There are a few things that hair, skin and nails all have in common. First, they are all parts of our bodies made up of quickly-dividing cells. This means that they are easily affected by environmental factors, including the products we use and the food we eat. We also as a society are on a common mission to find different ways of improving the look of our hair, skin and nails at all times. Although it may be hard to believe, it is as easy as eating three meals a day. This article will show you the five best nutrients to add to your diet to achieve the beautiful hair, skin and nails you are looking for!
1. Omega 3 and 6 Fats
One of the reasons those who are malnourished have problems with dull, thinning hair is because of a lack of fat in their diet. Fat is essential for the strength and shine of our hair, and also to keep skin and nails from being dry and flaky. If you have issues with hair loss, or if you feel your hair isn’t as shiny as you want it to be, try adding some fresh-caught salmon, avocado, and nuts and seeds to your diet. You can get two in one meal if you try an avocado sushi roll topped with salmon, as pictured above!
2. B Vitamins: Vitamin B5 (Biotin, Pantothenic Acid)
Hair, skin and nails are all made up of a protein called keratin. It is believed that biotin, a B-vitamin found in foods such as eggs, almonds, and wheat bran, can help strengthen this protein infrastructure. This helps quicken the growth process for hair and nails, and can improve the look of your skin. Many vegetarians and vegans do not get an adequate amount of B-vitamins (especially B-12, only naturally found in animal products and items like yeast) unless they make a conscious effort, and therefore may have issues with dry hair, skin or nails. Add a few servings of B-rich foods to your daily diet, and you will definitely see results!
Iron deficiency can also lead to hair loss, brittle nails and dry, pale skin. Iron-deficient anemia also causes other skin problems such as easy bruising. It is actually the protein that is essential for iron storage, called ferritin, that causes these problems, but if you are not getting enough iron (without being anemic) you may also experience some of these symptoms! Many of us do not eat enough leafy greens, a great source of iron. Add some kale, spinach or try a new one such as collard greens or broccoli rabe to your diet. Along with iron, you’ll also get a bonus dose of vitamins A, C, and folate.
Protein is made from amino acids, which are building blocks of our DNA, and therefore an essential addition if one wants to feel good on the inside and look good on the outside. Although Americans do overall get a lot of protein as a culture, it is important that we are getting the right kind of protein and not eating too much or too little. Too much protein can deplete calcium from our bones which can also cause problems with hair, skin and nails, and too little will also do damage! Good sources of protein can come from both animal and plants – to switch it up, try eggs, legumes or fish instead of meat (or vice versa.)
5. Vitamin E
Vitamin E may already be a part of your daily regimen—just not in the way you think. Vitamin E is heralded as a great skin conditioner externally, but did you know it could be taken internally for the same—or better—results? Vitamin E is an antioxidant. Antioxidants are age-fighters, as they combat free radicals that oxidize (a fancy word for age) your cells. The vitamin is naturally high in foods like avocado, vegetable oil and nuts and seeds.
Water is a great, easy way of helping your hair, skin and nails. Simply drinking a glass or two more of water a day will improve the youthfulness and glow of your skin, and help you to feel better, more rested, and generally happier and healthier! Don’t go overboard—for average women, the recommended daily amount is around 9 cups of liquid per day. Adjust accordingly for differing body types and lifestyles.