Perhaps, one of the most ignored body parts happens to be our nails. Ladies may, at least, be paying attention in terms of keeping them manicured and painted. Even then, it does not mean that attention is paid to the health of the nails, and in turn, our overall health. Yes, it is true that, at times, the colour, and the shape, texture, etc. of the nails may be indicators of your health.
Unknown to many, nail issues are a common factor among the geriatric population. It is mostly ignored, and at times, could be an indicator of some disease; could be an underlying disease too. As we age, the changes expected in the nails are colour, rate of growth, texture, thickness, contour, etc. The common issues observed among the ageing population concerning nails are brittleness, fungal infections, ingrown nails, ridges, split or curved nails, and discolouration. These will need to be looked into by skin specialists who can diagnose them for any possible underlying conditions for treatment. Sometimes the issue could be as simple as changing your diet.
The reason why nails should not be ignored is that is they could well be indicating to a few health issues like:
- Heart issues
- Liver issues (Jaundice, Hepatitis)
- Fungal issues
- Thyroid issues
- Lung disease
- Tissue disorders (lupus)
- Cancer (melanoma)
Many of the above issues need medical intervention, and this can only be done with the help of qualified dermatologists. Hence, it is important to keep a watch on the nails for changes and consult one, if required. But, nails can be kept healthy to a great extent by following a proper, healthy diet. Nails need nutrients to grow and stay healthy; these can only come from a good diet. Here is what you can include for the sake of nail health.
Eating a balanced diet will mean that you would include a rainbow in it! Yes, you need to ensure that you eat all coloured fresh fruits and veggies. Including
Ensure that the rains do not enter the house through open windows and balconies and spoil your floor. It may be good to keep the windows closed
Diet for nail health
Nails are made up of layers of a protein called keratin, which is also found in our hair and skin. Rather, most parts of our body are also made of protein, as they make up the cells. Hence, the lack of protein in our diet can lead to a deficiency in the body, leading to inhibited growth. This can lead to brittle or easily chipped nails. Proteins typically can be had from foods like meat, fish, and eggs; however, for vegetarians, the options are dairy products and soy.
Another important ingredient for keeping your nail healthy happens to be Vitamin A. You may be aware that many skincare products also boast of this ingredient. Vitamin A helps in nail growth and strengthening of tissues, bones and even teeth. It also performs an important function of preventing the free radicals from damaging the body cells, thus being an antioxidant. Vitamin A can be had from foods like milk, citrus fruits, spinach, apricots, apple, yam, eggs, etc.
An essential mineral, zinc is linked to the growth and division of our body cells. Hence, this is important for nail growth as well, and a deficiency can lead to discoloured nails. Include foods like cashew nuts, soybeans, and seeds like flax seeds, kidney beans, pumpkin seeds, apart from greens like spinach. These foods consumed daily can provide you with the required amount of zinc.
Interestingly, one of those ‘good fats’, the Omega-3 fatty acid, mostly found in seafood, is good for the health of your fingernails as well. Also, folic acid or Vitamin B9 is important for nail growth. Hence, please make sure to eat beetroots, citrus fruits, avocado, etc. to gain this benefit. One other Vitamin – H, also called as Biotin is also important for cell generation and healthy nail growth. This is found in foods such as lettuce, cucumber, oats, raspberries, and of course, milk.
These inputs should help you understand why it is important to watch your nails and seek help if required. Also, ensure to include these foods in your daily diet to ensure that the nails stay healthy.