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10 Superfoods for Stronger Hair and Nails

Hair and nails need adequate nutrition to stay healthy and strong. And because they are both made of keratin, they benefit from similar foods. Here we have listed some food options for you that you should have daily to don beautiful hair and nails.

Fashion & Beauty By Ariba Khaliq / Oct 04, 2014

Beauty from Within

You can’t just look good by using products on the outside of your body; the inside is just as essential. And we’re not just referring to your skin, but your hair and nails too. And to have healthy hair and nails, you wouldn’t need to add a refrigerator’s worth of new foods to your diet. Both these things are made of keratin, and a similar process in the body makes them, so nutrients that help one can help the other. Whether it is in your hair or your nails, brittleness shouldn’t be allowed. Here are some superfoods that will give immense boost to your hair and nail health.

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Whey Protein

Keratin is the protein that makes your hair stronger and to make keratin, your hair needs protein. When it lacks protein, your hair goes into a ‘resting phase’ which gradually leads to noticeable hair loss. A scoop of whey protein in your daily smoothie can give your hair a great boost. Also, whey protein helps control your appetite, so you benefit two-ways from this superfood.

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Red Meat

Sure you love your juicy steak, but did you know it is loaded with protein and iron? Iron is another essential nutrient for healthy hair and nails. An iron-deficiency or anaemia can cause people to have thin hair. And according to the American Family Physician, iron-deficiency is associated with koilonychia— -- a nail disease characterized by spoon-shaped nails. But, before heading on to add red meat to your daily menu, note that it is high in saturated fats and should only be indulged in once a week.

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Your body’s cells suffer free radical damage which can increase stress hormones and inflammation, impacting all body cells, including those of hair and nails. This damage be combated with the help of antioxidants and among fruits and dark greens, blueberries have one of the highest antioxidant properties of all fruits.

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Who doesn’t know that almond oil benefits your hair like none other? Besides being a rich source of protein, almonds are loaded with magnesium, which is helpful in maintaining healthy hair and nails. Stress is a major culprit in causing hair loss, and magnesium is Mother Nature’s answer to stress. If you have vertical ridges in your nails, they indicate a magnesium deficiency. Get your daily dose of this mineral through leafy greens, cacao nibs, and soybeans.

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Now who would have thought you would get a good reason to drink beer?! Beer is one of the richest sources of silicon in the average diet, says research from the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. And silicon is believed to increase blood circulation to the scalp. This is why, Archives of Dermatological Research recommends a daily 10 milligram silicon supplement that showed to reduce hair and nail brittleness after 20 weeks. A single serving of beer contains 10 milligrams of silicon, so you don’t need to go overboard with your alcohol.

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A lot of biological processes in our body need zinc, such as making proteins in your hair and nails. According to the National Institutes of Health, oysters contain far more zinc than any other foods known- an astonishing 74 grams per serving. But not everyone can afford to have oysters every day and that’s when beef, poultry, fortified cereals, and baked beans can come to your rescue.

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Though there isn’t enough research to validate it, but some studies have shown a link between vitamin D and hair loss. As compared to women with healthy hair, hair shedding was noticed in women with a lack of vitamin D. Also, calcium is another key mineral that builds strong hair and nails. Now, in order to get absorbed, calcium needs the aid of vitamin D. So, both of them are important to have goodly hair and nails. Of course, vitamin-D fortified milk offers both, but speak to your doctor about a vitamin D supplement if you think you might be deficient.

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Eggs are rich sources of protein, and contain some vitamin D and biotin. Biotin is a B-complex vitamin that plays a role in the development of keratin. A person with biotin deficiency often has weak hair and nails and major nail concerns can be dealt with biotin supplement. According to a Journal of Drugs in Dermatology review, a daily dose of 2.5 milligrams may strengthen nails. But, this is too much to get from foods; at least 300 eggs would suffice for that quantity.

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Salmon again has biotin and protein, along with omega-3 fatty acids. Fatty acids help reduce inflammation, and promote healthy, moisturised skin. Your scalp is skin too, so it will benefit from all these nutrients present in salmon. When your scalp will be healthy, it will have healthy hair follicles which will then produce healthy hair. And the inflammation-reducing properties of omega-3 fatty acids are god for your nails too because inflammation mars the development of your nail plate.

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Brazil Nuts

A study published in PloS One found selenium-deficient rats to have sparse hair growth. Selenium is a trace element linked to protection against oxidative stress. Just six to eight Brazil nuts meet almost 800% of your recommended daily value, according to the National Institutes of Health.

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