Nail Care: How your diet impacts nail health and strength


person holding an orange

What you eat can make a world of difference (Picture: Getty)

Whether it’s the glossiness of your hair, your mood, or the density of your bones, what you eat can impact just about everything.

Nail care, which, let’s face it, is often overlooked day to day, can be heavily influenced by the food we eat, just like skincare.

In fact, your nails can tell you a lot about whether you’re deficient in something, clinical nutritionist Jessica Sepel tells Metro.co.uk.

‘If you have a vitamin deficiency, such as zinc, your nail quality, smoothness, texture and growth rate may be affected,’ she says. 

‘Brittle and weak nails, too, are often a sign of an iron or protein deficiency.’

Those pesky white blotches you occasionally see on your nails usually indicate a vitamin or mineral deficiency too – usually zinc, calcium, B vitamins or essential fatty acids. 

What to eat to promote good nail health

When eating with your nail health in mind, the most important ingredients will include iodine, zinc and selenium, says Sepel.

Together, each food will promote all-round nail health and strength.


person filing nails

Your nails can tell you a lot about whether you’re deficient in something (Picture: Getty Images)

For iodine, seafood, seaweed, dairy and eggs will be your best friend.

‘For zinc, you should eat oysters, beef, seafood, nuts, seeds, beans and dairy,’ Sepel adds.

‘Brazil nuts and leafy green vegetables are also a great source of selenium.’

Can you supplement for nail health?

While you can get everything you need from your diet, supplementing is a good way to not only make sure you’re getting what you need, but to give your nails an extra boost.

‘A mineral-rich vitamin that contains iodine, zinc, iron and selenium, which can really help nail health and strength,’ recommends Sepel. 

She adds that, for nails, collagen is a great addition to a healthy, varied diet. 

‘You can’t go past a good quality collagen formula,’ says Sepel.  

‘Supplementing with marine collagen can support and maintain beneficial collagen levels for healthy and strong nails. 

‘Take three to six grams daily mixed in water, a smoothie, or even added into your coffee, depending on the product.’

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