There’s a saying that says our nails, hair, and skin often tell us how healthy we are, and are signs of how healthy our diet is. Foods that inflame our cells and cause a breakdown end up tearing apart the collagen, keratin, and elastin that provide supple skin, strong and silky hair, and strong, fast-growing nails. Toxic overload, stress, and poor diet all contribute to lackluster skin, dry and brittle hair, and brittle nails that never seem to grow.
One of the neatest things about eating a healthy diet is your nails, hair and skin are often the first things to change for the better when your diet improves. A plant-based diet provides all the nutrients your nails, hair and skin need to look their best. Some foods, however, do contain more nutritional properties that support their growth and overall health than others do. Here are five of the best to offer up some of the most overall nutritional components to provide amazing nails, hair, and skin quickly.
Almonds are rich in Vitamin E, a natural antioxidant that supports collagen production and provides anti-inflammatory benefits for the body. Almonds also contain a large amount of plant-based protein, rich in amino acids that are needed to support collagen growth and strengthen the body. Almonds are also a great source of calcium, which provides nutritional support for our bones, hair, skin, teeth, and nails.
They’re also alkaline-forming when consumed raw, compared to acidic nuts like cashews and peanuts (technically legumes.) Alkaline foods support detoxification and healthy pH levels, which prevent inflammation, acidity, and poor health. Lastly, almonds are rich in the B vitamin biotin, which is needed to strengthen the nails and hair. It is the main vitamin found in most nail, hair and skin vitamins.
Choose the Best: Always go for raw, organic almonds or raw, organic (no salt added) almond butter. Roasted nuts and seeds are more acidic and processed and inorganic nuts and seeds are often contaminated with pesticides, mold, toxins, and other environmentally dangerous chemicals. Raw foods are also rich in enzymes that increase absorption and digestion of nutrients.
Your body soaks up the nutrients from green foods like a magical nutritional sponge! Vitamins A, C, E, K, and even B vitamins and iron are all provided to your body when you eat leafy greens. Green foods such as spinach, broccoli, kale, watercress, and collards also contain a good amount of calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Minerals are crucial to the health of your nails, hair, and skin. They’re also water-rich so they won’t dehydrate your body and they provide an alkaline environment to clear out toxins in the body. Spirulina, a dark green seaweed is also a fantastic source of biotin, protein, iron, and Vitamin B12 that will support your nails, hair, and skin even further.
Choose the Best: Always go for darker green foods (from whole foods not processed green food products) whenever possible. Superfood green powders and spirulina are also recommended. Always choose organic and non-GMO whenever possible. See our assortment of hearty salads, wraps, green smoothies, entrées, and green juices that include a wealth of green foods.
Sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, and winter squash all contain high amounts of Vitamin A which support your nails, hair, and skin as well. These foods are also rich in Vitamin C, an anti-oxidant that lower stress which can weaken collagen, elastin, and keratin in the body. Vitamin C also acts as an antioxidant to combat free radical production that can lead to aging. When cooking these foods, always steam, bake, or cook in a slow cooker instead of frying them. This will enhance their antioxidant content without overcooking them. If you’d like to eat them raw, by all means, please do. Try Roasted Veggies With Buttery Garlic and Spinach Salad, Sweet Potato Salad (raw), Curried Carrots With Pistachios, Warming Carrot Ginger Soup, Stuffed Sage Carnival Squash, Apple Butternut Squash Soup, Gluten-Free, No Sugar Added Pumpkin Pie, and Pumpkin Ginger Noodle Soup.
Choose the Best: Choose whole versions of these foods whenever possible (for instance fresh over canned) and if you can’t afford organic all the time, don’t sweat it. These foods are lower in pesticides than some others such as greens, apples, nuts, seeds, and more porous veggies and fruits
4. Raw Organic Pumpkin Seeds
Every part of the pumpkin is a superfood! Pumpkin seeds are some of the most potent, alkaline, nutritious seeds you can eat. They’re rich in protein, iron, magnesium, potassium, biotin, and omega 3 fatty acids. They’re also alkaline-forming like almonds so they build the body instead of breaking it down. Pumpkin seeds improve your mood, energy, and of course, your nails, hair, and skin. Eat 1/4 cup a day and you’ll see stronger nails, hair, and clearer skin in no time. Try them in The Glow Bowl for an antioxidant-packed meal that your nails, hair, and skin will love in every single way!
Choose the Best: Always go for raw and organic pumpkin seeds instead of roasted and salted. Whole Foods also makes plain organic pumpkin seeds under their 365 brand (which automatically contain no GMO’s, herbicides or pesticides).
Oats are one of the most inexpensive superfoods you can eat. Even if you don’t digest glutinous grains well, gluten-free oats are there to save you. Whole grains are important for most everyone’s diets. Whether you choose wild rice, wheat products, oats, barley, rye, brown rice, black rice, or quinoa, they’re all filled with certain properties to provide your body with support. Oats have specific benefits that your nails, hair, and skin will appreciate. These nutrients include protein, biotin and other B vitamins, anti-inflammatory properties, magnesium, and potassium. They are also filled with fiber and antioxidants. Oats lower inflammation, clear the skin, reduce stress, and provide your cells with nutritional support. Try soaking your oats overnight with some coconut yogurt to make an incredibly nutritious, beauty-friendly breakfast, or consider some Creative Add-Ins for Oatmeal.
Choose the Best: Purchase organic, non-GMO old-fashioned rolled oats or steel cut instead of instant oats as the healthiest option. These will provide more nutrients, are less processed, and are free of toxins and allergens from the environment that could occur with inorganic brands and varieties.
Other foods your hair loves:
- all green vegetables
- wild rice
- chia seeds
- hemp seeds
- tahini (sesame seed butter)
- edamame (young green soybeans)
You truly can eat your way to both good health and to natural beauty. Leave the pricey products on the shelf and fill your diet with whole foods. You won’t believe how much your body will respond and appreciate your efforts!
If you enjoy articles like this and want more, we highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App. For those that don’t have it, it’s a brilliant food app available for both Android and iPhone. It’s a great resource for anyone looking to cut out or reduce allergens like meat, dairy, soy, gluten, eggs, grains, and more find awesome recipes, cooking tips, articles, product recommendations and how-tos. The app shows you how having diet/health/food preferences can be full of delicious abundance rather than restrictions.
Image Source: Curry Spiced Carrots