Nailed it!

How many times have our nails hung on our knit sweaters, or chipped for opening a can of Coke? How many times at work when you are too delved in your office typing on your laptop and, out of nowhere, you notice your yellow nails with white marks on it? How many of you spends a fortune on their nails and yet nothing seems to make them look any healthier but hiding them beneath 3 coats, minimum, of nail polish?

Are you tired of whining to your friends about how awful, if not ugly, your nails look? Want to save, once and for all, your monthly nail salon expenses and get those new boots you have been eyeing for a while now? Don’t we, girls, wish for the perfect nails- chip free, shiny, white half-moon beds, and long with healthy pink skin underneath? No problem, I’m going to take you step by step to help you achieve this perfection.

Now, the main ailments I believe are the main cause of unhealthy nails, usually, is nutrition. If you include healthy nutrients in your daily diet, I ensure you will say goodbye to most, if not all, of your nail problems.
Essential nutrients you must include in your daily regimen:

Almonds and Walnuts:
Loaded with omega-3 essential fats, which provide the fatty acids your nails need to stay strong and prevent splitting. Sprinkle half a handful of nuts over your salad or stir-fry or mix into yogurt to get an omega-3 boost.

Increase whole grains (brown rice, rye, oats, barley, buckwheat and quinoa) fresh fruit and vegetables. Whole grain with Iron is essential for healthy nails, skin colour, and hair growth. Whole grain or 100 per cent whole wheat bread or pasta are good sources of iron. Additional iron sources include meats, eggs, dark leafy vegetables and legumes.

Avoid all sources of saturated fat, including red meat and unfermented dairy foods, as these tend to be inflammatory. Increase essential fatty acids from nuts, seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, sesame) cold pressed oils and oily fish (mackerel, salmon, tuna, herrings, pilchards and sardines). Examples of healthy fats are butter, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, seeds and avocados. The health of every cell membrane in your body is dependent on the fats in your diet. Eating a fat-free or low-fat diet can lead to poor nail and hair growth. Make sure you include a healthy fat at every meal and snack.

Reduce red meat, non-fermented dairy products and all sources of protein attached to saturated fats, processed meats etc. Ensure sufficient high quality protein from skinless chicken and turkey, fish, pulses, chicken, egg whites, low-fat dairy products, soy, occasional lean red meats, legumes and lentils. Your nails are composed of laminated layers of a protein called keratin, which is also found in your hair and skin. Women need an average of 4 to 6 ounces of protein per meal while men need approximately 5 to 7 ounces per meal.

Include fiber both soluble and insoluble to ensure effective removal of toxins and to provide a healthy gut environment. This includes beans, lentils, pulses, oat bran and prunes.

Avoid excess alcohol, stimulating drinks such as coffee or tea, sugary soft drinks, carbonated drinks all of which are dehydrating. Drink two litres of water daily — taken away from meals and sipped slowly to avoid stress on the kidneys. For variety drink diluted fruit juices, organic vegetables juices and herbal teas.

Liver, butter, cheese, eggs. (Beta-Carotene): Sweet potato, carrots, dried apricots, buckwheat, and dark green vegetables.

Eggs, game, poultry, pumpkin seeds, blackstrap molasses, wheat germ, and brewer’s yeast.

Avocados, bananas, carrots, lentils brown rice, tuna, shrimp, and salmon.

Egg yolks, liver, brown rice, whole grains, and legumes.

Wheat germ oil, nuts and seeds, fish, eggs, avocados, green vegetables.

Dairy products, eggs, nuts and seeds, pulses, dark green leafy vegetables.

Organic meat, fish, muscle meat, whole grains, dairy, fruit, onions, garlic, nuts & seeds.

Oysters, liver, brewers yeast, eggs, whole grains, pumpkin seeds, mushrooms.

Red, orange and yellow fruit and vegetables, red berries, blueberries, blackberries, red grapes, dark green leafy vegetables, avocados.

Beans, eggs, fish, garlic, lentils, onions, and yoghurt.

