constantly growing and altering. So it would figure that they, of course, would need specific vitamins, nutrients, and minerals to increase the strength, length, density, and speed in which they grow. Above, we have listed a few key ingredients that can make the difference between good nail health and growth or not.
The health of your nails is something that you probably don’t give a lot of thought too until something goes wrong. Like most things in life, you only appreciate something once it is gone.
It is important to not neglect the health of our nails, as not only can they look unsightly, ignoring obvious signs of ill health can lead to further complications. The good part is that we don’t really need to do a great deal to ensure optimal nail health. If brittle nails and nail fungus is something that you are suffering from, then you will need to start thinking about the food you ingest and consider taking an appropriate nutritional supplement to support the body in eliminating the fungus or rebuilding the strength of your nails.