We don’t doubt that if you are anything like us (we are guessing you are because you’ve landed yourselves on our blog, hey!) you are obsessed with all things skincare and beauty.
Most of us can probably agree that we all have the same goals when it comes to our hair, skin and nails; we want them to be bright, clear, strong, supple, shiny, glowy and everything in between, which is why we are sourcing the best quality skincare of course (oh hey maaemo) to help us achieve one of those things.
If you are as skin savvy as I wish I was (I’m working on it okay), you’ve likely got your skincare regime down pat and will admit to having a beautifully curated collection of scrubs and serums and a routine more prominent than most, but - have you ever considered the foods and nutrients you eat and the effect that these might have on the quality of your skin, hair and nails?
As a matter of fact, what we put into our bodies is equally as important for the health of our extremities as what we put onto them; so much so that failing to consume a healthy balanced diet can physically alter the structural integrity and function of your skin. It turns out the old saying ‘you are what you eat’ is somewhat literal - who would have thought?
Before we get into the best types of foods to eat for healthy hair, skin and nails, we wanted to remind you that no supplement can outweigh a poor diet, and that no single food or nutrient alone can solve your skin concerns, damaged hair or brittle nails. The aim of the game is to consume a nutritious diet that prioritises wholefoods and includes an abundance of vitamins and minerals. Don’t forget to simultaneously work on your relationship with food (how you view and talk about food) to assist with stress management and anxieties associated with eating to help improve the condition of your hair, skin and nails too.
So, without further ado, here are my top 8 dietitian-approved foods for shiny hair, supple skin and strong nails:
Strawberries are rich in one of our favourite antioxidants - Vitamin C. Vitamin C supports the production of collagen and protects the skin from premature ageing and free radical damage.
Chickpeas and other varieties of legumes are a wonderful plant based source of iron to bring oxygen and suppleness to the skin. Low iron levels have also been associated with brittle nails. Lentils and legumes are also full of prebiotics to fuel the beneficial bacteria in our gut and keep our hair, skin & nails happy and healthy.
Chia Seeds (and hemp seeds) contain omega 3 essential fatty acids, proven to reduce inflammation and increase suppleness in the hair and skin.
Like chia seeds, salmon and other types of oily fish are an excellent source of omega 3’s. They do also notably contain high levels of biotin too, which is a type of ‘B Vitamin’ commonly found in hair skin and nail tablets to increase the thickness of our nails and reduce skin flakiness.
Oats are not only a favourite of ours because they are the star ingredient in porridge, but oats also contain a nutrient called Silica which again assists in collagen formation and skin elasticity.
Wholegrain foods such as whole grain bread, wholemeal pasta, quinoa and other grains and cereal products are a type of slow-releasing carbohydrate. These types of foods assist in stabilising our blood sugar and insulin levels. High amounts of insulin in the blood has been associated with increased sebum production and likelihood of breakouts.
Yoghurt is a source of protein which is found in every cell in our body. Consuming enough protein will increase the strength of our hair, skin and nails. Additionally, yoghurt is one of the best dietary sources of probiotics to improve our gut health and the overall appearance of our skin.
8- Brazil Nuts
Lastly, brazil nuts contain more selenium (a type of mineral) than any other food. Selenium has proven to improve the smoothness and tightness of the skin by maintaining elastin. Just 2 brazil nuts contain your daily requirement of selenium. We love mixing brazil nuts with fresh berries and yoghurt for the ultimate hair, skin and nail concoction.
Skincare and diet aside, it’s also important to recognise that factors such as stress, genetics, medications, medical complications, pollution, sleep quality, alcohol consumption, sun exposure, dehydration and smoking can all affect the health of your hair, skin and nails.
Written by Millie Padula- Accredited dietitian.
If you would like individualized advice on how to optimise the quality of your hair, skin and nails, please seek guidance from an Accredited Practising Dietitian.