"I do my hair toss, check my nails…" In her song "Good as Hell," Lizzo reveals that she clearly recognizes the power of a good manicure and the impact it can have on the way we feel.
But did you know that gorgeous nails start from the inside? What you eat plays a big factor into how strong your nails are. So whether you have a standing mani appointment or a weekly date with a bottle of OPI, you should also plan to head to the grocery store before any file, buffer, or polish gets anywhere near your digits.
Erica Drewry, CEDRD, RDN, LD, owner of Aligned Nutrition, recommends asking yourself one question: Am I eating enough? "You have to nourish your body from the inside out, and if you aren't eating enough, all of the less-vital bodily processes will suffer. Your body will prioritize your major organ systems and neglect nails (and hair and skin)," she explains.
New York's Columbia University Presbyterian Hospital studied the effects of certain vitamins on nail health, and shared the results of their research, where they discovered that biotin (aka vitamin H) helps to fight brittle nails. This super vitamin has long been known to enhance hair, skin, and nails, and increasing your intake is easier than you think. It's commonly found in a lot of foods that are probably already in your fridge.
So grab your shopping list and get ready to add these foods to your cart…
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Raw, salted, or roasted, almonds have high levels of biotin and are therefore a healthy choice. A quarter cup of roasted almonds has 1.5 mcg of biotin per serving.
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As if we needed another reason to eat cheese. One ounce of mild cheddar cheese contains 0.4 mcg of biotin.
Add strong nails to the many benefits of our favorite fungi. In addition to its high levels of biotin, mushrooms also are a great source of potassium and contain three B-complex vitamins: riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid.
6. Sweet Potatoes
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They taste great, they're healthy, and they strengthen nails. A half cup of cooked sweet potato contains 2.4 mcg of biotin.
Popeye was known for his biceps, but have you seen his nails? All joking aside, spinach is rich in biotin—a half cup of boiled spinach has 0.4 mcg of the nutrient.
Other Foods to Eat
In addition to foods containing biotin, Drewry points to a few additional foods that will help strengthen nails…
1. Wild-Caught Fish
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Grilled, poached, rolled into sushi, or however you like it prepared, fish contains plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, which can strengthen nails.
Throw them into soup and chili recipes, and use them in place of red meat—lentils and beans are an all-around healthy addition to any diet. They're also both rich in protein.
3. Chia, Hemp, and Flax Seeds
Add them to your morning smoothies, oatmeal, or yogurt for an extra boost of healthy goodness. Seeds contain fiber and protein—plus, flax seeds and chia seeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids.
4. Whole Grains
Make sure you're getting the good stuff. Look for the words "100% whole grain" on breads and crackers. Whole grains are rich in fiber, B vitamins, iron, copper, zinc, magnesium, antioxidants, and phytochemicals.
Eating these and other healthy foods are one element of an overall healthy nutritional plan. Drewry says, "Stress and poor nutrient absorption will impact these body systems so you should address your lifestyle holistically." ■
Approaching your overall lifestyle with health and wellness in mind is an all around good idea. Make sure you're getting enough sleep, making time to exercise, eating healthy, drinking only in moderation, stepping away from your phone, meditating, etc. will help improve your overall health. These lifestyle changes can lead to stronger nails, glossier hair, clearer skin, stronger muscles, and improved energy.