Regardless of how much or little you care about your appearance; your hair and nails are both features you should keep healthy. Shaking the hand of someone with cracked nails or staring because they have greasy or dry hair isn’t pleasant, and can catch you and those you meet out in social situations.
Often, we talk about ways to keep your internal organs ticking over, and your mind fit and healthy; however, today, we’re focusing on what’s on the outside and nutrients that boost hair and nail health.
What it does: Necessary for all growth in the body, vitamin A is essential for healthy hair and nails. It aids the production of sebum in the scalp, which keeps hair nourished rather than dry. Vitamin A also helps to keep nails rejuvenated, strong and always growing, preventing cracks and discolouring.
Where to find it: Vitamin A is fat-soluble and found in anything that contains keratin, including sweet potatoes, carrots, dark leafy greens such as spinach and Pak Choi, lettuce, dried apricots, peppers, and fish. Providing you eat plenty of fresh salad, you should have sufficient levels of vitamin A in your diet.
If you don’t get enough: Vitamin A deficiency can lead to dry hair and an itchy, flaky scalp, but you may know it as dandruff. Deficiency also slows hair and nail growth. As vitamin A also supports the immune system and eye health, you may be more prone to infection and illness, as well as dry eyes.
What it does: Biotin (vitamin H) supplements have been widely advertised for years the key to long hair as it makes hair grow faster. There is an assortment of hair care products out there that contain biotin; however, there are natural ways can get your regular biotin fix, too. As well as its many hairy benefits, research shows that biotin also supports nail growth and strength for optimum nail health.
Where to find it: Foods such as lentils, walnuts, raspberries and dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale are packed with biotin and can easily be incorporated into your diet in almost every meal.
If you don’t get enough: If you don’t regularly consume biotin, your hair may turn delicate and brittle and could even fall out, resulting in balding. While rare, biotin deficiency has an array of other health warnings, too, including causing red, patchy rashes, anemia, and even fungal infections.
What it does: The people’s favourite, vitamin C is one of the building blocks for collagen, a protein that supports healthy hair and strong nails. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant and helps to fight off tissue-damaging free radicals for excellent hair and nail health.
Where to find it: Vitamin C is one of the easiest vitamins to find and consume. Popularly, you can find it in oranges; however, it is also present in red bell peppers, kale, broccoli, strawberries, grapefruit, and sprouts. Incorporate vitamin C-rich foods into your meals for optimum hair and nail health.
If you don’t get enough: You need at least 65mg of vitamin C a day – one large orange will do the trick. If you don’t consume enough vitamin C, the effects are quite horrific. You may experience dry and splitting hair, dry and scaly skin, lower immunity, and even nosebleeds.
What it does: Sometimes referred to as the ‘sunshine vitamin’, vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps your body to fight disease by supporting your immune system, as well as keeping hair thick and lush. Vitamin D helps your body to absorb calcium, which promotes hair growth and strength, as well as helping your nails to stay strong and healthy.
Where to find it: Quite simply, you can get your vitamin D fix by going outside for at least 15 minutes a day as the best source of vitamin D is sunlight. Concerning diet, fatty fish such as tuna and mackerel, cheese, eggs yolks, and beef liver all contain vitamin D.
If you don’t get enough: In America, vitamin D deficiency is one of the most common vitamin deficiencies. Vitamin D deficiency can mean weaker bones, fragile nails that are prone to cracks, and dry and brittle hair. A lack of vitamin D will also mean slower hair growth.
What it does: Iron is essential for proper body function. Concerning hair, iron helps to carry oxygen to hair roots which make your hair luscious and shiny. It also benefits hair growth. If your hair is falling out, incorporate more iron-rich foods into your diet.
Where to find it: Red meat has high levels of iron; however, we recommend you consume iron-rich plant foods instead for better overall health. Such foods include lentils, seaweed, spinach, and even a sprinkling of sesame seeds. Create an iron-rich infusion.
If you don’t get enough: Iron deficiency can lead to anemia. It also makes you feel tired, short of breath and can make your complexion paler. A lack of iron in your diet can also cause hair loss as your body goes into ‘survival’ mode rather than focusing on your hair.
What it does: Zinc should be one of your top priorities for healthy hair and nails. It repairs damaged cells while also keeping your hair’s oil glands in good condition to keep your hair healthy, strong and full. Zinc also helps to keep your nails healthy, preventing splitting and spots appearing on your nails.
Where to find it: Oysters contain the most zinc; however, you can also get your zinc top-up from beef and lamb, spinach, pumpkin and squash seeds, cashew nuts, chocolate, and chickpeas.
If you don’t get enough: Zinc deficiency isn’t pleasant; it can cause hair loss, split and broken nails, diarrhea, slower wound healing and general cell regeneration, and skin sores.
To ensure optimum hair and nail health, strive for a balanced diet that incorporates vitamins A, H, C and D as well as iron and zinc, plus other essential vitamins and minerals. To boost hair and nail growth, increase your vitamin D and biotin consumption. You’ll have healthy hair and nails in no time. While a vitamin reach and complex diets are very important to achieve your perfect chevelure, please do not forget that protecting your hair from direct sun rays also can help to preserve the youth and health of your treasured hair threads. To do that please wear a yoga cap or scarf on very hot days or when the sun is highest in the zenith.