The top 5 foods for healthy hair, skin and nails
Your beauty routine doesn’t start in the bathroom – make these easy kitchen swaps to make the hair, skin and nails of your dreams a reality
No matter how expensive your conditioner or how fresh your manicure, there’s no substitute for the glow which comes with genuinely healthy hair and nails. The same goes for skin – so it’s lucky that all three benefit from the same range of nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
Use these easy food swaps to fill your diet with exactly what you need to get that shine you always wanted. From proteins like collagen and keratin, fats like omega-3 and vitamins and minerals like biotin and magnesium, the combination might be just what you need for hair, skin and nails which are healthier than ever before.
If you’re looking to rejuvenate your skin, consider the humble egg. The fatty acids in the yolks can help hydrate skin, while a protein called albumin, found in the whites, has been shown to tighten the pores and to remove excessive oil.
Eggs can also be used to bolster the collagen and keratin proteins in both your skin and in dry or damaged hair – in fact, the sulfur which gives eggs their trademark smell is crucial for the production of these proteins. That’s why some swear by whipping eggs up and using them as a homemade hair mask. Just maybe don’t fry the eggs first.
Bite-sized advice: Eating eggs will fill your body with hair-helping and skin-saving proteins like albumin, collagen and keratin.
- Sweet potatoes
You might have heard of biotin, a supplement which is trusted by many as a catch-all for healthy hair, healthy skin and healthy nails. It’s a powerful B-complex vitamin which promotes the amino acids and healthy cell-building necessary for all three, and you can find tons of it in an unlikely source.
Yep, sweet potatoes are one of the best natural sources of biotin, providing around 20% of your daily recommended intake per cup. If you’re not a picky eater, serve your sweet potato with a helping of offal to really see benefits as far as your nails are concerned – a single serving of beef liver will exceed your entire RDA of biotin.
Bite-sized advice: Fill your diet with biotin-rich foods like sweet potato, spinach, liver and egg to build strong and shiny nails.
Another orange veg which packs a beauty punch, carrots are better for a lot more than just seeing in the dark. They’re absolutely packed with vitamin C, which can help heal skin disorders like psoriasis and is crucial for the strong immune system you’ll need to shine.
Carrots get their hue from a pigment called beta carotene, which floods your body with vitamin A and provides your skin with a healthy glow. But unless you’re looking for the food world’s fastest acting fake tan, do beware – overeating foods rich in beta carotene can actually turn your skin a orange, albeit temporarily.
Bite-sized advice: Boost your skin health and your general wellbeing with foods rich in vitamin C-filled, beta carotene-packed foods like carrots, oranges and apricots.
- Oily fish
Fat might have once been the enemy of those looking to stay healthy, but dieticians and doctors have long been coming around to the benefits of certain types of the oily stuff. Take omega-3, the fat found in oily fish, and a name you might recognise from some of your favourite shampoos.
After all, Omega-3 is a miracle tonic for keeping your hair strong and smooth, nourishing each strand from the follicle up. Research in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology has even found that omega-3 can be used as an effective treatment for women with hair loss.
Bite-sized advice: If the thought of fish oil pills triggers your gag reflex, keep hair healthy by eating plenty of oily fish like salmon and tuna.
If you’re talking about using healthy fats to bolster your skin, hair and nails, a squirrel’s diet of nuts and seeds might help you make the most of a range of benefits across the spectrum. Almonds and sunflower seeds are two of the most biotin-rich foods on the planet, with the latter also boasting strengthening minerals like copper and manganese.
In fact, it’s in their impressive mineral content where nuts can really make a difference to your beauty regime. After all, not getting enough magnesium can lead to vertical ridges in your nails or a dry, flaky scalp under your hair – while deficiences of iron and zinc can even cause hair loss. Almonds and cashews are filled with the former, while you’ll find plenty of the latter in peanuts and pine nuts.
Bite-sized advice: Optimise the mineral content of nuts by swapping unhealthy afternoon snacks for magnesium and biotin-rich almonds and cashews.
If you’re looking to improve your vitamin and mineral intake – and see great results for your hair, skin and nails – start your free personalised quiz to get tailored vitamin recommendations, just for you.
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