Growing fingernails can be difficult if you don't have a healthy diet. Nails can be dry, brittle and break off easily if you aren't getting the vitamins and nutrients you need. There are many vitamins that can aid nail growth, all of which can be found in common everyday foods. Enjoyed daily, these foods can help you eat your way to healthy nails.
Many of the vitamins that are essential for nail growth (Vitamins A, B-complex, and C) are found in everyday healthy foods. A vitamin A deficiency will make nails dry and brittle, which will cause them to break easily. B vitamins, including biotin, can help combat various nail problems. Lacking B vitamins will make your nails fragile and cause ridges to form in your nails. Your nails will also be more rounded and curved, making it easy for them to break. They will also be extremely dry and the nails will be darkened. Vitamin C deficiency will make you more prone to hangnails, which are painful and will also lead to you having to cut the nail.
Iron, calcium and zinc can also help your nails to grow long and healthy when included in your diet. Lack of iron will result in rounded nails and ridges. If iron is absent from your diet, you will get more hangnails and white bands will form across your nails. A calcium deficiency, like a vitamin A deficiency, will cause nails to be dry and brittle. White spots will also form on your nails from a lack of zinc.
What to Eat
In order to grow healthy nails, you need to consume foods that include the aforementioned vitamins and nutrients.
Beef is a good source of vitamins A and B, as well as zinc and iron. Dairy products, such as milk and cheese, are good sources of vitamin A. Other good sources of vitamin A include: chicken livers; butter, eggs, mackerel, kale, carrots, parsley, spinach, sweet potato, dried apricots, broccoli, mango, tomatoes and cabbage.
There are many B vitamins, but for nail growth diet purposes, you can focus on B-12 and biotin, which can both be found in milk, salmon, eggs, chicken, mushrooms and many other foods.
Vitamin C and calcium are probably the easiest to obtain out of all the vitamins. Orange juice is high in vitamin C, and milk is high in calcium. Grapefruit, cranberry and vegetable juices are also very high in vitamin C, as well as oysters, broccoli, spinach, peaches and tomatoes. Yogurt and cheese are good for calcium intake.
Iron is found in most high-protein foods. Foods such as beef, chicken, tuna and salmon are good for iron intake. If you are a vegetarian, iron is also found in kidney beans, broccoli, macaroni and spaghetti. Zinc can be found in crab, baked beans, almonds, oysters and a host of other foods.
Sulfur is another nutrient that will promote nail growth. You can add sulfur to your diet by eating foods such as kale, cabbage, cauliflower, cranberries, onions and garlic.
If you include these foods regularly in your diet, they will combat nail problems and promote the growth of longer, healthier nails. You should stick to eating the recommended dietary allowance of these nutrients, which you can find via the USDA website.