Everyone deals with cravings from time to time, and sometimes those cravings are for unhealthy foods. However, you may not think about how eating unhealthy foods could affect your hair and nails.
If you’re noticing that your nails and hair are having issues no matter how hard you work to externally repair them, you may need to look at what you’re consuming internally.
A few weeks ago, I noticed that my hair had no body, it looked lifeless, and my scalp was sore and tender. My nails were cracking and breaking off too. I couldn’t figure out what the problem was.
Unfortunately, I had overlooked what I was eating. I let those cravings let me give into eating unhealthy foods regularly, which made my hair and nails suffer.
When I realized the problem, I was able to start changing my diet, avoiding certain foods to keep my hair and nails as healthy as possible. Now, my nails and hair look much healthier.
Let’s take a look at some of the foods that are unhealthy to your body. When you start eating these unhealthy foods regularly, they can lead to weak nails and hair.
Avoid the following food to improve nail and hair health.
Another food you should avoid for healthier hair and nails is sugar. Of course, sugar is found in many tasty treats, so it’s tough to avoid sugar. Unfortunately, some studies show that sugar can be very dangerous for the body.
The book, “Lick the Sugar Habit,” written by Nancy Appleton, notes that sugar acts much like a drug and can cause may problems. Some of the challenges that sugar may cause when you get too much of it include the following:
- Sugar may result in a loss of tissue function and elasticity, and as you eat more sugar, it makes this problem worse. Hair is considered a tissue, so eating too much sugar will affect hair negatively.
- Since sugar increases the speed of aging, over-consumption of sugar may result in premature graying.
- Many of the mineral relationships in your body may be upset by sugar. For example, when you eat sugar, the body uses a lot of B vitamins to digest the sugar.
Those vitamins are essential for healthy hair and nails, so eating too much sugar could rob your hair and nails of the necessary vitamins it needs.
- The amount of vitamin E, essential for healthy nails and hair, may be lowered when you consume too much sugar.
- Sugar may also interfere with protein absorption, and protein is essential for healthy nails and hair.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to completely give up sugar. It’s best to eat natural sources of sugar, such as veggies and fruits. A treat now and then is probably fine, but you should try to limit sugar regularly for healthier hair and nails.
② Sodium (Salt)
You may want to start avoiding too much salt in your diet, which you’ll see on food labels as sodium. Studies by the Mayo Clinic show that you should have only 2,300 mg or less of sodium each day, and even less if you’re over the age of 50, you’re an African American, or you have health problems like chronic kidney disease, diabetes or high blood pressure.
While getting enough sodium is essential to your body, since it helps to ensure muscles relax and contract correctly and it helps balance the fluid in your body, you don’t want to take in too much. Getting too much sodium regularly may make your hair begin to shed.
③High Animal Protein
Excess animal protein in your diet may also cause problems with your hair and nails. Consuming too much animal protein may result in the buildup of uric acid within the body.
Your body isn’t able to digest extra animal protein. When uric acid builds up, it may result in hair loss, which is definitely something that you want to avoid.
④ Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
Although the FDA says that MSG is fairly safe, some scientists feel that MSG is a dangerous additive to food. MSG is found in many different products and may cause a number of different health issues, such as hair loss.
Many people have severe headaches after eating foods with MSG as well. MSG is often found in process sauces, lunch meats, sausages, canned soups, and chips. Avoid these foods.
⑤ Artificial Sweeteners
Don’t think that you can turn to artificial sweeteners to try to curb your sugar intake. Since artificial sweeteners are made from unnatural chemicals, they can be extremely unhealthy.
In fact, some artificial sweeteners have been shown to cause migraines, deafness, allergies, PMS and even problems with hair loss. Once again, sticking to natural forms of sugar is definitely your best option.
⑥ Artificial Colorings
You already know that coloring your hair artificially can be damaging to hair, but you may not realize that eating foods with artificial coloring in it can also be a problem.
Artificial colorings are unnatural and generally made from chemicals, making them less than healthy for your body, including your hair. For healthier hair and nails, try to avoid drinks and foods that include artificial colors.
⑦ Enriched Bleached White Flour
When enriched bleached white flour is made, all the good vitamins and minerals are stripped from the wheat and then after the flour is made, nutrients are added back into the flour.
For example, iron is stripped away, but the iron added to the flour is not the natural form of iron found in wheat, but a metallic iron that can be toxic.
Metallic iron cannot be used by the body and should not be consumed. Instead of absorbing the enriched flour like a grain, the body uses it as a starch.
Another problem is that this type of flour has no nutritional value and no fiber in it. Since your hair and nails need critical minerals, such as iron, and essential vitamins that are found in natural wheat flour, eating enriched bleached white flour isn’t a great addition to your diet if you want healthy hair and nails.
⑧ Soft Drinks
We’ve already discussed the problem with sugar, and soft drinks can contain 10 teaspoons of sugar within a single can. Along with the high amount of sugar, many sodas also use artificial sweeteners, artificial colors and corn syrup, not to mention, they have no nutritional value.
Drinking soft drinks regularly can cause dehydration, which results in dry hair and nails.
Honorary mentions include:
Full-fat cheeses and convenience foods. These two can cause an oily hair dandruff condition and dry scaly hair. It is best to eat natural the majority of the time to maintain a healthy body and luscious hair.
The way you eat has a significant impact on your hair and your nails, and of course, the rest of your body. To enjoy healthier hair and nails, start limiting these foods, and you’ll quickly begin seeing a difference.