When you think about how to get healthy hair, is diet the first thing that you think of? Or do you jump right to shampoo, conditioner, or hair supplements, like biotin, instead? The health of your skin, hair, and nails doesn’t solely rely on the products you use. Your diet and nutrition play a major role in your outward appearance. There are certain foods containing vitamins and nutrients that are essential to keeping your hair, skin, and nails healthy.
But just what are these foods?
There’s so much information online – between that which pertains to diet and information about supplements – it can be hard to keep things straight. If you’re looking to find the best foods for healthy nails, skin, and hair… you’ve come to the right place!
First, let’s review some hair, skin, and nail basics…
Now, the cells of hair follicles have a high turnover rate. This means they quickly form and die, with many others repeating the cycle. Metabolism of these cells depends highly upon the supply of nutrients and energy from your diet. Problems can result if you’re not getting the essential nutrients for these processes to occur.1 Some of the most important nutrients for healthy, long hair are:
- Essential fatty acids
- Vitamins (particularly biotin – amongst some others)
Just like hair, skin health can be affected by your diet. If you’re not getting the proper nutrients, all of the layers of your skin can be affected. However, most damage will show itself in the upper layer of your skin — the epidermis. New skin cells form at the bottom of this layer and move their way to the top where they flake off. This whole process takes about a month.2
Deficiencies in vitamins like biotin can lead to dry, flaky, and scaly skin. Irritation can also occur along with the dryness. A similar kind of reaction can occur with zinc deficiency.3 So, it’s important to get a well-rounded diet with the right foods.
Nails are made up of mostly keratin. On average, your nails grow about 2 – 3mm per month. Your entire fingernail is replaced every 6 – 9 months. Nail disorders make up about 10% of dermatologic conditions. Of course, nutritional deficiencies can have an effect on nail growth. Brittle nails can often be helped with vitamins. Biotin is particularly beneficial to nail health.4 Bottom line, if you want healthy nails, it starts with proper diet and nutrition.
Biotin for Healthy Hair, Skin, and Nails
As you can tell, biotin is a very important vitamin for healthy skin, hair, and nails. It’s recommended for a plethora of beauty and health concerns. Biotin deficiency can present itself in a variety of ways, including the following:
- Thinning hair
- Hair loss
- Dry skin
- Skin rash5
- Low muscle tone
- Vision and hearing issues6
Interestingly, biotin is a water-soluble B vitamin and is critical to skin, hair, and nail health. It’s also a coenzyme, which is a non-protein compound that functionally assists other compounds in your body.
Also, biotin is sometimes referred to as Vitamin B7, coenzyme R, or Vitamin H. There are many different forms, but only one (D-biotin) plays an active role in the human body. It attaches to specific proteins in a process known as biotinylation.7
Your body needs this nutrient for many reasons. It helps to carry out a variety of biochemical functions like:
- Converting amino acids into other compounds
- Creating fatty acids
- Producing glucose from non-carbohydrates to supply fuel to the brain and red blood cells8
Foods with Biotin
The human body does not produce biotin on its own, so you must get this essential nutrient from your diet. The following (Gundry-approved) foods are great sources of biotin for healthy hair, skin, and nails:
Avocados (and their oil) are a great source of biotin and known to be particularly beneficial to the skin. You can get this oil by simply eating avocados or even purchasing it in oil form. It can also be used topically on the skin and even hair.9
This flowering vegetable contains a decent amount of biotin. It also contains a phytochemical called sulforaphane – which may hold anti-aging and detoxifying properties.10
3. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens like spinach, kale, chard, and other lettuces pack a big biotin punch, but also contain vitamins and nutrients essential to healthy nails, skin, and hair. You will find an abundance of vitamins like A and C that are critical to cell healing and repair. Lutein (also found in leafy greens) can help keep your skin looking young, too.11
Liver (from pasture-raised sources) is a great source of biotin. It also contains high-quality proteins and amino acids from a low-calorie source. It is packed with many other essential vitamins and nutrients, as well.12
This food is high in many antioxidants on top of its biotin content. You can also find a wide variety of mushrooms and use them in many ways in the kitchen. The king trumpet mushroom has been gaining popularity for its anti-aging benefits.13 All mushrooms, however, are high in biotin and can help deliver nutrients to your skin, hair, and nail bed.14 And… mushrooms are lectin-free!
6. Omega-3 Egg Yolks
Egg yolks are very high in proteins and lipoproteins, as well as biotin. These proteins are essential for cell growth and renewal.15 Many women with long hair swear by an “egg yolk mask” to condition their tresses. You can add other ingredients to the egg yolks, as well, like avocado oil.
7. Wild-Caught Fish
Fish is loaded with biotin, omega-3 fatty acids, collagen, and healthy protein. Many people are choosing to use a fish oil supplement if they can’t or simply don’t eat fish several times per week, as recommended. Fish is also great for cardiovascular health.16
Of course, if for some reason you find it difficult to include these foods in your diet every day, you can try taking supplements to get the recommended intake of biotin.
You should, of course, always talk with your doctor first if you are wanting to add a supplement to your daily dietary intake. This also applies to major diet changes. Your physical appearance is never worth making potentially dangerous decisions or lifestyle changes.
Eat Your Way to Healthy Hair, Skin, and Nails
So there you have it! The foods listed are great sources of biotin to help give you that healthy hair and skin you’ve been looking for. If you aren’t a fan of these foods but want to reap the benefits of this amazing nutrient, then talk with your doctor about starting a biotin supplement.
And remember, beauty starts on the inside. So, eat a healthy diet, consume low-lectin foods, and get plenty of exercise to help inspire your most beautiful self from the inside out.