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Indian Foods for healthy Nails
The diet must be balanced, with a focus on: Biotin, Vitamins (A, B12, C), Calcium, Iron, Silica, Zinc, Proteins, Essential fatty acids, Water, and Enzymes
Biotin strengthens keratin, the protein from which nails are formed. Keratin is the main constituent of nail and hair. Insufficient biotin can result in slow growing color-less nails. It is also responsible for hair loss
- Good dietary source: Peanuts, Filberts, Almonds, Soybeans, Egg, Cashews, Yogurt, Haddock, Sweet potatoes, Swiss chard, Salmon, Milk, Tomatoes, Carrots, Avocado, Papaya, Banana, Tuna
- Chronic consumption of raw egg whites reduces biotin availability by binding with avidin to form a non-absorbable complex.
Insufficient Vitamin A may cause nails to be dry and brittle, and slows down the growth of the nail. Vitamin A is essential for the growth of the nail.
There are two types of Vitamin A: Retinol and Carotenoids. Retinol is found in animal and dairy foods. Carotenoids are found in plant foods.
Major sources of Retinol are: milk, eggs, liver
Major Carotenoids are: carrots, cantaloupes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, broccoli, and spinach.
Insufficient Vitamin B12 can result in excessive dryness, very rounded and curved ends and darkening of nails, They may be flat and thin. Vitamin B12 promotes healthy nails.
Vitamin B12 is found only in meat, eggs, and dairy products. If you are vegetarian and don't eat eggs, your main source remains dairy products. Raw fresh milk has highest amount of Vitamin b12. Boiling milk and fermentation reduces Vitamin B12. The boiled milk, and home made Dahi yogurt, Paneer, and Chenna have reduced amounts of B12.
In United States, the milk is pasteurized and not boiled. One cup of milk per day will give about 0.88 mcg of Vitamin B12. Two cups of milk gives sufficient B12 for an adult.
The deficiency can lead to Spoon-shaped nails, Hangnails, and Reddish brown spot
Vitamin C is vital to the structure of the nails.
The best source for Vitamin C are: Red Bell peppers, Green Bell Peppers, Citrus fruits
Calcium deficiency can cause white lined bands across the nail beds. Calcium makes nails strong and promotes growth.
Dairy products, dried beans, leafy vegetables are good source of Calcium
Vertical ridges may appear due to iron deficiency. The pink color nail bed is the sign of a healthy nail attributable to Iron
The best source for Iron are: organ of red meats (liver), Leafy Vegetables. The iron found in animal foods is readily bio-available. The iron from the plant foods can be made more bio-available with Vitamin C, or other animal foods
Silica helps the structural formation of the nail and production of collagen. Deficiency can lead to brittle nails
The silica is normally found in the skin of vegetables, such as potato skins, the husk of wheat. It is also the fibrous stuff within the food such as the fibers on the pit of the mango, or the fibers within the celery. Most of the beers are an excellent source of silica.
Asparagus, Beer, Celery, Chickpeas skin, Cucumber skin, Green beans, Leeks, Mango, Moong bean Sprouts, Pork rinds, Potato skin, Rhubarb, and Strawberries.
Zinc deficiency can cause poor nail growth, White spots on the nails, white lines in or across the nail. Zinc and Folic Acid are vital for good nail and hair growth.
Oysters contains more zinc per serving than any other food
- Good dietary sources: Oysters, Beef shanks, Crab (Alaska king), Pork shoulder, Chicken leg, Pork tenderloin, Lobster, Dried Beans, Cashews, Yogurt, Raisin, Chickpeas, Cheese, Almonds, Milk, Chicken breast, Red Kidney beans, Peas, Oatmeal, Flounder
- Zinc from animal foods is more bio-available than from plant-foods. In addition, legumes and whole-grains contain phytates that bind zinc and inhibit its absorption. Sprouting (Moong or Chickpea sprouts), and leavening (Making Naan with yeast) can increase bio-availability of Zinc
Insufficiency and poor quality of protein can cause White bands across nails, Brittle, concave, ridged, white half moons
Nail is basically a protein. We need good and complete proteins. Most complete protein is Eggs, followed by other meats fowls and seafood. For vegetarians, the best source of proteins are dried-beans, dairy products, and nuts and seeds
Essential Fatty acids
Insufficient or poor metabolism of essential fatty acids can cause red skin around cuticles; thin and brittle nails. Fatty acids make nails look glossier and flexible.
The best source of omega 3 is seafood fatty fish like salmon. Vegetarians can rely on Flaxseeds, Walnuts and Pistachios
Insufficient water or fluid intake can cause cuts and cracks in the nails
Drink 8 to 10 cups of water per day
Insufficient hydrochloric acid/digestive enzymes can lead to splitting of nails
Eat raw fresh fruits and vegetables to increase digestive enzymes
-Excessive salt intake can cause external fibrous growth
- Excessive consumption of red meats and refined foods can cause washboard ridges
- Severe malnutrition may result in a horizontal line across the nail
- Garlic improves blood flow to the nail beds.
- Acidophilus fights fungal infections that affect nails.
- Silicon promotes firmness and strength of the nails. Sources: onions, avocados, whole wheat, comfrey, oats, strawberries, alfalfa, rice and nettle.
- Folic acid provides flexibility and strength to the nail. Sources: Spinach, citrus fruits, broccoli, berries, whole grains and also legumes and kale.
Example of nail-healthy foods
- Naan made with whole-grain wheat flour and yeast
- Brown Basmati Rice
- Brown Rice and whole black beans make a high quality protein
- Dahi yogurt, Paneer
- Sprouted Moong beans
- Raw Spinach, Cooked Spinach
- Apples, Grapes, Papaya
- Raw Carrots, Carrot Juice
- Raw celery
- Garlic, Onions, Ginger
- Chicken curry made with thighs, drumsticks
- Lamb curry made with shank
- Kaleji (Chicken-liver or Lamb-liver ) fry
- Salmon, Tuna, Oysters
- Nuts and seeds (Almonds, Walnuts, Peanuts, Sesame, Flaxseeds)
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