8 foods to try for healthy hair, skin and nails

8 foods to try for healthy hair, skin and nails

When we think about improving the health of our hair, skin, and nails, our first thought may be hitting the beauty counter. The products promise to strengthen our nails, lengthen our hair, and keep our skin looking fresh.

However, you may want to turn to the supermarket. What you put in your body may be just as important as what you put on it.

says Alain Michon, medical director at Skin Clinic in Ottawa and a medical professional certified by the American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine.

It seems possible – delicious, even. But is it possible to eat your way to better, healthier hair, skin, and nails? Here’s what the research and three experts say.

You’ve likely heard of scientific support for the idea that certain foods can support heart health.

But what about hair, skin and nails? Research is evolving and sometimes mixed.


a 2020 review Among 24 articles involving more than 1,700 patients, it was suggested that a Mediterranean diet rich in raw vegetables and fresh herbs as well as diets rich in protein and soybeans may be a useful complementary treatment for non-scarring alopecia.

Research from 2016 She noted that women who ate low-glycemic diets rich in complex carbohydrates, vitamins A, B and C and minerals such as zinc and magnesium may have less hair loss during menopause.

a small box 2019 A study of two women between the ages of 39 and 41 suggested that limiting the intake of mercury-rich tuna could reverse hair loss in early menopause.

a 2019 review indicated Micronutrient deficiencies such as diets lacking in biotin, vitamins A and C, and zinc can affect hair health.

skin and nails

a 2022 review It has been suggested that eating a plant-based diet can benefit the health and function of the skin barrier.

on the other side, 2020 review On nutrition and skin, there is not enough research to conclude whether diet can prevent signs of aging.

Nails are rich in keratin, and nutrition may affect their health.

that 2010 Older Review She noted that almost any nutritional deficiencies, such as calcium or iron, can affect nail growth.

a 2019 review It is suggested that people who are deficient in micronutrients, such as biotin, vitamins A and C, and zinc, are more likely to have less healthy nails and skin.

Although research is developing, especially for nails and skin, nutrition can be a low-cost, low-risk way to try to improve hair, skin, and nail growth.

Here’s what some nutritionists and dermatologists suggest to put on your plate.

fat fish

Seafood rich in omega-3 fatty acids can benefit hair and skin, says Katie Tomashko, MS, RDN.

“Omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce inflammation and redness in the body and skin,” he says. TomashkoIt’s also a rich source of protein, the powerful antioxidant vitamin E, and biotin, a nutrient that supports keratin production.

The fish she recommends are:

sweet potato

Tomashko notes that sweet potatoes are rich in the carotene beta-carotene, which she says is a precursor of vitamin A.

“Vitamin A promotes keratin production and is essential for healthy skin and nails,” says Tomashko.

that Oldest study 2004 It indicated that the anthocyanins in purple sweet potatoes have antioxidant properties that may improve skin inflammation. Antioxidants can also help protect against free radicals, which can lead to premature aging.

a Study 2012 It has been suggested that people who are deficient in vitamin A may notice adverse effects on their hair and skin.

Nuts and seeds

Tomashko says that some seeds, especially sunflower seeds, are good sources of:

Paula Doebrich, MPH, RDN of Happa Nutrition He says nuts, such as almonds and walnuts, also boast the antioxidant vitamin E, which helps fight oxidation.

She also says that vitamin E also has anti-inflammatory properties that may help absorb energy from UV rays and protect against skin damage and visible signs of aging, such as fine lines and sun spots.


Tomashko says avocados are rich in healthy fats and nutrients that promote healthy skin and nails, including:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin E

1 cup mashed or mashed avocado It contains 23 milligrams of vitamin C, 16.1 micrograms of vitamin A, and about 5 milligrams of vitamin E.

a 2017 review He suggested that eating fruits and vegetables is linked to skin health and noted that vitamin C intake is usually associated with consumption of produce.

The review also included studies suggesting that vitamin C can help with collagen production and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.

However, the review did not go so far as to conclusively say that this nutrient can fight aging.


Dobrich says protein is an essential part of a healthy hair diet.

“Our hair is made up of a protein called keratin, so an insufficient protein diet can make hair brittle,” says Dobrich.

One extra-large egg almost boasts about seven grams of protein.

Dark leafy vegetables

Loading up on leafy greens provides the body with plenty of nutrients that can benefit hair, skin, and nails.

Examples of dark leafy greens include:

  • spinach
  • cabbage
  • Swiss chard
  • bok choy
  • green cabbage


Press the oyster bar – your hair and skin will thank you.

“Oysters are an excellent source of zinc,” says Dobrich. Zinc is essential for hair growth and tissue repair.

