For many persons, keeping their hair, skin, and nails healthy often means spending time, energy, and money on beauty routines, treatments, or trying various supplements. But did you know that what you eat can also make a significant impact?

Having a wide variety of healthy foods good for skin and hair is crucial for overall health, both inside and outside. Different nutrients like macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals support your hair, skin, and nails in different ways.

Even though there are other things like stress, genetics, smoking, sleep, and sun exposure that can affect your appearance, eating a well-balanced and nutritious diet can still make a big difference.

Best for skin

Most important nutrients for healthy hair skin and nails

Your hair, skin, and nails are made up of similar cells, containing proteins like keratin, collagen, and elastin. To grow and stay healthy, they need similar nutrients. Some crucial nutrients, like healthy fats, protein, iron, zinc, and antioxidant vitamins, play a big role in promoting vibrant skin and strong, healthy hair and nails.

Here’s the bonus: these nutrients aren’t just essential for your hair, skin, and nails – they also support your overall health and well-being. Keep reading to find out why these nutrients are important and discover the best fruits for skin and hair foods good for skin and hair to include in your daily nutrition!

Protein

Your skin, hair, and nails are mainly made up of proteins like keratin, collagen, and elastin. These proteins give strength and flexibility while supporting healthy growth.

Many of us regularly consume protein-rich foods like meat, chicken, fish, eggs, legumes, and dairy, so we usually don’t need to worry much about this nutrient!

But if you’re a vegan, vegetarian, or have a very active lifestyle, you might need protein powder to add to your diet as a supplement!

Essential Fats

Omega-3 (ALA, DHA, EPA, and DPA) and Omega-6 (linoleic acid) fats are also known as unsaturated or “healthy” fats. These essential fatty acids are a crucial part of the outer layer of the skin, called the epidermis. If you don’t get enough of these essential fats in your diet, it can lead to a dry, flaky, and itchy scalp and skin.

A study from 2012 by the Research Centre on Human Skin discovered that mono-unsaturated fats, found in foods like nuts, avocado, and olive oil, can help prevent premature aging of the skin. This might be because they have an antioxidant effect, protecting the skin from damage over time.

Here are some simple ways to add more essential fats to your diet:

Iron

Iron is a vital nutrient, especially for women. It plays a crucial role in carrying oxygen in our blood, helps produce energy, and supports the immune system.

Feeling tired and having difficulty breathing are often the first signs of not having enough iron. Other indicators may include having pale or itchy skin, cracks at the corners of the mouth, brittle nails, dry hair, or more hair loss.

To ensure your iron levels stay sufficient, try to include lean red meat in your diet 2-3 times a week. If you follow a plant-based diet, consider incorporating leafy greens, tofu, legumes, nuts, and seeds into your daily meals.

iron

Zinc

Zinc is essential for healing wounds and encouraging strong, healthy hair growth as it keeps the oil glands around the follicles working properly and is needed for the production of certain proteins. 

A lack of zinc can lead to hair loss, the development of skin lesions, impaired immunity and slow wound healing. Foods that are high in zinc include oysters, beans, and nuts, dairy and whole grains.

B vitamins

Vitamins are important for many bodily functions, such as converting food into energy and maintaining healthy cells.  For most people it’s easy to get enough B vitamins by eating a nutritious diet full of fruits for healthy skin and hair, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains. Eating inadequate amounts of B vitamins can lead to dry and itchy skin, rashes, low energy or mood and digestive issues.

Vitamin C, E & beta-carotene

Vitamin C is essential for the production of collagen which plumps up skin, giving it shape, elasticity and support. Although rare, a lack of vitamin C (aka scurvy) can show up as bruising, bleeding gums and poor wound healing. 

Vitamin C, E and beta-carotene are antioxidants which help to reduce free radicals and slow down skin damage and improve the skin’s resilience. 

Keep your vitamin levels high by eating plenty of fruits for healthy skin and hair! Some foods that are high in vitamin C include peppers, kiwifruit, strawberries, oranges and tomatoes.

Best fruits for skin, hair and nails

Eating a healthy, balanced diet that includes plenty of fresh whole foods is great for your overall health and your hair, skin and nails. The following foods are excellent sources of the nutrients essential for healthy hair, skin and nails and will support your general health, too. It’s a win-win!

Oily fish

Oily fish is loaded with vitamin D, protein and omega-3 fats that promote hair growth by keeping your scalp healthy. A serving of salmon, tuna or mackerel 2-3 times a week will meet the recommended 250–500 milligrams (mg) of marine-sourced omega-3s (EPA, DHA) per day.

Nuts and seeds

Including nuts and seeds in your diet is a great way to support the health of your hair, skin and nails. Nuts are a good source of protein, healthy fats and vitamins E & B. Walnuts and flaxseeds are great sources of omega-3 and 6 fats as well. Grab a handful as a snack, add them to breakfasts or salads, or enjoy natural nut butter as a topping!

Avocado

Avocado is a fantastic source of vitamin E, vitamin B and omega-3 fats and also contains fibre and vitamin C. Spread avocado on your toast or crackers, add it to a smoothie for creaminess, or chop and add it to your favorite salad. 

Not only are avocados great for hair and skin, found those who eat avocados regularly have a better overall diet quality, lower BMI and lower risk of lifestyle diseases than people who avoid them.

Avocado

Oats

Oats are such a nutritious whole grain that is high in several skin and hair-loving nutrients such as B vitamins, manganese, iron and zinc. Oats are also a great source of fibre and are low GI, meaning they keep you full for longer and provide sustained energy.  A bowl of porridge or Bircher muesli are both delicious breakfast options and you can blend oats into a smoothie!

Oats

Berries and citrus

Vitamin C is essential for collagen production, and adding berries, citrus fruits or kiwifruit to your shopping list is a great way to up your intake!  These fruits for healthy skin and hair are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that are important for healthy hair, skin and nails.

Dark greens

Your skin, hair, and nails are mainly made up of proteins like keratin, collagen, and elastin. These proteins give strength and flexibility while supporting healthy growth.

Sweet potato

Sweet potatoes and other orange or red vegetables, including tomatoes, carrots and red capsicum (red peppers) are a great, tasty way to get enough beta-carotene. Beta carotene is converted to vitamin A in the body and is one of the key antioxidants that help prevent dry hair and skin and damage from UV rays.

Water

This one sounds simple and it really is. Good hydration is not only essential for concentration, energy levels, circulation, gut health and overall wellbeing, but it’s also great for hydrating your hair, skin and nails!

Be sure to drink at least 1.5-2L (51-68 fl oz) of water per day, more if its hot weather or you’re sweating a lot. If you find it hard to drink enough water, try herbal teas or add slices of lemon, cucumber or berries to your water for extra flavor.

Good nutrition can keep hair and skin healthy and strong

Many of us try to nourish our hair, skin and nails with special products and supplements, but focusing on eating a highly nutritious; balanced diet can go a long way. Your hair, skin and nails will benefit from good nutrition and healthy habits, and eating well is great for your overall health and wellbeing too. Good nutrition will help you feel your best inside and out! No matter what health and fitness goals you set for yourself, healthy daily habits are what will help you achieve them! If you’ve decided to make a commitment to work towards a healthier lifestyle, you aren’t alone! You can share your journey, feel supported and find inspiration from your people around the world who have similar goals.

Healthy Skin hair