Eating enough dietary protein to meet your own protein requirements is important not just for your overall health, but it’s an easy and natural way to support your hair, nail and skin health.
The amino acids found in dietary protein are the building blocks of collagen, elastin and keratin, which make up healthy hair, skin and nails.
Your hair is primarily made up of keratin, which helps to regulate its strength, volume, moisture and prevent graying, along with collagen.
Your nails are mainly composed of keratin, which regulates their strength and prevents brittleness.
Your skin’s smoothness and elasticity are due to collagen and elastin while keratin keeps your skin firm.
Collagen production requires the amino acids lysine, proline and glycine. This is important because lysine has to be acquired from diet — your body can’t produce it naturally.
When your collagen production declines naturally as you age, your skin becomes thinner and dryer, and wrinkles start to develop. Your hair begins to thin and gray while your nails get weak and fragile.
You need to consume adequate protein so your body has the proper building blocks to create strong, healthy nails. And since protein is one of the foundational elements in collagen synthesis, it’s essential you get enough of it.
Protein and amino acids also are essential for healing and repairing damaged tissue.
Proteins are typically rich in iron while specific foods like sesame and pumpkin seeds are a rich source of zinc.
Eggs, berries, shrimp, fatty fish, tofu, legumes, nuts and cottage cheese are good sources of protein. You can also get your protein from shakes and supplements to boost your hair and nails if you need to.