One cup of oysters contains 97.5 milligrams of zinc. This fish is packed with protein – 14.2 grams per cup.

Water rich foods

Drinking water isn’t the only way to increase your intake. Tomashko says some foods are high in water, including:

a 2018 review It was suggested that more research is needed on hydration and skin health.

Tomashko says it’s not necessary to completely eliminate anything from your diet unless you have an allergy or intolerance.

However, some items should be consumed in moderation.


Tomashko suggests saying “cheer up” with something other than alcohol if you want to roast something every night.

“Alcohol dehydrates you and distracts our bodies from filtering water, thus preventing our bodies from doing their normal daily maintenance, which includes working to keep our skin and nails healthy,” says Tomaschko.

a Study 2018 Among more than 3,000 women aged 18 to 75 from multiple ethnic backgrounds including Caucasian, Asian, black and Latino suggested heavy drinking, defined as more than eight drinks per week. It was associated with signs of facial aging.

These included:

  • puffiness under the eye
  • loss of face volume
  • Increased clarity of blood vessels
  • upper facial lines

Moderate drinking has been linked to under-eye puffiness and a loss of mid-face volume.

processed food

Staying away from ultra-processed foods may reduce the risk of developing skin problems.

“These foods can run the risk of causing inflammation in the body, which can harm the health of our skin and nails,” says Tomashko.

Foods to consider for “once in a while” treatments include:

a Study 2021 More than 15,000 Chinese adults have indicated that eating processed foods may increase the risk of developing atopic dermatitis.

a 2020 review He noted that some studies have linked food processing methods such as frying and high-fat diets to skin aging.

Super sweet drinks

a 2020 review He cited studies that indicated that sugary diets can increase skin aging.

Search from 2016 He points out that low-glycemic diets may help prevent hair loss during menopause.

Tomashko recommends limiting consumption of:

  • Soda
  • juice
  • local iced tea
  • Coffee with lots of sugar

Want to learn more about the relationship between food and your hair, skin and nails? Get the facts below.

Can nutritional supplements help with hair, skin and nail growth?

Michonne says there is some evidence that supplements can stimulate hair, skin and nail growth.

However, people are advised to exercise caution and consult with their provider. Don’t think of supplements as a substitute for a diet rich in healthy foods.

“It is important to note that supplements should not be a substitute for your regular diet,” he says. “Instead, use supplements in conjunction with the whole foods you eat.”

a Older small study 71 patients indicated that biotin can help strengthen nails.

else Study from 2011 Suggested omega-3 supplements may help reduce skin damage caused by UV exposure.

but, Study 2020 He cited several risks related to taking beauty supplements, including an increased risk of cancer with long-term use.

Dobrich says most people in the United States get enough nutrients from diet alone.

What are the best plant foods for hair, skin and nails?

Although protein has been linked to hair and skin health, Dubrich says it’s possible to get these — and other — benefits if you follow a plant-based diet.


  • Nuts and seeds
  • legumes
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Plant iron sources, such as dark leafy greens.
  • Soy-containing foods such as tofu, tempeh, and soy milk

What foods are harmful to your hair, skin and nails?

The good news: No food is completely off-limits unless you have an allergy or intolerance, says Duebrich.

On the other hand, some foods are better enjoyed occasionally, including ultra-processed and fried foods, desserts, sugary drinks, and alcohol.

These foods have been linked to issues such as hair loss, skin aging, dry skin, and atopic dermatitis.

Food and Drug Administration Does not approve of food supplements For safety and efficacy. Dobrich says it’s important to speak with a healthcare professional before beginning to take the supplement.

a Study 2020 Suggested supplements can lead to choking, allergic reactions, and increased risks of cancer and diabetes.

There has been conflicting evidence about whether dairy products, especially cow’s milk, can aggravate acne. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) notes. Talk to a healthcare professional before eliminating dairy products from your diet, as they contain other nutrients.

There is evidence to suggest that certain vitamins, minerals, and types of diet can help improve the health of hair, skin, and nails. These include omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A, C, and E, and high-protein, low-glycemic diets.

Try foods like salmon, nuts, avocado, fruits, and vegetables.

It’s best to avoid ultra-processed sweetened foods. You don’t have to combine them together, but limiting your intake can reduce inflammation and dry skin, and improve hair, skin, and nail health.

Always speak to a healthcare professional before taking a supplement. Most nutrients can be obtained through food alone, and long-term supplementation has risks.

Beth Ann Meyer is a New York-based freelance writer and content strategist specializing in health and parenting writing. Her work has been published in Parents, Shape and Inside Lacrosse. She is one of the founders of the Digital Content Agency Creative Lemonseed He is a graduate of Syracuse University. You can contact her at LinkedIn.

#foods #healthy #hair #skin #nails

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