Follow these vegan nutrition tips for healthy nails, and your body may surprise you!
The gene for strong, resilient talons seems to be absent among the women on my mom’s side of the family—me included. Thin, brittle, peeling, ridged, and highly breakable—these are the words coloring our nail-inspired laments. While I acknowledge that the quality of our nails, much like that of our hair, is influenced by genes (alas, I will never have Rihanna-esque claws!), there are still some lifestyle changes that can make your nails (or hair) as healthy—and therefore as beautiful!—as possible.
Before jumping into vegan nutrition tips for healthy nails, take a peek at this post on how to detox your manicure. What is good nutrition worth if we’re dousing our nails in harsh chemicals?
5 Vegan Nutrition Tips for Healthy Nails
1. Enjoy foods with silica, like millet and leafy green veggies. Among its many important duties, silica helps deliver nutrients to the peripherals of the body, i.e. hair, skin, and nails. Foods to incorporate: alfalfa, radish, romaine lettuce, burdock root, cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, steel-cut oats, millet, and leafy greens. Try Creamy Cauliflower and Millet Mash.
2. Avoid foods that deplete your body of minerals. Trans fats, found in some processed and fast foods, interfere with the body’s ability to absorb healthy fatty acids (like those found in avocados, nuts, and pure plant oils). Think of your healthy fats as moisturizer from the inside-out. Our nails need healthy moisturizing to avoid becoming brittle and susceptible to damage. Sugar, too, can wreak beauty havoc by depleting the body of vital nutrients like calcium, magnesium, zinc, and sulfur. For trans-fat-free and sugar-free comfort food, try this Oven Baked Vegan Ratatouille Salad
3. Get enough protein. Hair and nails are made with proteins called keratin. Without enough dietary protein, the body won’t have the proper building blocks to create strong and healthy nails. Fortunately, getting enough protein on a vegan diet can be easy and delicious (as evidenced here.) For a quick boost of protein, try this Chocolate Cinnamon Vegan Protein Smoothie.
4. Be friends with biotin (vitamin B7). Biotin is one of the more well-known hair-skin-and-nails superstars and is often found in beauty products. Biotin in shampoo, for example, may not be as absorbable as dietary biotin, however—so eat up! Oddly, biotins benefits for nails were first discovered when biotin supplements were used to prevent horses’ hooves from splitting! Incorporate berries, spinach, mushrooms, legumes, avocado, and cauliflower. Try this Raw Vegan Apple Avocado Soup.
5. Incorporate vitamin E. When consumed orally, vitamin E helps promote healthy blood circulation. Better blood circulation means that nutrients are more efficiently distributed in the body. Remember keratin? Well, these protein cells accumulate as a result of circulation in the nail-growth structure. Eat: leafy greens, almonds, sunflower seeds, avocados, olive oil, broccoli, squash, and kiwi. Try: Ginger Carrot Winter Beauty Smoothie (contains almonds).
A note on eating for beauty: As some who as experimented on herself via her diet, I’ve learned that dietary changes don’t immediately show results on the outside. It takes several weeks to fully replace a regular-sized nail, so be patient. Think of eating for beauty more as a lifestyle than a quick fix 🙂
What do you eat to keep your nails healthy and beautiful?
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Photos: Manu Camargo via Unsplash, Molly Lansdowne, Peaceful Dumpling, Mary Hood Luttrell, Lauren Sacerdote