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The Daily Dish Nails

Brittle Nails Bumming You Out? Eat These 3 Foods Proven to Make Them Stronger

This strong nail diet is our new favorite eating plan.

By Kristyn Pomranz

When gel manicures came on the scene, we did our best to fight them; the last thing we needed was another new cosmetic addiction. But after giving in just once for a destination wedding, we realized why they’re so irresistible: They last forev-ev-ev-er, nary a chip to be seen.

So began an endless cycle that felt like a UV-based Ponzi scheme for this author: Get gel manicure, have it stripped, realize your nails look so bad you need to get another gel manicure, repeat ad nauseum. Eventually we knew we had to stop: Not only were we going broke, but we also realized that the cycle of gel was seriously damaging the health of our nails.

We decided to try out some naturalistic reparations. We’d had major success with the thicker hair diet we tried at home — and since hair and nails share a similar protein foundation, we figured we were already on the right track with an eating plan that could make our nails stronger. (And we were right.)

To flesh out the stronger nails diet, we investigated additional foods that could supplement our nail health from the inside out. And here are the ingredients we found proven by scientific research to do just that.

1. Almonds

Although high in calories (so maybe don't mindlessly polish off a whole bag), almonds are a great source of magnesium, which is great for building your nails' strength. "Vertical ridges in your nails may be a sign of inadequate magnesium," registered dietician Ashley Koff told Health

They're also loaded with Vitamin E, which protects against cell damage, a culprit of nail splitting and cracking, nutrition site Eat This, Not That! notes. Even better, they contain selenium, a mineral which strengthens nails.

2. Oats

A study published online by the National Institutes of Health's National Library of Medicine demonstrated that people who suffered from brittle nails found their condition improve after after taking 2.5 milligrams of biotin per day for 1.5 to 7 months — and guess what? Just a quarter cup of oats contains a quarter of your daily recommended allowance of biotin, according to Insider

Other crucial elements of nail health are zinc and copper, which oats has in spades, as noted by Good Housekeeping.

For optimal results, be sure to soak your oats — this helps neutralize their phytic acid, which can block absorption of these crucial minerals.

3. Beer

Cheers to the best news of all: Beer has been scientifically proven to help nails grow, thanks to its richness in silicon from barley. A National Institutes of Health study, cited by Nutrient Insider, demonstrated that even a small amount of daily beer significantly decreased nails’ brittleness. That's because beer contains the mineral silicon, which has the ability to grow bone — as well as most other tissues in the body, like hair and nails. So drink up! (Responsibly.)

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