12 Foods for Stronger Nails and Thicker Hair
How to make your hair thicker and nails stronger
Looking good is just as much about taking care of your body on the inside as it is about using products on the outside. And we're not just talking about your skin: "A nutritious diet promotes healthy nails and hair, too," says Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research in the department of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. But there's no need to add a refrigerator's worth of new foods to your diet. "Since both hair and nails are made of keratin, through a similar process in the body, it's thought that nutrients that help one can also help the other," says Dr. Zeichner. Ready to say bye-bye to brittleness? Read on for foods that will help you achieve thicker hair and healthy nails.
Watch the video: 6 Foods for Beautiful Skin and Hair
"Your hair needs protein to produce keratin, the proteins that make hair strong," says Dr. Zeichner. "If hair doesn't receive enough protein, it can go into a 'resting phase,' causing noticeable hair loss," adds Beth Warren, author of Living a Real Life with Real Food. Try adding a scoop of whey protein to your morning smoothie for simple boost. (Bonus: Whey protein may help control your appetite. In one study, people who drank whey protein ate 18% less two hours later than those who drank a carb-heavy beverage.)
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This quick recipe offers a delicious protein-packed blueberry fix.
Have you jumped on the almond milk bandwagon yet? If you check out labels on many store-bought brands, you'll often find sugar, stabilizers, and other additives. Watch this video to learn how to make your almond milk at home. Not only is it surprisingly easy, you'll save money.
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. "Silicon is a trace mineral thought to increase circulation to the scalp, which is good news for hair growth," says Rebecca Kazin, MD, dermatologist at the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery and the Johns Hopkins Department of Dermatology. That explains why a daily 10-milligram silicon supplement was shown to reduce hair and nail brittleness after 20 weeks, according to the Archives of Dermatological Research. No need to go overboard, though: Most single servings of beer contain more than 10 milligrams of silicon. Experts recommend that having no more than one drink a day if you're a woman, and two if you're a man.
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More research still needs to be done, but some studies suggest a link between vitamin D and hair loss. Example: Women with hair shedding had lower vitamin D levels than women with healthy hair, according to a Skin Pharmacology Physiology study. Plus, Koff says calcium is a key mineral in building healthy hair and nails (note: you need vitamin D to absorb calcium). 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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Salmon is a good source of biotin and protein, along with omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammation, and promote healthy, moisturized skin. And don't forget, your scalp is skin, too: "A healthy scalp means healthy hair follicles, which mean healthy hair," says Dr. Zeichner. Omega-3s' inflammation-reducing effects are also good for your nails: "Inflammation impairs the healthy development of your nail plate," says Dr. Kazin.
Rats deficient in selenium (a trace element linked to protection against oxidative stress) have sparse hair growth, says a study in PLoS One. Just six to eight Brazil nuts meet almost 800% of your recommended daily value, according to the National Institutes of Health.
To keep your strands strong and luscious, snack on some walnuts. They are chock-full of two secret ingredients for gorgeous locks: omega-3s (which keep your hair hydrated) and vitamin E (which repair damaged follicles. Plus, walnuts also contain copper, which studies have shown may keep your natural color rich and stave or premature grayness.
There are so many ways that you can use coconut oil in your daily routine. In addition to using it to cook, you can add it to your beauty routine and even use it in the bedroom. Watch this video for more ways that you can use coconut oil.