Sunday, July 14, 2024

Foods for Healthy Hair, Skin, and Nails

We’ve all seen advertisements of people with long flowy hair, strong nails and soft flawless skin and wondered how to get those features without tons of make up, chemicals, photoshop and visual effects?

Products promise to strengthen your nails, nourish and strengthen your hair at the roots and keep your skin looking refreshed and youthful. You might want to switch from the beauty counter to the grocery shop for a natural way to achieve all of this. You can get all the important nutrients, minerals and essentials for your skin, hair and nails from eating a well-balanced and nutritious diet, without any supplements and products.

Your hair, skin and nails are all made of similar cells like keratin, collagen and elastin. A predominantly plant-based diet help you get the key nutrients necessary for keeping your hair, skin and nails at its best. Other nutrients like healthy fats, iron, zinc, antioxidants and vitamins are also essential for  glowing, well-hydrated skin and lucious hair and strong nails.

Once you understand why these nutrients help, it gets easier to ensure you are eating healthy foods packed with these nutrients, daily. It is possible to eat your way to better, healthier hair, skin, and nails. Know that what you put in your body may be just as important as what you put on it.

What foods affect your hair, skin, and nails and why you should eat them?

We make sure to include foods that are very beneficial for our bodies in our diets but have you ever wondered what foods help nourish your hair skin and nails? Read on to know what you should be putting on your plate.

  1. Fatty fish for shiny, happy hair and skin- Loaded with omega 2 fatty acids, seafood can be a game changer for the hair and skin. Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation and redness in the body and skin. Fatty fish is also a rich source of protein, antioxidants, vitamin E and biotin. Unfortunately, your body can’t make these healthy fats, so you have to get them from food or supplements. Fatty fish include salmon, mackeral, herring, sardines.
  2. Sweet as sweet potatoes- Sweet potatoes are rich in the carotenoid beta-carotene, which is said to be a precursor for vitamin A. Vitamin A promotes keratin production and is essential for optimum skin and nail health. Purple sweet potatoes also have antioxidant properties that reduce skin inflammation and protect against free radicals, which tend to trigger premature ageing of the skin. Vitamin A deficiency is easy to spot because of dry and lifeless hair and skin. You can also find beta carotene in other vegetables and fruits like carrots, bell peppers, pumpkin, cantaloupe and mangoes.
  3. Grow your hair with Greek yogurt- Greek yogurt is packed with protein which are the building block of your locks. Greek yogurt helps with blood flow to your scalp and hair growth and even helps against hair thinning and loss.

P.S.Nani always said use dhai as a conditioner once a week, it softens the hair.

  1. Go in circles for cinnamon- Sprinkle this versatile spice on your oatmeal, toast, coffee or dal. It helps with blood flow and circulation bringing oxygen and nutrients to your hair follicles.
  2. Berry beautiful- Vitamin C is a key nutrient to make collagen which prevents hair and nail breakage, keeps your joints healthy and your skin elastic and repaired. Berries are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, especially vitamin C and minerals that are important for healthy hair, skin and nails. Vitamin C is essential to make collagen, the structural cement of the body. Other fruits like kiwi, guava, tomatoes and all the fruits part of the citrus family are also great for your skin, nails and hair because of their vitamin C content.
  3. Go nuts for seeds- Seeds and nuts are good sources of biotin protein, healthy fats and vitamin E, all fabulous for your hair, skin, and nails. The list — almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds and water cress seeds.
  4. Avocados, avocados and more avocados- Rich in healthy fats and nutrients that promote skin and nail health. They are super easy to incorporate into your diet.
  5. Whole grains equal biotin- Whole grains are rich in biotin, iron, zinc and all the B vitamins. Biotin is essential for cell proliferation and plays an important role in producing amino acids which are required for your hair to grow and your skin and nails to thrive.
  6. Egg-cellent for your hair, skin and nails- Protein is essential for your hair, skin and nails. You can cover your daily protein, biotin and iron intake when you eat eggs.

P.S. Eggs are also considered a whole protein making it better than most    other protien sources.

  1. Dark, leafy greens can win the bittle battle- Dark, green and leafy vegetables are full of amazing nutrients that benefit the hair, skin and nails. Be it spinach, kale, swiss chard, bok choy or collard greens, you will definitely get tons of vitamin A, iron, beta carotene, folate and vitamin C, all miracle workers against brittle hair, nails and damaged skin.
  2. Dont be selfish when it comes to shellfish- Hit the oyster bar or seafood shack, your hair and skin will thank you for the zinc. Its as simple as that.
  3. Lean poultry for thick hair- When you don’t get enough protein, your hair growth rests. To get protein from meat, try and pick lean options like chicken or turkey over red meat.
  4. Darker the chocolate, brighter your skin- Not that you need a reason to eat chocolate, but here is one reason you cant deny- chocolates are full of antioxidants which brings more nutrients to your skin, keeps it hydrated and prevents visible signs of aging. There is a caveat though- make sure to choose dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa and keep added sugar at bay.
  5. Stay hydrated – Drinking water isn’t the only way to stay hydrated, up your intake with foods with high water content like cucumbers, watermelon, celery, apples, peaches, tomatoes, lettuce, cantaloupe, watercress, strawberries. Coconut water, green tea as well. Stay hydrated. End of story.

Now that you know what foods to load up on, here are a few foods you should avoid or limit your intake — Alcohol, processed foods, foods high in sugar, fat or salt.

To conclude —

  • A host of vitamins, minerals and your diet helps enhance your hair, skin and nail health.
  • Most nutrients can be obtained through your food.
  • Eat the rainbow for healthy-looking skin, nails and hair.
  • Your skin and body will be a reflection of what you’re putting in your body.

A bonus — these nutrients also help support your overall health and wellbeing.

Vinita Alvares Fernandes
Vinita Alvares Fernandes is an Economics graduate, a writer and a Trinity College certified public speaker and communicator

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