What do your nails say about your health?? Think there’s no connection between the two? Think again. Every cell in your body, including those of your nails, are made up of what you are feeding your body. Every cell in your body is constantly being regenerated - the old cells die, the new cells emerge - that’s why what you put in your body is so important. The better the quality of nutrients you put in your body the more resilient and youthful your hair, skin and nails will be. But it’s not just about what the eye can see! Your heart, brain, joints etc will also be resilient and healthy and that helps with preventing heart disease, diabetes, neurological illnesses and even cancer.
Problems in the liver, heart and lungs can show up in your fingernails. Your nails should be pink and smooth. This changes as one gets older due to diet and lifestyle choices that impact your health and wellbeing. The good thing is that when it comes to your body and health you can reverse course and achieve optimal health.
Here are a few things to be on the lookout for, in between manicures.
Yellowish tinged nails (that don’t come from nail polish staining), that can crack and split, can indicate a fungal infection.
Very pale nails can be a sign of anemia, malnutrition, congestive heart failure or liver disease.
Rippled or Pitted nails can be an early sign of psoriasis or inflammatory arthritis.
Dry, brittle nails that frequently crack and split have been linked to thyroid disease.
Puffy nail fold - reddish puffiness around the nail is a sign of inflammation and possible infection.
Verticle beaded ridges can indicate hormonal changes, thyroid issues, stress and/or diabetes.
Action Plan for Healthy Nails
Drinks lots of water - keeping your body hydrated keeps your nails and cuticles hydrated. Aim to drink half (½) your body weight in ounces.
Do NOT cut your cuticles - your skin is your largest organ and protects your body from bacteria and viruses, when you cut your cuticles you risk infection. Exfoliate and push back your cuticles.
Eat plenty of nutrient-dense foods - choose foods rich in quality, grass-fed protein, zinc, biotin and selenium & omega 3s! Your greens: spinach, broccoli, swiss chards etc; your cold water fatty fish and seafood: salmon, sardines, oysters etc; your nuts and seeds: almonds, chia seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts etc; your lean proteins: grass fed beef, chicken etc; your beans and legumes: black beans, garbanzos, pinto beans etc; your fruits: watermelon, blueberries, avocados, pineapples etc; and last but not least, your gluten-free whole grains: quinoa, brown rice, oatmeal and other gluten-free grains.
Keep your hands and nails moisturized - each time you wash your hands you strip away the natural oils in your skin, replenish them with a good moisturizer and some cuticle oil. Tip - you can use coconut oil for both purposes!
If you notice any of the above-mentioned signs on your fingernails, see your dermatologist or primary care doctor to make sure you catch any issues and make sure you eat healthy, nutrient rich foods and avoid processed foods.
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