Eating a healthy, balanced diet with lots of fresh food, and minimally processed food, is the way to go for healthy hair skin and nails — and overall health. The following foods are excellent sources of the nutrients essential for healthy hair, skin and nails, but double up to help support your general health, too. It’s a win-win!
Salmon is loaded with vitamin D, protein and omega-3 fats that promote hair growth by keeping your scalp healthy. A serve of salmon, tuna or mackerel 2-3 times a week will meet the recommended 250–500 milligrams (mg) of marine-sourced omega-3s (EPA, DHA) per day.
Nuts and seeds
Including almonds, cashews, walnuts (and more) as well as seeds in your diet is a great way to help your hair, skin and nails. Nuts are a good source of protein, vitamin E & B vitamins. Nuts, particularly walnuts and seeds like linseed are great sources of omega-6 fats as well. Grab a handful as a snack or spread natural nut butter on your toast in the morning.
Avocado is a fantastic source of vitamin E, vitamin B and omega-3 fats. Avocados also contain fibre and vitamin C. Use avocado instead of butter on your toast, or chop and add to your favourite salad. Not only are avocados great for hair and skin, but a 2013 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of US adults, published in Nutrition Journal, found those who eat avocado regularly have a better overall diet quality, lower BMI and lower risk of lifestyle diseases than people who avoid it.
Oats are one of the best whole grain sources. They contain protein and biotin — a B vitamin that helps support keratin development. Oats have the added benefits of being low GI so they keep you fuller for longer, as well as being high in a fibre called beta-glucan that helps reduce cholesterol absorption. Keep breakfast simple with a bowl of porridge or bircher muesli to reap the rewards.
Vitamin C is essential to make collagen which prevents hair breakage, boosts collagen production and repairs skin damage caused by UV exposure and environmental toxins. Berries, and other fruits including kiwifruit and citrus, are also loaded with potent antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. These fruits are some of the best to eat to heal damaged hair, skin and nails.
Greens like kale and spinach are another good source of vitamin C and also great sources of phytonutrients, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Spinach also helps with the skin’s elasticity and is a good source of iron, particularly if following a vegetarian diet —just top it with a squeeze of lemon juice to help the absorption.
Sweet potatoes and other orange or red vegetables, including tomatoes, carrots and red capsicum (red peppers) are a great, tasty way to get enough beta-carotene. Beta carotene is converted to vitamin A in the body and is one of the key antioxidants that help keep your skin protected from UV damage. A lack of vitamin A can result in dry hair and skin so be sure to eat lots of orange and red veggies for youthful, healthy skin and hair.
This one sounds simple and it is. Good hydration is not only essential for concentration, energy levels, gut health and overall wellbeing, but it’s also good for your skin too! For well-hydrated skin, hair and nails, drink plenty of water. Be sure to drink at least 1.5-2L (51-68 fl oz) of fluid per day, more if it’s hot. Making a cup of tea helps too — black, green and white tea contains flavonoids which help to protein skin hydration and condition and protect against UV damage.
Good nutrition can keep hair and skin healthy and strong
Many supplements claim to boost the health of your hair, skin and nails, but they aren’t necessary — you can get all the essential nutrients you need from a balanced, wholesome diet.
Your hair, skin and nails will benefit from good nutrition and healthy habits, and eating well is great for your overall health and wellbeing too. Good nutrition will help you feel your best inside and out!