This article exists as part of the online archive for HuffPost Australia, which closed in 2021.

Can What You Eat Help Grow Longer And Stronger Hair And Nails?

You are what you eat.


It's rare to find a person that does not wish their hair would grow faster or that their nails were stronger.

Sure, there's all kinds of hair treatments and nail polishes that promise to do just that, but can you promote longer and stronger nails and hair through the foods to you? You bet.

"There is no doubt about it -- what you eat, and also what you don't eat, can really affect your appearance," Dr. Josh Axe, author of Eat Dirt, and co-founder of Ancient Nutrition told HuffPost Australia.

"For example, someone with an iron deficiency is at a greater risk for both hair loss and brittle nails so eating iron-rich foods can really help hair and nail health. Overall, eating a healthy diet filled with nutrient-dense whole foods can go a long way when it comes to boosting the growth and strength of both your hair and nails."

So, what kinds of foods should you look out for?

"Foods that are rich in the following nutrients are excellent at supporting healthy hair and nails," Axe said.

Omega-3 fatty acids: Foods like wild-caught fish, chia seeds, flaxseeds, and walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are anti-inflammatory, hormone-balancing and decrease external dryness.

Iron: Great dietary sources of iron include foods like grass-fed beef, lentils, white beans, and dark leafy greens. An iron deficiency can be underlying cause of thinning hair and dry, brittle nails so getting enough of this nutrient regularly is key.

Biotin (B7): A B vitamin found in delicious foods like eggs, salmon, goat cheese, and almonds, biotin plays a crucial role in maintaining the health of our hair, nails and skin.

Zinc: Zinc is another vitamin essential to healthy skin and nails since it aids tissue growth and tissue repair. Similarly to iron, a zinc deficiency is linked to poor hair and nail growth. High-zinc foods include lamb, pumpkin seeds, chickpeas, and cashews.

In addition to diet, having less stress in your life can also promote a healthier looking appearance -- hair and nails included.

"Practising forms of relaxation, such as yoga, journalling, prayer, etc, on a regular basis and balancing hormones can really help to promote the healthy growth of nails and hair since thyroid issues and hormone imbalance as well as chronic stress can contribute to unhealthy hair and nails," Axe said.

As for things that could have a negative effect on growing your hair and nails long and lush?

"Food allergens, processed foods, trans fat and refined sugar should be avoided. Caffeine and alcohol should be chosen wisely and always in moderation."

Suggest a correction
This article exists as part of the online archive for HuffPost Australia. Certain site features have been disabled. If you have questions or concerns, please check our FAQ or contact