Support healthy skin, hair and nails
Great looking hair, skin and strong nails come from within and are valuable indicators of what’s going on for us internally. Stress levels, diet, hormonal balance, gut health and circulation play a key role in healthy skin, hair and nails.
Your skin is alive and dynamic. It breathes, grows, and changes. Every day the skin reflects and reacts to what you eat and drink, your exposure to the elements, how you sleep, the stress you are under, and your general health. It protects the body from bacteria, viruses, and pollutants, takes in nutrients and, through sweat, helps remove toxins, regulates body temperature, manufactures vitamin D from sunlight, and provides information through touch and pain. With all these highly important jobs the skin does for us, it is in our interest to look after it in return!
Be sure to include plenty of healthy fats in the diet such as those found in oily fish, nuts and seeds, avocado. These foods contain omega 3 fats, which are anti-inflammatory and can help with skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and acne. Sugar has many a negative health impact, and most importantly for the skin it has been shown to support accelerated aging, as well as contributing to poor digestion and hormonal imbalances, which are closely linked to skin disorders.
Our hair is made up of minerals and a type of protein called keratin, which is high in sulphur. Each strand of hair lasts for about 2-5 years, and is a manifestation of our past health and habits as well as our present care. It follows logically then that good sources of sulphur foods in the diet can help with the quality and strength of your hair. Increasing consumption of sulphur containing foods such as eggs, garlic, onions, leeks, fennel, watercress, beans, pulses, peas and the brassica vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage are the best solution and these contain good levels of B vitamins too. B vitamins take part in the metabolism of protein, i.e. how you assimilate the protein from food and build it up again into hair, nails and other body tissues.
Good circulation is also vital to hair growth and health, as the process of hair production requires a constant and strong supply of energy and nutrients. Stress causes these to be diverted away to the heart and muscles as the body assumes it needs to prioritise these for the movement in fight or flights response. Digestion is also not considered a priority in these situations, so hair is doubly affected. Keep stress at a manageable level considering some form of relaxation such as meditation, massage your hair regularly to promote circulation to the head and hair and exercise regularly.
Nail strength can vary due to many different factors. Weak, brittle nails are most commonly caused by excess exposure to water, so avoid getting hands repeatedly wet and dry by wearing gloves when doing housework. If overly soft nails are the problem, limit exposure to household cleaners, nail polish removers and other household chemicals. The quality of your nails could be linked to nutrient depletions. Key nutrients to include in your diet for nail support include biotin, a B vitamin found in eggs, whole grains, nuts and legumes.