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Healthy nails are gorgeous on their own and make a great base for exciting polishes. As your nails grow, new cells form at the cuticle and old cells are pushed toward your fingertips. That means your hands show what you've been eating for weeks. If you want great fingertips, load your body with foods that support keratin, the protein in hair, nails and skin. Your nails will grow long, strong and beautiful!
Almonds are a must in a diet that helps your nails grow. The toasty-flavored seeds of the almond tree contain high levels of calcium to support keratin growth, vitamin E to help avoid breakage, and plenty of biotin or vitamin B7. Biotin is one of the most important nutrients to help grow strong, bright nails. Your body requires lots of it too because it's water soluble, so keep a jar of almonds around to make snack attacks good for your hands!
The little trees might have wrinkled your nose as a kid, but they'll strengthen your nails as an adult. Steam your broccoli so that it stays a bit crisp and retains its vitamins. Vitamin E keeps nails from splitting, especially as the nail bed grows out. Folic acid, another important B vitamin, supports keratin growth, and zinc helps provide consistent color as nails grow.
Oysters are the best source of zinc you can get in one food. See any white spots or pale discolorations in your nails? That's a zinc deficiency. Eating oysters replenishes your body with lots of zinc -- way more than you need in a day, but not so much you have to worry about it.
Milk, cheese and eggs contain the calcium and vitamin D your body needs to grow healthy nails. Dairy foods are good sources of the full range of B vitamins too, all of which support your nails. Cow and goat milk have vitamin A, which is the main food source for avoiding brittle nails that crack and peel. If you're lactose-intolerant or prefer non-animal products, soy milk does the trick as well.
Carotenoids are foods that are high in vitamin A. They're red and orange plant foods, like carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, apricots, mangoes, and red, orange or yellow bell peppers. Carotenoids are especially good for your nails if you're a smoker. Cigarette smoke can decrease the body's ability to absorb carotenoids and leave fingernails yellow or brittle. Extra foods with vitamin A will combat brittleness.