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Guide to Maintaining Strong Nails   ( Home | Diet | Foods | Recipes )

8 Best Foods for Healthy Nails

Best Foods for Nails

What are the best foods for healthy nails? The list below includes some of the best foods to eat if you want to grow strong, healthy nails by nourishing them from the inside. There's no need to start taking nail growth supplements – just incorporate these "nail foods" into your eating plan and watch the health of your finger-nails (and toe-nails) improve!

After getting familiar with this list of the best foods for strong and healthy nails, check out our collection of recipes for healthy nails. Not only do these recipes feature a wide range of nail health promoting super-foods, they are also outrageously delicious and easy to make.

#1:  Green Peas

Although small in size, green peas are huge in terms of nutritional value. They are also a great food to add to your diet if you want to boost the health of your nails. Peas pack a protein punch, which is thought to improve nail strength and speed up the rate of nail growth. They also contain beta-carotene and vitamin C, as well as some iron. Green peas can be bought fresh in the pod, dried, frozen, and canned.

#2:  Wheat Germ

Wheat germ can be a great addition to your diet if you want to grow strong, healthy nails. It is one of the best dietary sources of vitamin E and an excellent source of protein and dietary zinc. It is also a fairly concentrated source of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) which promotes the absorption of zinc from the intestines. You can add wheat germ to cereals, muesli, bread dough, smoothies, or pancakes. When storing wheat germ, bear in mind that it turns rancid relatively fast. Therefore, to optimize its shelf life, store it in a sealed container in a cool, dark, and dry place.

Can't wait to jazz up your favorite smoothies, salads, and yogurt with wheat germ? Check out the article Where to Buy Wheat Germ for tips on how to get the most out of your next wheat germ purchase.

Sunflower seeds
Sunflower seeds are cram full of nail health promoting nutrients.

#3:  Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are undoubtedly one of the best foods to eat if you want to grow strong, healthy nails. These mild, nutty-tasting seeds are loaded with vitamins and minerals that contribute to healthy nails. They are packed with vitamin E, zinc, and iron. Furthermore, they an excellent source of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), with one cup delivering a whopping 31% the recommended daily intake. Vitamin B6 is crucial for the proper absorption of zinc from the intestines. Moreover, sunflower seeds are one of the best dietary sources of copper, with a mere ounce of sunflower seeds containing a third of the recommended daily intake for copper.

#4:  Beans

Beans are wonderfully versatile legumes that come in different shapes, sizes, and colors. Yet, they are all tasty and highly nutritious. They should also be an integral part of any nail health promoting diet. Beans are packed with protein which promotes nail growth, but they are also a great source of nail friendly vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc, and biotin. Supplementation with biotin (also known as vitamin B7) has been shown to significantly increase nail plate thickness and to reduce nails' tendency to split. In one study, Swiss researchers gave 2.5mg of biotin every day to a group of women with brittle nails. After the six month trial period, the women's nail thickness had increased by 25%.

#5:  Eggs

Eggs are considered the "gold standard" for protein quality.

Eggs deliver plenty of protein which is vital for strong, healthy nails. Furthermore, the protein contained in eggs is readily digested and used by the body, which is also why bodybuilders consider eggs the "gold standard" for protein quality. Protein quality is typically measured by two values: Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS), which measures the completeness of a protein, and biological value, which reflects the amount of protein retained from the absorbed protein. Along with soy protein isolates and whey protein, egg whites have the highest possible PDCAAS of all foods. They also score 100 on the biological value, which means that all protein indigested from eggs is used by the body. In addition to providing an excellent source of nail health promoting protein, eggs pack a slew of nutrients needed for maintaining healthy nails. These include iron, vitamin B7, vitamin B12, vitamin A, and vitamin E. With all that and the fact that they taste great too — whether boiled, poached, or scrambled, it is definitely worth including eggs in your diet.

#6:  Paprika Powder

The slew of vitamins and minerals in paprika powder is so comprehensive that a few spoonfuls a day will provide you with more nail growth promoting nutrients than most vitamin pills. Paprika is packed with beta-carotene, vitamin E, and B vitamins. It is also one of most vitamin C rich spices and a great source of iron.

#7:  Salmon

Packed with vitamin B12, salmon helps prevent dry, overly curved, and darkened nails.

Salmon is a beauty food par excellence. Not only does it help keep the skin soft and smooth, but it can also help you grow strong nails. In addition to containing a substantial amount of protein, salmon is loaded with vitamin B12, with a 260-calorie serving packing more than 50 percent of the reference daily intake for this important vitamin. A deficiency of vitamin B12 can lead to excessive nail dryness, overly curved nail ends, and darkened nails. Now, although eating salmon can provide you with some important nutrients, moderation should be exercised. Too frequent or too high a consumption of salmon and other fish may predispose you to an excessive exposure to certain toxins contained in fish. These toxins include mercury and other heavy metals, industrial byproducts, and pesticides. The FDA recommends eating fish twice a week, but not more often. This advice is particularly important for pregnant women and women who are planning to become pregnant because the toxins in fish can impair the neurological development of the fetus.

#8:  Oatmeal

Eating a bowl of freshly cooked oatmeal for breakfast is a great way to start a day off right. Oats are highly nutritious and an excellent source of B vitamins, zinc and copper, some of the most important micronutrients for maintaining healthy nails. They are also a great vegetarian source of dietary protein. Before eating oats, soak them for several hours. Untreated oats, like other grains, contain phytic acid which can block the absorption of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, and zinc in the intestines. Soaking allows enzymes to break down and neutralize phytic acid and thus improve the nutritional value of oats.

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