How Does Your Diet And Food Habits Affect Your Nails? September 11, 2017

Nails speak a lot about how you take care of your health. If the nails are weak, brittle and break too often, then it is not a healthy sign, reflecting how unhealthy your body is. Unhealthy body further is a sign of poor diet habits.

So how does diet affect your nails? With good diet habits, can your nails become stronger and healthier?

To understand this, we first need to understand what fingernails are.

What are fingernails?

What are fingernails and why do they exist? What are they made up of?

Finger nails are meant to protect our finger tips. They are made of dead cells in the form of a plate extending from the inner side of the finger to the outer edge. These dead cells are made of protein keratins which are attached to our fingers on the nail bed. The parts of a finger nail can be broken down into nail plate, nail bed, nail matrix, cuticle, and free edge.

The nail bed is the part of the finger tip on which the main nail is placed. This nail placed on the bed is known as nail plate. The nail part which is attached to the finger inside is called the nail matrix, which is the only live part of the nail. Cuticle is the one which meets the matrix and holds it firmly and protects the matrix from germs. And the part which we grow outwards freely is known as free edge of the nail.

Nail Composition:

Nails are made of keratin, which contain sulfur. They also contain fat and water, which forms layers on the nails. So if the person dehydrates or doesn’t drink enough water, nails peel. Lack of sulfur in the body also results in unhealthy nails.

Dietary Components for Nails:

Adding minerals and other substances like sulfur and biotin, which is usually found in eggs, dairy products, fish and meat etc., can help increase the strength of nails. These foods make the nails flexible, along with boosting their growth. Nuts and salmon are known to offer luster, while proteins boost health of the nails.So its better to provide nails food that is right.

The condition of your nails can also tell you about a few health problems too.

  • Horizontal ridges in nails indicate previous health problems, illness and infections.
  • Vertical ridges indicate poor diet. If you eat lots of junk foods, you may develop these.
  • Pale nails indicate anemia.
  • If you have calcium deficiency, then your nails have chances of breaking.
  • If you have white spots on your nails, then you have zinc deficiency.

What You Should Include In Your Diet:

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  • Go for meat, fish, chicken, seeds and nuts. Add proteins to your diet to build that required amount of calcium. It will nurture the nail present below the cuticle.
  • If you are a vegetarian, then add calcium and biotin or B-complex, vitamin C and E to your daily dietary regimen.
  • Also ensure to drink lots of water every day, as it can save your nails from becoming brittle.

Leave those bad habits of smoking and alcohol consumption if you have depleted levels of zinc in the body. Reduce stress levels as much as possible.

[ Read: Calcium Deficiency Nails ]

For Nail Growth:

Nails growth cycle is very slow and also depends on factors like age, gender and health etc. The nails on thumb and little fingers grow slower as compared to the other nails. Middle finger nail grows the fastest while index finger nail comes next. The third fastest growing nail is the ring finger nail. The nails on the dominant hand grow faster than the other hand.

If you want to grow your nail faster, then you can massage your nails and exercise them by typing, playing games, playing any instrument etc.

Don’t forget to read our post on how to grow nails faster.

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