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If you haven’t taken a deep dive into Keratin, then now is the time!

Keratin is an essential protein that’s found in your nails, hair, skin, tooth enamel, and internal organs. Yet, when it comes to Keratin’s superpowers it’s all about boosting the strength of your hair and nails — meaning your hair grows longer and thicker without splitting and your nails are less likely to break — and it also maintains the structure of your skin — upkeeping that youthful glow for longer. What does this mean?

No more invasive beauty routines or chemical-filled products! So, how can you maximize the keratin in your body?

First and foremost, there are a handful of plant-based foods that help boost the production of keratin in your body including protein and iron-rich foods, as well as certain vitamins. Plus, you can also invest in some great plant-based supplements to give yourself a bit more of a boost!

What is Keratin?

Keratin isn’t something you acquire, but it’s actually something you already have. So, what is it?

Keratin is a “protein that makes up your hair, skin, and nails” and it’s also found in tooth enamel, “internal organs, and glands.” You may also hear this protein referred to as a protective protein, which means it’s “less prone to scratching or tearing than other types of cells.”

Yet, it’s a little more complicated than that.

Keratin is an all-encompassing term for keratinocytes — “living cells in your skin” — which work to make a “protective layer that provides flexible strength and keeps water and other external material out of the body.” Keratin is found in hair products and supplements, boasting to boost the health of hair, nails, and skin by strengthening them.

While most forms of keratin are found in animal-based products — such as “feathers, horns, and wool” — if you do your due diligence, it’s easy to find vegan supplemental forms. On top of that, there is a slew of plant-based foods that help increase the synthesis of keratin within your body.

Health Benefits of Boosting Keratin Synthesis

Now we know what keratin is and what it does for our body, but are there health benefits that come from trying to boost your keratin production? In fact, there are a few health benefits that you may be interested in!

Strengthens Hair, Nails, and Skin

You probably already guessed it, but keratin is integral for strong, healthy, and happy hair, nails, and skin! Alright, but how does this work?

Keratin smooths the “cells that overlap to form your hair strands” — called the “hair cuticle” — which makes your hair look full and glossy.

Of course, like I always say, every human body is different and this also applies to your hair, nails, and skin, therefore if you plan on taking keratin to keep a few things in mind. The effects of keratin vary greatly depending on “whether your hair is healthy, to begin with, what the natural thickness of your hair is, and what kind of keratin treatment you use.”

Wound Healing

Along with promoting that healthy skin glow, keratin may also help to boost your skin’s ability to heal wounds.

Keratin has been found to “help aid healing in superficial cuts, surgical wounds, leg ulcers, diabetic foot ulcers, first- and second-degree buns, as well as skin grafts.” Alright, so how does keratin achieve this? Research shows that keratin helps to “stimulate cell growth” and gets those wonderful “healthy cells to the affected area.”

Best Plant-Based Foods that Boost Keratin!

Oven-Dried Crispy Onions

Oven-Dried Crispy Onions/One Green Planet

While supplements are an excellent way to make sure you’re giving your body everything it needs, you generally are also consuming other non-natural ingredients as well. Unfortunately, that’s just how it goes when you consume a man-made product. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to try your hand at boosting keratin via your diet first.

When seeking a keratin-boosting diet make sure to include lots of protein, iron and zinc-rich foods, vitamin C, and vitamin B. Each of these nutrients plays an important role in keratin production in the body.

Here are a few specific foods that you should include in your new keratin diet!

1. Onions

It’s almost impossible to not begin salivating when that smell of sauteed onion hits your nose! While onions are a great aromatic flavoring, they also happen to be great at boosting keratin synthesis. Onions — along with other allium aromatics such as garlic — contain a compound called “N-acetylcysteine, a plant antioxidant that your body converts into an amino acid called L-cysteine,” which is also a “component of keratin.” On top of that, onion is a great source of folate, “an essential micronutrient necessary for maintaining healthy hair follicles.”

