(NaturalNews) Nails, much like skin and hair, can be external indicators of health. Dry skin or brittle, thinning hair can shed light on underlying health issues and so too, can nails. According to the Mayo Clinic, nails with a yellow, discolored tinge may indicate an upper respiratory infection such as chronic bronchitis, and ones with indentations that run across the nails may be related to uncontrolled diabetes, pneumonia or a zinc deficiency.
It's no secret that eating nutritious foods that are whole, organic and mainly comprised of fruits and vegetables are essential for maintaining optimal health and can even reverse some health conditions.
George Mateljan of the The George Mateljan Foundation, supports this thought, saying "The best way to support [your] nail health is to eat a well-balanced diet. You'll need plenty of protein as well as fresh fruits and vegetables." He explains that while certain supplements like amino acids have been suggested, the Foundation's " . . . top recommendation is to review your meal plan for the presence of protein-rich foods."
Top foods to eat to improve nail, and overall, health
Here then, is a rundown of foods that are ideal for improving nail health, or preventing changes in their condition in the first place, all of which may mean keeping other health concerns like a zinc deficiency (as one example) at bay.
1. Seeds. Seeds, especially pumpkin and sesame, are a very good non-animal source of zinc. Those deficient in zinc may have the telltale horizontal nail indentation as well as reduced immune system functioning.
2. Essential fatty acids. Using flax seed oil and evening primrose oil are good ways to help moisturize the nail bed and help combat thin, brittle nails. The Mayo Clinic explains that in some cases, nails have been known to actually lift off the nail bed itself, which may be an indication of anything from exposure to adhesives to a thyroid disease or psoriasis.
3. Lentils and beans. Lentils and beans are very good sources of protein, and both are nutrient-dense foods. One cup of beans (such as garbanzo or kidney) has approximately 13 grams of protein per cup and lentils have even more, coming in at about 18 grams of protein per cup.
About the author: A science enthusiast with a keen interest in health nutrition, Antonia has been intensely researching various dieting routines for several years now, weighing their highs and their lows, to bring readers the most interesting info and news in the field. While she is very excited about a high raw diet, she likes to keep a fair and balanced approach towards non-raw methods of food preparation as well.