Eat These 14 Foods For Stronger Hair And Nails

by Miki Hayes

When it comes to having strong and healthy hair and nails, some just hit the genetic gold mine. But if your hair is a little too dry or your nails are a little too brittle for your liking, your diet can make all the difference — which, luckily for us, includes drinking beer for shiny hair. The key to achieving (and maintaining) healthy locks and nails is making sure you're getting all the proper vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat. Of course you can take supplements or eat cereal that is supplemented with the necessary ingredients you'll need, but the best way to consume vitamins and minerals is straight from the source. Calcium from milk will do your body more good than calcium from a pill.

The foods that are good for your hair and nails really come down to the vitamins and minerals they contain. If you know the best vitamins and minerals to consume for the most beautiful you, all you need next is to know which foods contain those. While there are many that can compensate your beauty needs, here are the ones with some of the highest concentrations of those vitamins and minerals that will have your hair looking thick and shiny, and your nails healthy and strong.

1. Almonds

If you enjoy snacking on nuts, try to make them almonds. Almonds are high in protein, magnesium, and essential fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated), all of which benefit your hair and nails. Protein not only aids in keratin production but also cellular repair which keeps hair strong and promotes its growth. Magnesium combats stress to help prevent and reduce hair loss. It is also keeps nails healthy (if you see vertical ridges in your nails, it may mean you need more magnesium in your diet). The essential fats (and therefore fatty acids) found in almonds will help keep the scalp healthy, and therefore the hair shiny, while also preventing nails from becoming too brittle. If you notice that you have a dry scalp and/or dandruff, it could mean you need to incorporate more essential fats into your diet.

2. Bananas


Biotin (or vitamin H), which is found in bananas, helps prevent both hair and nails from becoming brittle and breaking. This is thought to be because biotin plays a role in keratin development, and keratin is a main component of hair and nail structure.

3. Beer


Rejoice! Beer is good for you (in a single serving). If you were ever hesitant about washing your hair with beer, you can just drink it and still obtain some benefits. This is because beer is high in silicon, which is thought to increase circulation in the scalp. That means it helps with hair growth, and keeps hair and nails from becoming brittle.

4. Blueberries


Blueberries are rich in antioxidants and vitamin C. The former fights free radicals which can cause stress damage to all cells in the body, including the ones in hair and nails. The latter aids in the creation of collagen (an important component of hair and nail growth) as well as the absorption of iron (which also aids in hair growth).

5. Brazil Nuts

Selenium is thought to protect against oxidative stress. Deficits in the element may result in sparser hair growth. But luckily, Brazil nuts can more than cover the recommended daily value in just six to eight pieces. These nuts are also high in essential fats and magnesium.

6. Cantaloupe

In addition to the hair and nail growth benefits provided by vitamin C, cantaloupe also has a healthy amount of vitamin A. Vitamin A helps hair to both be and appear healthy by producing sebum for the scalp. If your hair feels too dry or appears too dull, try increasing your intake of vitamin A.

7. Coconut Oil

Although coconut oil has beneficial fatty acids like a few other foods on this list, the particular makeup of its fatty acids sets it apart. This is because the lauric acids it contains have antimicrobial properties. According to Dr. Perricone, "one of the main reasons behind hair fall and hair loss is microbial action on the scalp and hair roots," so the lauric acid helps to prevent hair loss.

8. Eggs

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images

When it comes to healthy hair and nails, eggs are a bit of a superfood. In addition to being high in protein and biotin, eggs also have a healthy amount of vitamin D and iron. Not only does vitamin D keep hair healthy and strong, but it can also prevent hair loss because vitamin D combats stress which can lead to thinning hair. On the other hand, iron helps hair-producing cells work their hardest by facilitating oxygen transfer to cells. Deficiencies in iron can lead to thinning hair and is even associated with a nail disease called koilonychia, which is characterized by spoon-shaped nails.

9. Milk


In addition to eggs, milk also provides numerous benefits to hair and nails. Although it also contains vitamin D, protein, and biotin, it provides further benefits from calcium. Calcium helps keeps both hair and nails growing healthily. However, vitamin D is a prerequisite for the body to properly absorb calcium.

10. Oysters

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Zinc is extremely beneficial to the health of your hair and nails. Not only is it essential in the process of making proteins found in hair and nails, but it also repairs damage to hair cells and keeps oil glands surrounding follicles in peak condition. If you need a boost in zinc, try oysters. They have a whopping 74 grams of zinc per serving.

11. Salmon

Phil Walter/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Salmon is another superfood in the hair and nail department. It's high levels of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and biotin all work toward keeping hair and nails healthy and strong. And if you want an extra boost of omega-3s, which aid in a healthy scalp, and therefore follicles and hair, make sure to eat the skin.

12. Spinach

David Paul Morris/Getty Images News/Getty Images

If you're looking to gain even more benefits from just one food though, try spinach. This leafy green is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, iron, magnesium, vitamin A, and vitamin C. Although eating just spinach will not round out your diet as well as eating multiple foods from this list, it is a nice catch-all ingredient.

13. Sunflower Seeds

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images News/Getty Images

In addition to omega-6 fatty acids, protein, biotin, iron, and magnesium, sunflower seeds even offer benefits from vitamin E. Vitamin E works to stimulate hair growth by promoting capillary growth which increases circulation and therefore blood flow to the follicles. If you notice that your scalp is dry or your hair is split and/or brittle, try increasing your intake of vitamin E.

14. Water


Staying properly hydrated helps your body function better and really utilize all the other vitamins and minerals you put into it. To get the most out of your diet, try always having a bottle on hand to sip on throughout the day.

Images: Getty Images (10); Richard Foster, Harsha K R, Jaydot, Kabsik Park, Meal Makeover Moms/Flickr; Miramiska/Fotolia