Beauty is an obsession of every woman. And so is with beautiful nails. But the beauty of nails, whether it is the shine or strength, it takes the energy and nourishment in the form of minerals and vitamins for healthy nails. Can salon and manicure be the secret of your attractive nails? I doubt. Rather, I am confident of the fact that it takes internal nourishment to enhance the beauty of nails.
What are nails made of?
Nails are present in our body right from the time of birth. They grow from the deep folds in the skin of the fingers and toes. They are made of a tough protective protein called alpha-keratin. This keratin is the major constituent of hair and the top layer of skin.
Vitamins for Healthy Nails:
- Vitamin B9
Vitamin B9 or Folic acid is usually recommended for pregnant women for healthy brain development of their babies. But it is also known to play an effective role in nail growth. This vitamin is responsible for the creation and repair of the cells that constitute your nails. Vitamin B9 contributes towards creating new nail cells, thereby making the nails grow. If your body lacks folic acid, it shows up as changes in skin, hair and fingernail pigmentation. This deficiency is usually caused due to medications, alcoholism and under-nutrition.
Foods such as citrus fruits, beets, seeds, eggs, broccoli, avocado, legumes, and green leafy vegetables are good sources of folic acid.
- Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is another member from B vitamin family. It regulates the red blood cells for carrying oxygen and iron to different parts of body. This contributes to the increase in nail growth. It also promotes healthy and strong nails by preventing damage of nerve cells. Deficiencies of vitamin B12 can make nails brittle, or take an abnormal shape.
Vitamin B12 can be provided to the body through animal products like fish, meat, shellfish, poultry, eggs, milk, cheese and milk products. Some of the breakfast cereals are fortified with vitamin B12.
Biotin is part of the Vitamin B family. It is also known as vitamin B7 or vitamin H or coenzyme R. Studies have proven that biotin can strengthen brittle nails, reduce the chances of breakage or splitting and enhances nail growth. Biotin deficiency may also show up through symptoms such as hair loss, rashes around the mouth and eyes, and dry scaly skin.
Foods which are natural sources of biotin include bananas, cauliflower, eggs, lentils, peanuts, mushrooms, and whole grains.
- Vitamin C
Vitamin C is known for its strong anti-oxidant properties. It fights the negative effect of free radicals in our body. Vitamin C plays an important role in healthy growing nails. Lack of Vitamin C may lead to rough skin, coiled hair and brittle nails. It also marks poor wound healing and secondary infections.
Vitamin C is not manufactured in our body. Hence we need to provide it through foods. Tomatoes, oranges, papaya, strawberries, blueberries and leafy greens are rich sources of vitamin C.
- Vitamin A
Vitamin A connotes strength of bones, tissues and teeth. It also contributes to growing nails. Vitamin A uses its antioxidant properties to prevent any damage which can be caused by free radicals.
Vegetarian diet can provide vitamin A by eating citrus fruits, spinach, carrots, apple, yam, milk, pink grapefruit and apricots. You will also find this vitamin in yellow vegetables and deep and bright-colored fruits. Non-vegetarians can obtain this vitamin from eggs, cod and liver.
Do nails need anything more than Vitamins?
Yes. Minerals and Supplements are another necessary requirement for improving and maintaining beautiful nails and their healthy growth. Some of the important minerals are iron, zinc, magnesium, calcium and Omega 3 fatty acids.
The care they need
Nails are an important part of our body. In order to cherish them as a great asset, one needs to save them from all sorts of infections. Make sure to seek the advice of your doctor before you start taking any supplements.