Many foods can help strengthen nails naturally, making them stronger and less brittle. Vitamins and minerals found in foods provide the necessary nutrients for our bodies to grow and remain healthy and strong. Let’s look at several of these powerful foods and how they can help you maintain healthy, strong nails.
The Structure of Nails
Fingernails contain a variety of proteins, including keratin. These proteins form the nail plate and protect the delicate skin below the nail called the nail bed. Your nails depend on these proteins for their growth and shape, while your cuticles protect new nail growth from damage.
The nutrients that you consume from food and supplements can affect the health of your nails. Foods rich in vitamins B, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, and minerals such as calcium are excellent sources of nutrition.
Foods That Make Nails Stronger
The skin is the human body’s largest organ, and it covers the entire body. It is essential to give the skin proper care to keep it healthy, and one of the ways to do that is by eating certain foods.
If you consume the proper nutritious foods, your nails will grow stronger and longer without supplements, treatments, and products containing harsh chemicals. The best foods for stronger nails and cuticles are lean meats, vegetables, and nuts. Let’s take a more in-depth look.
Lean meats contain protein and biotin, which are essential for your health, strong muscles, and nails. Since your fingernails consist of proteins, it makes sense that you’d want to consume foods containing protein. Examples of good protein include:
- Chicken: Chicken is high in protein, providing vitamin B12, choline, zinc, iron, and copper.
- Lean beef: Beef is rich in vitamins and minerals such as niacin, iron, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, phosphorus, and selenium.
- Pork: Pork is rich in thiamine (vitamin B), iron, and zinc.
- Organ meats: Liver meat is high in iron and biotin, making it an excellent nutritional source for nails.
- Fish: Salmon, halibut, and tuna are sources of omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, copper, and selenium, all of which aid in collagen production.
Fruits and Berries
Fruits, such as berries, are high in vitamin C. Vitamin C helps produce collagen, so it makes sense that a diet high in vitamin C would make nails stronger. There are many fruits and berries high in vitamin C.
- Strawberries: Strawberries are packed with fiber, vitamin A, and antioxidants called polyphenols. They are also high in manganese and potassium.
- Dried apricots: Apricots are a high source of antioxidants, vitamins A, C, and E, and beta carotene.
- Blueberries: Blueberries are high in antioxidants, vitamin C, fiber, folate, and they are low in calories.
- Bananas: Bananas are rich in vitamin A and B6 and may help aid in weight loss.
- Cantaloupe: Cantaloupe is high in vitamin A and helps keep the immune system strong.
- Citrus: Fruits such as oranges, lemons, and grapefruits are powerhouses packed with vitamin C.
- Papaya: Papaya contains high levels of antioxidants, and vitamins A, C, and E.
- Watermelon: Watermelon is a fruit rich in vitamins A, C, and B5. It also contains an amino acid called citrulline. This amino acid helps with blood circulation and lowers blood pressure.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds contain omega fatty acids. When omega fatty acids are consumed regularly, they can aid in nail and hair growth.
- Almonds: High in vitamin E, almonds are excellent for maintaining healthy nails. Vitamin E is known as the beauty vitamin because it helps protect cells from oxidative damage. Almonds are also high in zinc which is also essential for a healthy diet.
- Walnuts: Walnuts are high in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids.
- Peanuts: Peanuts are rich in magnesium, folate, and vitamin E.
- Pistachios: Pistachios are rich in vitamins A, E, K, B, folate, and calcium.
- Brazil nuts: These nuts are packed with collagen-building vitamins B, E, zinc, and selenium.
There are a variety of seeds that are high in vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids also.
- Chia seeds: Chia seeds are a powerhouse for your nails, providing high doses of calcium and protein that support collagen production.
- Sunflower seeds: These seeds are high in copper, manganese, zinc, and vitamin B6, all of which are excellent for healing weak, brittle nails.
Green Leafy Vegetables
Plant-based iron and protein are found rich in many green, leafy vegetables. Fresh vegetables are best purchased organic when possible. Excellent sources of vitamins and minerals can be found in the following vegetables:
- Spinach: Spinach is rich in vitamin E magnesium, and calcium, protein, and iron.
- Broccoli: An amino acid called cysteine is found in broccoli. Cysteine helps your body effectively utilize the proteins you consume.
- Collard Greens: These nutrient-rich greens are high in calcium, magnesium, iron, vitamin C, A, K, and B-6.
Dairy and Eggs
Milk and dairy are good sources of calcium, protein, and vitamins that keep your nails strong. There are many other healthy sources of dairy.
- Milk: Milk contains calcium and vitamin D.
- Yogurt: Yogurt assists in immune system functions, which can help keep nails and hair strong.
- Cheese: Cheese contains calcium, biotin, and vitamin D.
- Eggs: Eggs contain biotin and protein and are high in vitamin A, vital in strengthening nails.
There are so many other vegetables high in vitamins and minerals which help our bodily systems run more smoothly. Some of these include:
- Cucumbers: This is a vegetable high in biotin, which helps reduce nail breakage.
- Cauliflower: Cauliflower contains high amounts of biotin when consumed in raw form. Biotin is excellent for nails and hair.
- Mushrooms: Mushrooms are high in biotin, vitamin B, and potassium.
- Sweet Potatoes: Sweet potatoes are high in biotin and vitamin K.
Nail Products for Healthy, Strong Nails
Healthy nails come from eating healthy foods, taking vitamins, and living a healthy lifestyle. There are also many other things you can do to get healthy, strong nails at home.
You can limit water exposure. Keeping your nails dry is key to reducing nail peeling. The minerals in water can break down the nail bed and nails over time. Wear gloves to protect your nails and hands while doing chores.
Try to limit press-on nails and other nail extensions. Nail extensions and press-on nails can damage your natural nails if they are improperly removed or applied too often. Take a break from nail polish and allow your nails to “breathe” between applications.
Allow your nails to remain on the shorter side until the new nail plate repairs itself. Apply Valentino Beauty Pure’s cuticle oil or another cream to your cuticles to keep nails and skin smooth and healthy.
Maintenance at Home
Cuticles are the transparent layer of skin protecting the new nail growth from bacteria and infection. This area is delicate, making it prone to tiny tears if it becomes too dry. By applying cuticle oil and gently pushing the cuticles back with a cuticle pusher, you are helping the cuticles remain healthy and strong.
Rigged fingernails will rip and tear, creating nails that can peel further and become painful. Keeping your nails neatly trimmed and the edges smoothly filed with Valentino Beauty Pure tools will help you keep your nails in tip-top shape.
The top part of the fingernail, the nail plate, can become rigged and uneven in texture. Smooth out these areas with a fine-grit nail buffer and apply cuticle oil or a nourishing nail strengthener to the surface of the nails.
To Sum It Up
Fingernails can become brittle and weak over time with excessive exposure to water, outside elements, and poor diet. You can do many things outside of the salon to help prevent and repair dry, peeling, and weak nails.
A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and dairy can help replenish vitamins and minerals essential for more substantial nail growth. With the proper diet and actions taken at home, your nails will become stronger over time.
Valentino Beauty Pure provides many tools and products such as files, cuticle oil, and trimmers to help you maintain strong, healthy nails. Check out our Instagram or Tik Tok for updated nail trends and information!
- 9 Health and Nutrition Benefits of Apricots | Healthline
- Watermelon consumption increases plasma arginine concentrations in adults | PubMed
- Collard Greens Healthy? | Prevention
- The right nutrition for healthy and beautiful nails | Women Wellness | Nestlé Family ME | Nestle
- How Hard Water Can Damage Your Hair, Skin & Nails | Culligan Water