Fingernails are composed of a protein called keratin. Their normal rate of growth is around 1.5 inches a year.
However, if your nails aren't growing as fast as you would like them to, one possible reason is that you're not getting the right nutrition to promote nail growth. In this article, you'll learn which nutrients help fingernails grow, and how to add more of them to your diet.
Since the keratin of which nails are made is a protein, your body needs plenty of protein to build them up. If you're not getting enough protein in your diet, the "half-moons" that should appear near the cuticles of your nails will be missing.
The best sources of protein are meats such as poultry, beef, venison, lamb, pork, and fish. Other good, healthy choices include nuts, peanut butter and other nut butters, lentils, and beans.
2. Vitamin B
This vitamin is very important to nail health - without enough Vitamin B, your nails may become excessively dry and develop ridges, and the ends of your nails may curl up.
Vitamin B12 is a particularly beneficial nutrient for healthy nail growth. You can get it from dairy products such as milk and yogurt, as well as from salmon, trout, tuna, clams, beef, and pork.
3. Vitamin C
Ingrown nails and hangnails can sometimes be symptoms of a deficiency in Vitamin C.
To correct this vitamin deficiency, try berries and fruits such as blackcurrant berries, guavas, kiwis, strawberries, cherries, and oranges. Red bell peppers and spinach contain vitamin C, too.
4. Vitamin E
Vitamins C and E work together to promote healthy blood circulation, which ensures that the nail beds get enough oxygen. A healthy supply of oxygen helps make the nail materials stronger and enhances nail growth.
Good sources of Vitamin E include vitamin-fortified cereals, sunflower seeds, nuts, tomatoes, avocados, and turnip greens.
Over the long term, a deficiency of iron can cause washboard ridges, dryness, and brittleness in nails, as well as causing nails to grow in odd shapes. Be sure to eat iron-rich foods like red meats, liver, eggs, tuna, salmon, poultry, spinach, and whole grains.
Zinc isn't a very well-known or heavily-promoted nutrient, but it's a very important nutrient to have in your diet if you want to keep your fingernails and toenails healthy and strong. If you have a zinc deficiency, you may have ridges and white spots on your nails.
Zinc can be found in foods like nuts, legumes, grains, poultry, red meats, and oysters.