In your search for that one magic beauty secret, you’ll try just about anything along the way – like coating your hair in egg to make it glossy. While that probably won’t work out, trying the best foods for skin, hair and nail health is not too far-fetched.
Most people can relate the food they eat to improved energy and mood. So it seems only logical that your eating habits could play a role in hair, skin and nail health, as well. But which nutrients help grow glossy hair? And how can you get that healthy summer glow, year round? And for goodness sake, is it possible to accomplish this without drinking enough carrot juice to turn your skin orange?
Not to worry. There are plenty of ways to reap beauty benefits from your diet. Start by incorporating these nutrient-dense foods into your everyday.
Seeds serve up protein for supreme collagen production
Both pumpkin seeds and chia seeds pack a powerful punch of nutrients to benefit hair, skin and nails. Don’t be fooled by their size. Seeds are rich in plant-based protein, iron, magnesium, potassium and omega-3 fatty acids. Iron, which supports healthy blood flow and oxygenation, is critical in ensuring that nutrients are being delivered properly throughout the body – from your scalp to sandal-ready toes. And while you know your body needs protein for muscle growth and repair, this macronutrient serves many other important functions. Amino acids from protein contribute to collagen production, which is a key component to – you guessed it – hair, skin and nails.
Green vegetables provide vitamins A, C, E and K for strong nails
Consuming vegetables, which are naturally rich in nutrients and fiber, supports the immune system, helps keep you satiated and provides energy. If that’s not enough to make you want to dive into these colorful veggies, consider the potential beauty benefits. Green vegetables are good sources of vitamins A, C, E and K as well as antioxidants.
These vitamins support collagen production and healthy cell function. Additionally, antioxidants reduce free radicals within the body, which reduces inflammation to support the aging process. Brittle nails and dull skin, be gone! Some seasonal vegetables that fit the beauty bill include kale, Brussels sprouts and broccoli. Try adding some olive oil and roasting these veggies on a sheet pan. You’ll have a quick-and-easy side dish that fills you up with fiber and serves as part of your beauty routine.
Cold-water fish feature fatty acids for healthy hair follicles
Fish are often touted for their health benefits, but they could also contribute to shiny hair and bright skin. Fatty fish – such as salmon, tuna, trout and sardines – contain higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which boast powerful anti-inflammatory benefits. This helps keep skin healthy and hydrated to help give that special glow. Additionally, fatty acids found in fish contribute to healthy hair follicles, which can help support hair growth and promote added shine. The Dietary Guidelines recommend Americans consume 8-12 ounces of fish each week to obtain these, and other, health great benefits.
Orange root vegetables protect against protein breakdown
Aiming to include more orange on your plate could help restore the summer glow that quickly fades in cooler months. Sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin, carrots and other vegetables of the orange variety contain a hefty dose of vitamin C, which helps prevent collagen, elastin and keratin breakdown. All three of these proteins are abundant in hair, skin and nails, so protecting them from breakdown is top priority.