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What to Eat for Pretty Nails

From our newly revised best-selling book, Foods that Harm, Foods that Heal: These foods beat dry, brittle nails and restore strength and shine to make them pretty again.

Kang Kim

Have dull nails?

A folate deficiency might be to blame. As you age, your body doesn’t absorb this essential B vitamin as well. Try folate-rich stars like lentils, beans, and spinach. Other foods that heal: legumes, dark-green leafy vegetables, and peas.

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Brittle or flaking nails?

If your nails are brittle or flaking, include more essential fatty acids
in your diet to help keep your nail beds moisturized. Add two
tablespoons of flaxseed oil or ground flaxseed to your cereal or
smoothies.

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Soft nails?

To make keratin—a tough protein that’s a
major component in hard, strong nails—the body needs high-quality
protein like cornish hens, pork loin, and lower-sodium deli-sliced roast
turkey. Other foods that heal: Fish (especially salmon and mackerel), lean meat, and poultry. Shoot for about six ounces a day to prevent weak nails.

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Weak nails?

Iron deficiency can lead to dull, brittle nails. To keep your fingers fit, up your intake of iron-rich foods (fortified cereals, eggs, spinach) and pair them with vitamin C–rich foods (citrus fruits, tomatoes, bell peppers) to help the body absorb iron. Our fave combos:

● Spinach with tomatoes
● Scrambled egg whites with green and red peppers
● Fortified cereal and sliced strawberries

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Dry nails?

Rub a little olive oil around your nail beds every evening to hydrate dry nails.

Foods That Harm, Foods That Heal

Our
completely updated top-selling book helps you prevent and treat disease
at its roots. You’ll find 175 foods and the 100 conditions they harm or
heal. Buy the book here or wherever books are sold.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest

Perri O. Blumberg
A former food editor at Reader's Digest, Perri Blumberg is a writer and editor based in New York City. After attending Columbia University, where she received a BA in psychology, she went on to study food at a health-supportive culinary school. Her work has appeared in O Magazine, Men's Journal, Country Living, and on Mind, Body, Green, among others.