Hello! This is Renee from the Paradox editorial team (you’ve already heard from me here & here). This week, instead of discussing skincare, I wanted to talk about something that affects our entire body - keratin - and how to eat your way to healthy skin, hair and nails.
What is Keratin? Keratin is a type of cell that makes up our skin, hair and nails - basically the entire outer layer of our body! And being that the outermost layer of us is what people see, the health of our keratin cells plays a big role in how we are presented to the world. So yes - super important!
Despite the fact that once they become our skin, hair and nails, these keratin cells are, in fact, dead, we can still help them look their best as they grow out. This is where nutrition comes in. Our body forms keratin cells through a complicated process that involves amino acids and protein synthesis. If you’re showing dry or brittle hair, skin and nails, it may be a sign that your body doesn’t have a healthy toolbox for keratin production.
So what are the most important nutrients we need for creating healthy skin, hair and nails? Let us lay out the essentials for you here. The good news? You can get these simply through eating!
Did you know that fat is super important for creating bouncy skin and very necessary for transporting fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A & E? Upping your intake of omega-3 fatty acids is doubly great because it not only comes in healthy sources of fat, but it is also anti-inflammatory and regulates oil-production that nourishes our skin, hair and nails.
You may need more of this if: you have rough skin, dry hair and soft or brittle nails.
Fix it by eating: mackerel, salmon, sea bass, oysters, seaweed and algae, chia seeds, hemp seeds, flaxseeds.
Collagen is a complex protein that contains a whole host of amino acids, some of which are extremely important in creating keratin for our skin, hair and nails. Additionally, collagen makes up 70% of our dermis, the middle layer of our skin. Our dermis is important too because it contains glands that produce the oils that give us shiny hair.
You may need more of this if: you are experiencing sagging skin, wrinkles and stiff joints.
Fix it by eating:bone broth (one of the most recommended for collagen), or you can boost collagen production by eating protein rich foods in conjunction with citrus fruits, peppers, tomatoes, broccoli and greens.
Vitamin B usually refers to a group of water-soluble vitamins, but important ones to note here are B3 and B7. Niacinamide (B3) has been shown to be extremely beneficial to building our skin barrier. B7 (biotin), on the other hand, probably sounds familiar because of its ubiquity in hair & nail supplements. Biotin is very important to our hair and nails as it works with other B vitamins to create amino acids that help keratin production.
You may need more of this if: you are experiencing hair loss, scaly red skin, or confusion and nausea. Note: vitamin B deficiency is rare if you eat a balanced diet!
Fix it by eating: salmon, trout, liver/organ meats, eggs, beef, pork, legumes, avocados and nutritional yeast.
Free radicals are unstable atoms that can lead to oxidative stress, which has been associated with aging and even damaged hair follicles! Antioxidants like vitamin A, C and E have been shown to be powerful defendants against free radical damage. Additionally, vitamin C plays an important role in natural collagen synthesis, which help us create healthier keratin cells.
You may need more of this if: most people will benefit from upping their intake of antioxidants since it is more for prevention rather than correction.
Fix it by eating: lots of fruits and vegetables. It’s important to eat a variety as they all contain different variations of antioxidants. Big ones are sweet potatoes, spinach, tomatoes and broccoli.
You know how people say “I’m losing my hair over this?” While this sounds dramatic, it actually has some basis in real life since hair loss is an indicator of chronic stress. Magnesium has been shown to be able to calm the body and prevent calcium buildup on our scalp, which can lead to dandruff. Not to mention, magnesium also helps with protein synthesis for growing hair and preventing those gray strands!
You may need more of this if: you are experiencing tingling in extremities, muscle contractions and cramps.
Find it in: dark chocolate, avocados, cashews, almonds, brazil nuts, black beans and pumpkin seeds.
Want other ways to improve your skin through lifestyle changes? Here are some simple steps you can take. You can also supplement these changes by taking these vitamins for glowing skin. Then, boost your glow with our 100% organic, ethical and clean argan oil!
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