A nutritionist weighs in on how your diet affects your hair, skin and nails. Plus, she shares her advice on improving all three.

Recently, I’ve become obsessed with hair, skin and nail health. Until now, I never really thought much about the three. My hair wasn’t amazing, but it was healthy. My nails weren’t strong, but they weren’t brittle. I even thought that my skin problems were just related to hormones. I was convinced that none of these things could be fixed so I just went along my merry way.

When I found out that simple diet changes and supplement additions could increase my natural beauty from within, I was all ears. It obviously makes sense, better food choices along with the right vitamins can make you look and feel great from the inside out. As an amateur, I was starting from square one, ready to find out if these changes could actually help.

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To start, I wanted to test a vitamin, so when I was sent the Hair, Skin, and Nails Gummies by Nature’s Bounty, I was super excited. The concept of gummy vitamins for your hair, skin and nails is new to me. I’m used to taking a daily multivitamin, but that’s about it when it comes to dietary supplements. These little guys definitely caught my eye. From the promise of a delicious strawberry flavor to its healthy formula including vitamin C, vitamin E and biotin, these little guys looked like they packed a punch.

When it comes to my skin, this is where I’ve seen the most drastic result. After reading many reviews of the product, it seemed most people saw tremendous improvements in either their hair or nails. They never seemed to have too much to say about benefits it may have had on their skin. As someone with acne-prone skin, that’s the improvement I was most interested in so this made me reluctant to try the product. I was happy when after a week of chewing two tasty gummies a day, my skin was starting to look better than ever. My usual breakouts were much less noticeable and my skin looked happy and healthy. This supplement definitely gets two thumbs up from me. Available at Natures Bounty.

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So, what can a better diet do for your hair, skin, and nails? To put it short: everything. To find out more, we chatted with Amanda Foti from Selvera to find out the do’s and dont’s of creating healthy, natural beauty.

What types of fruits and veggies (or vitamins and minerals) do you suggest for healthy skin and hair?

  • Berries — The antioxidants in berries help rid the body of impurities.
  • Watermelon — Due to their high water content and lycopene, watermelon helps protect skin cells from free radical damage.
  • Papaya — Papaya’s have large quantities of vitamin C, which helps rebuild collagen and gives skin a youthful appearance. Papaya also has beta-carotene, lycopene, vitamin B and vitamin K, which help reduce dark circles, eliminate redness, and even out skin tone.
  • Avocado — Not only is avocado loaded with healthy fats, but it also contains vitamin E, which protects your skin from oxidative damage. It’s also full of vitamin C, offering a natural and healthy way to rebuild collagen.
  • Selenium is great for your skin, hair and nails, but unfortunately, most fruits and vegetables are relatively low in this important mineral. Mushrooms have one of the greatest contents of selenium, which protects your cells against oxidative damage and recycles vitamin C for even more protection.

How can someone treat brittle nails? dry skin? split ends? with nutrition.

  • Protein is essential for skin turnover and hair growth. If your diet is deficient in protein, your body will direct the small amount of protein you eat to more essential bodily functions, neglecting your hair, skin, and nails.
  • Water — hydration is essential to remedy dry skin and split ends!
  • Addressing any possible vitamin deficiencies is also important.
  • Biotin deficiency has been known to cause hair loss and brittle nails. Supplementing with biotin may cause hair to grow back and nails to improve. However, this effect is only seen when an individual is already deficient or low in biotin.
  • Iron deficiency can also lead to dry and brittle hair, skin, and nails. Try eating dark leafy greens with orange slices or cashews with berries to boost your iron and vitamin C. The vitamin C will help your body better absorb the iron you consume. Another tip, avoid pairing iron-rich foods with dairy (or calcium-rich foods) because it blocks the absorption.
  • An iodine deficiency, which can lead to hypothyroidism, can also result in brittle nails, dry skin and hair. Check with your doctor.
  • If you are eating a well-balanced diet and still experiencing these symptoms, it may be beneficial to speak with your physician because you may have an underlying deficiency or hormone imbalance.

What are some of the worst foods that you can eat in regards to hair, skin and nail health?

  • Refined carbohydrates are some of the worst foods you can eat for your hair, skin and nails because they are metabolized directly into sugar (another no-no to get shiny hair and glowing skin!).
  • Alcohol is extremely dehydrating, which can lead to dull skin and hair.
  • Fried and greasy foods are loaded with oxidized, saturated fats, which can make your skin look dull and drab.
  • Dairy has been shown to cause breakouts and inflammation in some people. If you’re prone to breakouts, you may want to try cutting back or eliminating dairy from your diet and see if it helps.

To learn more skin care tips head to our Beauty section

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