Nails reflect our overall health, which is why proper nail care is so important. Here are some’ tips for keeping your nails healthy:
- Keep nails clean and dry.
- Cut nails straight across. Use sharp nail scissors or clippers. Round the nails slightly at the
- tips for maximum strength.
- Keep nails shaped and free of snags by filing with an emery board.
- Do not bite fingernails or remove the cuticle. Doing so can damage the nail.
- Do not use your nails as a tool, such as opening pop cans.
- Trim toenails regularly. Keeping them short will minimise the risk of trauma and injury. Moisturise feet and hands daily. Use a cuticle oil to keep the cuticle and nail healthy.
- When toenails are thick and difficult to cut, soak your feet in warm salt water. Mix one teaspoon of salt/ Epsom or magnesium salts per pint of water and soak for 10 minutes.
- Avoid “digging out” ingrown toenails, especially if they are infected and sore. If you are suffering from an ingrown toenail, see a dermatologist for treatment.
- Wear shoes that fit properly. Also alternate which pair of shoes you wear each day.
- Wear flip flops at the pool and in public showers. This reduces the risk of infections caused by a fungus that can get in your toenails.
Eat a nutritious wholesome diet to support general health. Here are some foods that are particularly helpful for healthy nails and hair.
Enjoy a handful of fresh of almonds each day because they are high in Vitamin E, a vitamin that is vital when it comes to maintaining healthy nails.
Vitamin E helps to protect cells from oxidative damage and one portion of of almonds (23 almonds) contains 60% of your daily needs of vitamin E. Almonds are also high in zinc which is the key to healthy and strong nails. If you have a plant-based diet Lucy says it’s even more important that you actively introduce zinc into your diet.
2. Whole-grain cereal
Soak chia seeds for about 20 minutes until they develop their gel-like texture. Add the gooey chia seed meal to overnight soaked oat flakes for a healthy breakfast cereal.
Protein is so important to good nail health. Nails are made of a tough protein called Keratin that same as your hair. So, protein is important, you need all those amino acids to create all those protein-based cells in our body and that includes our nails.
When we’re lacking protein, our nails become brittle and discoloured so try incorporating eggs into your diet. They are a high source of protein, and you can have them for breakfast, dinner or tea.
One of the key nutrients in terms of keeping your nails supple is fat. So, a specific type of essential fatty acid called linoleic acid, you would get that from things like oily fish, but you also get it in many of the healthy oils we’re trying to increase in our diets - olive oil, rapeseed oil, avocados and nuts.
Avoid low fat diets as they are not healthy. So, to help prevent your nails from becoming brittle and breaking, step up the number of oily fish in your diet (or avocados if you’re plant-based). Nail changes that your Dermatologist should assess.