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What to Eat For Healthy Fingernails

Posted Oct 22 2008 4:37pm 1 Comment

Are you ready to show your finger - and toenails for summer or will you cover them with nail polish? There are a variety of different problems that can affect finger - and toenails.

Sometimes the change in nails can be health related and most commonly nutritional deficiencies.

Health problems including heart disease, respiratory problems and anemia can cause telltale changes in the nails.

Anything that impairs the body's absorption and use of proteins for tissue repair can cause abnormal nail growth.

Poor production of stomach acid or digestive enzymes, poor protein intake, poor nutrition from junk and processed foods, excessive exposure to water, chemicals, and nail biting can all play a part in nail health. This can make nail growth very slow, cause horizontal or vertical ridges and nails may be brittle.

Finding and correcting these problems can make a visible difference in nails, sometimes within weeks.

Health problems can affect the condition of nails...

Blackish, splinter like bits in the nails can be a sign of bacterial endocarditis, a serious heart infection.

White nail color can be a sign of liver diease.

Yellowish, thickened, slow-growing nails can be related to lung disease.

Easily broken nails can be a sign of deficiency of calcium, silica and certain trace minerals.
--Calcium-rich foods include all dairy foods, especially yogurt, dark green leafy vegetables, almonds, beans, and sardines.

Horizontal ridges can be an indicator of injury, infection or illness. May be an under active thyroid.

Vertical ridges may point to poor nutrient absorption due to junk food and processed food diet.

Pitted nails may be associated with psoriasis.

Spoon-shaped nails can mean an iron deficiency.
--Eat more iron-rich foods such as eggs, liver, green-leafy vegetables, blackstrap molasses, almonds, poultry, whole grain breads and cereals, avocados, beets, dates, lima beans, pumpkins, peaches, pears, prunes, watercress, soybeans, raisins.

Very pale colored nail beds may be a sign of anemia.

For brittle or poorly growing nails eggs are a good source of sulfur-containing amino acids, which are excellent for supporting nail growth.

Avoid refined sugar and flour. This helps keep blood-insulin levels under control, which will allow better absorption of proteins.

Take a good enzyme supplement.

Eat foods rich in Vitamin A.
--Vitamin A food sources; milk, butter, cheese and eggs - chicken, kidney, liver, liver pate - fish oils, mackerel, trout, herring.

Another source of vitamin A is a substance called beta-carotene. This is converted by the body into vitamin A. It is found in orange, yellow and green vegetables and fruits.

If you have white spots under your nails eat foods with vitamin B and zinc.
B-vitamins are abundant in organ meats, like liver and kidneys, as well as fish, cheese, yogurt, milk, eggs, mushrooms, beans (especially chickpeas), avocadoes, bananas, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.

Sources of zinc include beef, lamb, pork, crabmeat, turkey, chicken, lobster, clams and salmon.

If you are a vegetarian, dairy products such as milk and cheese, yeast, peanuts, beans, and wholegrain cereals, brown rice, whole wheat bread, potato and yogurt have zinc. Pumpkin seeds offer one of the most concentrated non-meat food sources of zinc.

More food sources for good nail health:

--Vitamin C in citrus fruits, red peppers, broccoli, dark greens, kiwis, and strawberries.
--Folic acid is plentiful in orange juice, beans, whole grains, and green vegetables.
--Essential fatty acids are found in fatty fish such as tuna, salmon, trout, mackerel, and herring, as well as flaxseeds, nuts, seeds, and tofu.

Paying attention to nail hygienge and good healthy nutrition may help you avoid infection, ingrown toenails and other nail problems.

source: Smart medicine for healthy living, Janet Zand, ND, OMD, LAc,. Allan N. Spreen, MD, CNC,. Dr. James B. LaValle, RPh, DHM, ND, CCN. pages, 434-435

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Comments (1)
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I have always had weak nails. Recently I had artificial nails on for 3 months and just removed them to find alot of damage underneath. All nails have white color to them and one looks like it is black and blue. 2 of them are seperated totally from the nailbed. I am worried that I will lose my nails. I am going to see a Doctor but what can I do right now? 
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