12 Foods That Give Your Hair, Skin, and Nails a Boost
Foods You might be no stranger to dropping a dime on self-care treatments like blowouts, facials, and mani-pedis. But getting (and keeping) your hair, skin, and nails healthy takes more than a few appointments. The right nutrition can go a long way toward improving the appearance of all three—and you might be able to keep some of that cash in your wallet. Instead, head to the supermarket for these 12 foods.
Foods for Hair and Nails
Both hair and nails are made up of a protein called keratin, meaning that they both need similar nutrients to thrive. The following list of foods serves up a double whammy.
Your most basic dinner go-to may not be the most thrilling thing to your taste buds, but it’s doing wonders for your hair and nails. (And hey, if you dig a little, you can find plenty of non-boring chicken recipes!) It’s packed with protein and iron. And with 7 grams of protein per ounce in chicken, it helps the keratin in hair and nails thrive.
Both also need a healthy iron-rich blood supply for continued growth—people suffering from iron deficiency may see negative side effects in their hair and nails. And while meat may be the best source of iron, chicken offers up a healthy dose.
If chicken is great for hair and nails, what’s a plant-based eater to do? Easy. A half block of tofu has nearly the same amount of protein as three ounces of chicken (22 grams), and it contains almost one-third of your daily value of iron. Plus, it’s cheaper to buy and takes on the flavor of any marinade. Even if you’re not plant-based, adding tofu to your diet is a great way to get a little protein variety in your diet.
OK, maybe the texture of tofu isn’t your thing. For a meatier plant-based protein bite, add some lentils to your plate. These multi-colored legumes are next on the list of protein and iron contenders. You’ll get that same 22-ish grams of protein in a ½ cup of uncooked lentils and one-third of your daily iron intake. Plus, they are a great meat substitute in things like burgers, meatballs, tacos, and Bolognese sauce.
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention the B-vitamin biotin as it pertains to hair and nails. Some research indicates the biotin may contribute to the thickness of both. Luckily biotin is in many foods, making deficiencies rare. But “egg yolks contain biotin and protein, both of which have been shown to promote strong hair and nails,” says NYC-based registered dietitian Nora Minno. Can we get another frittata, please?