13 Nutrients That Boost Skin & Nail Health & How To Get More Of Them In Your Diet
How we nourish ourselves can play a pivotal role in our skin and nail health, as healthy eating and lifestyle adjustments can give us that beauty and glow from the inside and out. Because nutrition is so linked to our body's health, it is important to take note of which nutrients can promote skin and nail health, and to make sure that we are consuming enough of these nutrients, in adequate quantities, each day.
As a certified health coach, I work with my clients on finding healthy sources of vitamins and minerals that will enhance their nail and skin development and make them feel more confident, beautiful and energized each day. Nutrients can so heavily impact our skin, as we absorb nutrients though the barrier. For instance, if you put raw garlic in your sock and walk around for a few hours, you'll begin to taste garlic in your mouth! Gross, but kind of cool to think about, right? Here are thirteen nutrients to eat to promote skin and nail health.
Biotin is a great nutrient for skin health, as it can protect skin from sun and toxins. Experts suggest that biotin deficiencies can lead to itchy, red, cracked skin. "Pumpkin seeds are pretty much rich in everything you need from protein, magnesium, biotin, and omega 3 fatty acids," says Stephen Thevenot, hairstylist at Eva Scrivo Salon in NYC, over email with Bustle. Other sources include eggs, almond, whole grains and lean meat.
2. Healthy Unsaturated Fats
Healthy fats can boost skin and nail health and create a glow on skin, as well as a clear complexion. They are great for hydrating and moisturizing the skin and nails. Thevenot recommends coconut oil, almonds and avocados. Spread some avocado on toast in the morning, or add coconut oil or almonds to a smoothie. You can also create skin and nail masks in order to reap the benefits topically, too.
"Calcium supports bones, skin and hair/nail and teeth health," says Thevenot. Having adequate calcium can keep nails strong and prevent any dryness, brittleness or breakages. When you have a thick, white strip across the tips of your nails, you know they are sturdy and are receiving enough calcium. Frequent chips can mean you need higher intake of milk, almonds, soy, yogurt and green vegetables.
4. Vitamin E
Research says that vitamin E can reduce wrinkles and fine lines that can occur with aging and can protect against free radical damage. It can also help spur nail growth, keeping them shiny and strong. Great sources include avocado, olive oil, almonds, wheat germ and sunflower seeds.
5. Fish Oils
Omega 3 fatty acids, or fish oils, can be great anti-inflammatories for healthy, glowing skin. They "maintain good barrier function and healthy skin cells," says Joyce A. Nettleton, DSc, Science Communications Consultant, with Wild Alaskan Seafood, over email with Bustle. "These effects help reduce dry skin and itchiness. These fatty acids also have anti-inflammatory effects, which reduce the symptoms of inflammatory dermatitis and conditions such as eczema and psoriasis," she continues.
6. Vitamin A
Studies say that vitamin A can promote healthy nail and skin health. Rich sources include watermelon, tomatoes, red bell peppers and sweet potatoes. Red colored produce are rich in vitamin A and lycopene. "Brimming with the antioxidants lycopene and vitamin A, consuming watermelon can help protect the skin from free radical damage. These nutrients also help extend the youthful appearance of the skin and generate new cells which helps give your skin a natural glow," says dietician Toby Amidor, MS, RD over email with Bustle.
7. Vitamin C
"Many of the same nutrients that help with healthy hair are also involved with nail health, like vitamin C, which helps with the growth strong nails," says Amidor. Vitamin C, found in foods such as yellow bell peppers, kiwi, and oranges, are high in ascorbic acid, which can "produce collagen, which may help with cell repair and renewal," says registered dietician Keri Gans, MS, RDN, CDN, and a spokesperson for America's Better Sandwich, over email with Bustle.
"Selenium helps preserve elastin, a protein that may help keep your skin smooth and tight," says Gans. "A sandwich can be the ideal vehicle to get all these nutrients in. For example, tuna (rich in selenium and omega 3-fatty acids) salad with sliced tomato and spinach (rich in vitamin C) makes for easy, on the go meals," she adds.
Antioxidants can help prevent free radical damage and boost skin and nail health. Great sources include berries, such as blueberries, colorful fruits and veggies (you should chase the rainbow!), and powerful teas, such as green and white tea. Properties in these teas and foods fight aging and promote an external glow.
10. Vitamin D
Research suggests that vitamin D can helps low aging and promote more youthful, glowing skin. It also boosts strong nails and absorption of calcium, which can prevent nails from chipping and weakening. By keeping nails strong and skin taut, you'll see your health drastically improve and know that you are getting enough intake. Great sources include fish, eggs, liver and fortified foods, such as cereals, juices and milks.
While this might not technically be a nutrient, keeping your body hydrated is the greatest way to have glowing, fresh, tight skin and strong, healthy nails. Molecules in the skin bind to water in order to have a more plump, fuller look, so if there is not enough liquid for the body to act upon, skin and nails might become dry.
Probiotics, or good gut-promoting bacteria that aid in proper digestion, can also boost skin and nail health and prevent red, itchy, dry patches, especially in those who suffer from autoimmune disorders, such as psoriasis or eczema. Have Greek yogurt, kefir, kimchi, miso, or kombucha, or take in supplement form once or twice a day for best results.
Iron can help increase nail and skin health. Great sources include beans, lean meats and fish, leafy greens and whole grains. "Beans contain iron-rich proteins, a nutrient which helps to prevent weak and brittle hair and nails," says Alicia Ward, VP of Marketing at Beanitos, over email correspondence with Bustle. Eat plenty of iron during the day for greater energy levels, too!
Having great nails and skin definitely involves maintaining a healthy diet filled with proper nutrients and water to fortify from the inside-out. To make sure you are getting enough, make a list of the nutrients to include in your diet and be mindful of how you create your plate.
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