Try a few of these tasty onion-rich recipes: Oven-Dried Crispy Onions, Braised Kale and Onion Almondine, Spicy Sweetcorn and Onion Fritters, or this Garlic Miso and Onion Soup.

2. Sweet Potatoes

If you practice a plant-based diet then you most likely keep a sweet potato in the pantry at all times. Not only is sweet potato a wonderful healthy carbohydrate and rich in “potassium, manganese, and vitamins B6 and C,” but it’s also a great booster for keratin.

Sweet potatoes are “high in provitamin A carotenoids” which “promotes keratin synthesis and is essential for skin and hair health.”

It’s not a challenge to add sweet potatoes to your diet! Try out a few of these sweet potato-based recipes: Cajun Spiced Japanese Sweet Potato Fries, Sweet Potato Ice Cream, Sweet Potato Chili, or these Sweet Potato and Lentil Patties.

3. Sunflower Seeds

Nuts and seeds are a staple of a plant-based diet, yet when it comes to boosting that keratin production, you’ll want to focus on integrating sunflower seeds!

Sunflower seeds are rich in “both biotin and protein,” which Support keratin production. In fact, about a fourth of a cup — think about sunflower seed butter — you’ll get around “[seven] grams of protein and 2.6 mcg of biotin.”

Yes, you can sprinkle sunflower seeds on salads, in soups, and add them to a sandwich, but you may not get the volume you need to boost keratin production. This is where sunflower seed spreads and dips come in handy!

Here are a few recipes to try out: Spelt-Flax Crackers With Sunflower Seed Pate, Sunflower Butter Dressing, Sunflower Seed Pate, or this Sunflower ‘Cheddar’ Spread.

Vegan Keratin-Boosting SupplementsGarden of Life mykind Organic Plant Collagen Builder

Garden of Life mykind Organic Plant Collagen Builder/

1. Garden of Life mykind Organic Plant Collagen Builder

This Garden of Life mykind Organic Plant Collagen Builder supplement is filled with great plant-based ingredients to help boost that keratin production! This supplement uses whole food biotin (B vitamin) from organic sesbania, whole food silica from organic bamboo, and antioxidants from organic pomegranate, turmeric, amla, and green and rooibos teas. Garden of Life promises this product will help “restore and maintain youthful levels of collagen, keratin, and elastin.” Plus, this product is vegan certified, certified USDA Organic, non-GMO project verified, gluten-free certified, and Kosher Made (Star K). A 60-tablet package costs $23.13.

2. MaryRuth’s Vegan Collagen Boosting Gummies for Hair Skin & Nail Health

If you’re looking for a verified and trusted vegan supplement brand — that also provides high-quality product — look no further than MaryRuth’s! This MaryRuth’s Vegan Collagen Boosting Gummies for Hair Skin & Nail Health supplement hits all the marks, it’s vegan, non-GMO, certified organic, nut-free, dairy-free, plant-based, and sugar-free. This supplement is specifically “formulated to help your body build new collagen itself.” A 90-count package costs $29.95.

3. Amen Plant-Based Vegan Collagen Builder Supplement

Amen offers a truly unique formula! This Amen Plant-Based Vegan Collagen Builder Supplement uses 300 mg of vitamin C, 30 mcg of vegan biotin, 10 mg of lutein from Marigolds, and organic broccoli, cranberry, blueberry, and holy basil leaf. All of these plant-based ingredients seek to naturally boost the body’s ability to create collagen, including keratin protein! A 30-tablet package costs $19.95.

Related Articles

Looking for more information on naturally boosting the health of your hair, nails, and skin from plant-based sources? Here are a few additional resources to check out!

Learn How to Cook Plant-Based Meals at Home!

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup/One Green Planet

Reducing your meat intake and eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammationheart healthmental wellbeingfitness goalsnutritional needsallergiesgut health, and more! Dairy consumption also has been linked to many health problems, including acnehormonal imbalancecancerprostate cancer and has many side effects.

For those of you interested in eating more plant-based, we highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest plant-based recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.

Here are some great resources to get you started:

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