Secrets of Healthy Skin, Hair & Nails

By Jacqueline Gomes, RDN, MBA

What’s the secret to having beautiful hair, skin and nails? The answer can be found in your kitchen! There is no one magic ingredient that will keep us looking young forever, but an overall well-balanced diet (with lifestyle and attitude) plays a huge role in how we look.

 

Focus on Protein, the building blocks of skin, hair and nails (keratin, collagen and elastin).  Foods: Lean meats, seafood, poultry, legumes and eggs

If your diet is lacking in the power of protein, you may notice hair loss, brittle nails or dry skin. Protein should be about 10-35% of your daily calorie intake for healthy growth and maintenance.

 

Go Fish! Our bodies also need essential Omega-3 fats (ALA, DHA, EPA) to make shinier hair, clearer skin, and stronger nails. Oily fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines are full of Omega-3’s. Can’t do fish? Plant sources like walnuts, flaxseed and peanuts also contain Omega-3’s. No need to go mega-dosing on fish oil supplements; all you need is 8-ounces of fish per week.

 

Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are full of health boosting antioxidants our bodies love. Focus on these to get the most benefits.

  • Dark leafy green vegetables: kale, spinach, Swiss chard, mustard greens, arugula
  • Red, yellow, and orange vegetables: red peppers, tomatoes, carrots, yellow peppers
  • Brightly colored fruits: blueberries, strawberries, oranges, pomegranate, cherries, citrus fruits
  • Whole grains: rye, oats, brown rice

 


Tuna & Cannellini Bean Salad

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoons salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 (19-ounce) can cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 (6-ounce) can chunk light tuna in water, drained and flaked

 

Directions:

  1. Whisk lemon juice, oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Add beans, tuna, onion, parsley and basil; toss to coat well.

Make ahead tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.