If your nails are thin and break easily, it may have to do with your diet. Learn what you can eat or drink to get your nails strong and shiny!
#1: Dry brittle nails
Lack of vitamin A and calcium causes dryness and brittleness.
Solution: Drink carrot juice, high in vitamin A and calcium is excellent for strengthening nails.
Lack of protein, folic acid and vitamin C causes hangnails.
Solution: Eat a diet composed of 3 fruit and 7 vegetables in order to supply necessary vitamins, minerals and enzymes. Consume those foods that are rich in silicon and sulphur, such as fish, broccoli and onions. Incorporate food rich in biotin such as Swiss chard, nuts, seeds, carrots and eggs if you tolerate them.
#3: Nails brake easily or white bands
If your nails peel and break easily or white bands develop across the nails, it can be caused by protein deficiency.
Solution: Eat enough protein (50-80 grams a day) from beans, seeds, fish, poultry and free-range meat. If you are taking in an adequate amount of protein then you might be having an issue with digestion. You may require a protein digestive enzyme. Consider an easy to digest protein powder if you avoid eating meat to ensure you get your daily needs covered off. The vegan protein that is easiest to digest and hypo-allergenic is Hemp Protein from www.manitobaharvest.com
#4: Split nails
A lack of sufficient hydrochloric acid can cause splitting nail.
Solution: Beets contain Betaine Hydrocloride that helps the digestive process. Make a fresh beet salad by grating it into your next salad.
#5: Over rounded nail ends or discolouration
Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause dryness and splitting, overly rounded ends and discolouration of nails
Solution: Enjoy seafood or if your vegetarian, consider a B12 supplement. For more information about sources of B12, click here.
#6: White spots
Insufficient zinc can cause development of white spots on the nails.
Solution: Pumpkin seeds, liver and oysters contain rich amounts of zinc.
#7: Cuts or cracks
Cuts and cracks in the nails may indicate a need for more liquids.
Solution: Drink plenty of water by adding a herbal tea bag that is flavoured to your water bottle. When your liquid is pleasant to drink you more likely to finish your full 8 cup servings.
#8: Red skin around cuticules
Red skin around your cuticles can be caused by poor metabolism of essential fatty acids.
Solution: Boost up your omega 3 fats by increasing seeds like chia or flax and make sure to eat lots of cold water fish like salmon and herring. A fish oil such as Ascenta's Nutra-Sea is an excellent product. Ascenta also makes a DHA, GLA and SDA vegetarian product called Nutra-Vege.
#9: Vertical ridges
Many vitamin deficiencies can cause vertical ridges on fingernails, as the body's production of the materials in the nail is interrupted.
Solution: The nail is made from keratin, a type of protein. A nutrient deficiency can be caused by low stomach acid as we age. Consider a digestive aid to increase absorption of repair minerals i.e. silica, protein and vitamins B and C. These nutrients have been known to improve healthy nail growth.
#10: Horizontal ridges
If you are low on iron, horizontal ridges can develop across your nails.
Solution: Red meat, fish, seafood and beans are high in iron but you can also include dried apricots, prunes, raisons, currents, figs, almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, beets, seaweed, dark leafy greens and whole gluten-free grains such as teff, quinoa and amaranth into your diet. Anemia is not only a dietary deficiency of iron, it a can also result in not getting enough Folic Acid or Vitamin B12. B12 is only available in animal foods so if you are a vegetarian/vegan you will need to supplement.
#11: Fungal infections (Onychomycosis)
A fungal nail infection is common condition that begins as a white or yellow spot under the tip of your fingernail or toenail. As the fungal infection goes deeper, nail fungus may cause your nail to discolour, thicken and crumble at the edge. A white/yellow debris will build up under the nail in an advanced condition. This infection can be contagious so it is important to disinfect your shower and bath with a cleaner that contains a natural anti-fungal such as tea tree oil.
Solution: It is important to treat fungal nail infections as much from the inside and as externally. A deep and long-term candida cleanse under the guidance of a Naturopathic Doctor or Holistic Medical Doctor is a good place to start.
Internal supports to speak to your doctor about:
Make sure your feet can breath! Where sandals whenever you can. You might need to replace your foot wear (shoes and sandals) if they have been embedded with the fungus. Disinfect your shower and bath with a cleaner that contains a natural anti-fungal such as tea tree oil. When wearing sock, change them daily.
Nail Care: To achieve maximum results with any natural remedies and topical treatments for toenail fungus, it is essential that you keep the nail trimmed short and filed every week. Disinfect the scissors beforehand so the fungus doesn’t spread to your other nails when you trim them. Discard the emery boards after each use.
Apple Cider Vinegar and Epsom Salt: This topical home treatment should be done daily. Soak your foot with 1/3 of a cup of full strength apple cider vinegar, two cups of hot water and 1/3 of a cup of Epsom salt once or twice a day for at least 30 minutes.
Tea Tree Oil: Apply a coating of tea tree oil at least once a day after your foot soak.
Undecylinic Acid: There are many natural products on the market that contain Undecylinic Acid which can be applied to the infected nails.
One of my favorite products to dramatically improve nail strength is BioSil™.
“Molecular biologists have pinpointed the key structural protein integrally involved in creating smooth skin, thick strong hair, and strong nails. It’s your body’s beauty protein, collagen. During youth, you have a rich abundance of collagen. In addition, the collagen forms itself in a resilient “tight mesh” matrix. This “ideal” collagen condition prevents wrinkles from forming, gives skin elasticity, helps create thick and strong hair. But over the years, collagen diminishes.”
"Prescription For Nutritional Healing" by Dr. James Balch, M.D. and Phyllis A. Balch, C.N.C.