Having shiny, healthy hair and nails can make a major difference in our appearance, and the solution could be right in your kitchen. Registered dietitian Sally Shi-Po Poon shares five foods to eat for maintaining beautiful hair and nails below:
Eggs deliver all the amino acids our body needs to build protein, and both hair and nails are made from a protein called keratin. An extra-large egg contains seven grams of protein, which is equivalent to one ounce of meat, fish or poultry. In general, adults are advised to consume five to eight ounces of meat, poultry, fish, egg or other protein alternatives daily.
Eggs also contain biotin—a key nutrient for maintaining healthy hair and nails. Eggs should be eaten cooked, as avidin found in raw egg whites can interfere with biotin absorption. Cooking denatures avidin, making sure biotin is absorbed in the gut. Other foods that contain biotin include beef liver, salmon and sweet potatoes.
Pine nuts are a good source of copper—one of the key nutrients involved in collagen formation. Collagen is found in our skin, hair and nails. Copper also works with iron to help the body produce red blood cells. Other dietary sources of copper include oysters, organ meats, whole grains, beans, and yeast.
Oysters are an excellent source of protein and zinc. Zinc is found in cells throughout the body and plays a role in immune function, protein synthesis, cell growth, and wound healing. Zinc deficiencies have been linked to hair loss and Beau's lines (indentations that run across the nails).
Other dietary sources of zinc include beef, lamb, pork, poultry, crab, lobster, beans, nuts, fortified breakfast cereals and dairy products.
Beef is an excellent source of iron—one of the key nutrients involved in blood formation in our body. Iron deficiency, or anaemia, has been linked with hair loss and the appearance of spoon nails (soft nails that look scooped out). Other sources of iron include lean meat, poultry, liver, oysters, salmon, tuna, dried beans, dried fruits, egg yolks, fortified cereals, whole grains, and spinach.
Our body absorbs plant-based iron better when you eat it with meat, fish, or poultry. Foods rich in vitamin C, such as guava, kiwifruit, oranges, strawberries, bell peppers, and tomatoes, also increase iron absorption.