Richest food source: Cold water fish, nuts, seeds and cold pressed vegetable oils. 
Additional Supplements: Perfectil (hair, skin and nails nutrient) one tablet a day; fish oil tablets (Omega 3) and take at least 3000 mg of high-quality fish oil per day; GLA, Add 600 mg of GLA daily.
Nail care techniques:

Another reason that may be damaging your nails that maybe you didn’t notice is you nail care technique (aka manicuring). If you follow the right care method, your nail won’t be suffering anymore.

Trim your nails, then file from the corner of your nail to the center of your nail. If your nails are short or you want to grow them out, just file them. Don't be too rough; you don't want to break your nails or make the nails jagged. Don't file your nails back and forth, it is not good for your nails. If you want to keep your nails short, do not file them all the way to the length you like-nail files are made to buff them out, not to decrease their height. To do so, use nail clippers and then file them after you have reached the height that suits you.

Don't be too rough. Don't file your nails back and forth, it is not good for your nails. File them in one direction instead. No side filing.

Manicure soaking:
After clipping and trimming, soak your nail in a mix combination of olive oil and sugar, with equal portions, and rub all over your hands (or feet for that matter), between fingers and around nails for about 30 seconds. Sugar acts as a natural scrub to your skin, rubbing away all those dead skin cells. Wash your hands with lukewarm water and dry them with a soft towel. Apply a rich moisturizer, like Eucerin or any lotion by Bath & Body Works.

Push back your cuticles gently with an orange stick, metal cuticle pusher or rubber tipped cuticle stick. Better use the rubber or wood tip than metal as the metal harms and dries the nail bed (cuticle area). Don’t cut or trim the extra cuticle, just push it in with an orange stick, trimming it will only makes things worse. However, you can GENTLY trim them with a cuticle clipper if necessary but don't over clip which could lead to infection (once a month maximum). Clip off any hang nails, don't rip them off.

Nail polish Remover:
Use an Acetone-Free formula, to decrease the damage the nail polish remover may cause. However, No matter what kind of polish remover you use, it's going to have a drying effect on the nail area and cuticles.
If you do your manicure at a salon, it’s needless to say the salon and their tools should be clean and tidy, with linen and towels changed between clients. Better go with your tools, just in case.
Nail polish:
Base coat:
To avoid nail polish color stains and prevent harmful components in the polish from affecting your nails.

Wait at least 20 minutes in between coats (yes that is too long, but better be safe than sorry). Choose a non-toxic formula that is 3-free (Formaldehyde, toluene, and DBP) or 5 Free Nail Polish (Dibutyl Phthalate, Toluene, Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin, and Camphor). For that, I use Deborah LippmannMavala, OPI, Chanel, Essie, Julep, Dior, Butter London, Nars, Zoya, Sally Hansen, Revlon, and Orly (still contains toluene) nail polishes.

Top coat:
To protect your nail from the outside environment (pollution, dust, water, dry weather… etc) from harming your nails, and also to make your color stay longer without fading or chipping.
Lifestyle Recommendations:

Identify any areas of stress in your life. Allow time to relax. Start relaxation/yoga classes, fill your bath tub with aromatheraputic oils (like lavander) after a long day at work and let yourself go and relax.

Hit the Gym, start aerobic exercise, cycle, or even run around your block. This is important for maintaining circulation to the skin, scalp and digits.

Avoid as many toxins as possible, whether inhaled, ingested or absorbed through the skin. A high level of body toxicity puts a strain on the skin as an organ of elimination.

Finally, Nails grow about one-tenth of a millimeter a day, which means that it takes a fingernail about four to six months to fully regenerate. So, be patient, it will take time until you notice any results. But, it’s totally worth the wait. Healthy nails appear smooth, without ridges or grooves. They are uniform in color and consistency and free of spots or discoloration.

 P.S. I do not have a PHD neither am I a dermatologist, so before taking any supplements or trying a new diet, please consult your physician.

Photos are compiled over the internet.
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