Support Healthy Hair, Skin and Nails with Your Diet

by | Jan 2024

Nutritious Foods

Photo: Melissa Jaeger

There is more than what meets the eye behind having healthy hair, skin and nails. The foods we consume affect the overall health of our hair, skin and nails.

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that is essential for our vision, immune system and skin health. The term “retinol” refers to preformed vitamin A, found in animal products. Scaly, dry skin can indicate vitamin A deficiency. Add more preformed vitamin A to your diet by adding salmon, eggs or fortified dairy milk to your weekly meal plan.

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that acts as an antioxidant, helping protect our cells from free radicals. Exposure to free radicals is common and occurs daily via air pollution, ultraviolet light from the sun or secondhand smoke. Vitamin C plays a critical role in collagen production—a protein in our bodies that is a component of our skin, cartilage and muscles. Incorporate vitamin C into your diet through citrus fruits, kiwi, broccoli or red bell peppers.

Iron deficiency anemia symptoms include brittle nails, pale skin and hair shedding. Consuming iron through lean meat and seafood in addition to nuts, beans and even fortified breakfast cereal can support iron levels and lead to a more balanced diet.

Eating a balanced and varied diet consisting of healthy fats, protein and nutrient-dense carbohydrates is key to supporting healthy hair, skin and nails.

Melissa Jaeger, RD, LD, is a Hy-Vee registered dietitian. You can find out more information about Hy-Vee dietitian services at


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