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Hair and nail health are integral to a person’s overall health, but they can be particularly tricky to maintain. That’s why we’ve put together this list of foods you should eat and avoid in order to keep your hair and nails looking their best.
What Foods to Eat For Hair and Nail Health
There are plenty of foods that naturally support healthy hair and strong nails. Whether you’re trying to grow longer, shinier hair or stronger nails that break less often, these are the foods to include on a regular basis. (1)
Eggs are an excellent source of protein and amino acids essential for hair growth. They also contain iron, which is important for nail growth. Our hair is made up of the protein keratin. When we consume foods high in this specific protein, such as eggs, we support having strong, healthy hair.
Pumpkin seeds contain vitamin A, zinc, and protein, all of which can help keep your hair strong and healthy. They also contain biotin and vitamin E, all of which are known to support skin, hair, and nail health.
Salmon and fatty fish
Omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon are great for improving the look of hair, especially if it’s dry or damaged from coloring or heat styling. Other than salmon, good options include herring and mackerel.
“Omega-3 fatty acids could help reduce inflammation and redness in the body and skin,” says Katie Tomaschko, MS, RDN. “They’re also a rich source of protein, the powerful antioxidant vitamin E, and biotin, a nutrient that supports keratin production.” (2)
Tuna is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that help moisturize hair from the inside out so it stays strong and shiny without any extra products necessary. It is also a great source of vitamin B12, an essential nutrient for hair growth.
Walnuts are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids that will leave your scalp feeling fresh after shampooing instead of oily like most other nuts do—they’re also a great snack for your hair.
Berries are packed with antioxidants that can help keep your hair looking vibrant and healthy. Antioxidants are important for nail and hair health because they help fight free radicals, damaging your hair and nails.
Spinach and Dark, Leafy Greens
This leafy green vegetable is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, K, and folate—all of which are essential for healthy hair growth. Other great options besides spinach include kale, swiss chard, bok choy, and collard greens.
Avocados are packed with vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin E. These are the top three vitamins known for promoting hair, nail, and skin health. They also contain plenty of healthy fats contributing to shiny, soft hair.
Pomegranates are a great source of vitamin C, which helps build collagen—a protein that keeps skin healthy and elastic.
Bell peppers are one of the best vitamin C sources, promoting collagen production. Collagen is good for hair and skin health because it helps keep cells intact, allowing your body to regenerate quickly.
Read: Spirulina: One of the Most Nutrient-Dense Foods on the Planet
Tomatoes are a great source of vitamin C. Broccoli and Cauliflower are also packed with vitamin C, promoting collagen production.
Sweet potatoes are a great vitamin A source, promoting healthy hair growth. Sweet potatoes are also a great source of vitamin C and manganese—a mineral that supports cell metabolism.
Olive oil is a great vitamin E source, promoting healthy skin and hair. This superfood also contains essential fatty acids that help keep your hair healthy and shiny.
Bone broth is a great source of collagen and gelatin, which helps keep your hair strong and healthy. Bone broth also contains amino acids that support the health of your skin and nails. Bone broth is a great source of collagen and gelatin, which helps keep your hair strong and healthy. Bone broth also contains amino acids that support the health of your skin and nails.
Whole grains are rich in B vitamins, which help keep your hair healthy and strong. They also contain magnesium and selenium, essential minerals promoting hair growth.
Foods To Avoid For Better Hair and Nails
There are a few foods to avoid consuming as much as possible if you want to have healthier hair and nails. These include alcohol, processed foods, and sugary drinks. This is because these foods contain high amounts of sugar and unhealthy fats, which can lead to hair loss and brittle nails. Alcohol is detrimental to your health in many ways, but it also affects your hair and nails. It contains sulfates, which are harsh detergents that strip your body of essential nutrients like iron and zinc.
Supplements for Hair and Nails
Many supplements can help you get healthier hair and nails. These include biotin, zinc, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids. Biotin is a nutrient that helps your body process fats, proteins, and carbs. It also promotes healthy hair growth by keeping the cells in your follicles intact.
Zinc is an essential mineral that helps prevent hair loss and promote healthy nail growth. Vitamin D also plays a role in healthy hair and nails by increasing the amount of calcium absorbed by your body. Omega-3 fatty acids help keep cells healthy and hydrated, which can prevent breakage and split ends from forming. As always, consult your healthcare provider before taking any new supplements. This is especially if you are pregnant or already on certain medications.
Keep Reading: 5 Reasons to Eat Watermelon Often
- “The 15 Best Foods for Hair, Skin and Nails.” Life Extension. January 2022.
- “Add These 8 Foods to Your Diet for Healthy Hair, Skin, and Nails.” Healthline. Beth Ann Mayer. September 1, 2022.