4 Ayurvedic Tips for Strong, Healthy Nails
For some, nails are a central part of one’s beauty regimen: always perfectly manicured and groomed. For others, they’re more of an afterthought. But more than being just an unnoticed part of the body or a fashion statement, our nails have a lot to say about our health. In Ayurveda, our nails are made out of tissues that are unusable for bone formation. As a result, our nails can give us insight into the health and strength of our body and bones.
As we’ve written about before, our nails can reflect our dosha. Vatas tend to have dry, brittle nails; Pittas tend toward pink, soft nails; and Kaphas tend to have thick, strong nails. If our nails are more brittle or soft than usual, that can tell us something about our doshic balance.
In addition, there are other markers of nail health that can indicate deeper imbalances within the body. For example, the lack or unhealthy appearance of small half moons—or lunula—at the base of the nail might indicate poor digestion and the buildup of ama. Prominent ridges on the nails can also indicate toxin buildup and poor absorption of nutrients into the bloodstream, while clubbing can indicate poor heart and lung function.
It’s important to pay attention to the state of your nails and how they might change over time, as such changes can indicate imbalances within the body. In addition, there are a number of Ayurvedic practices that can promote nail health more generally, leaving your nails looking radiant and strong.
Ayurvedic Nail Health Tips
Eat Vitamin-Rich Foods
Foods rich in Vitamins, magnesium, zinc, protein and iron all help to promote the growth of strong, resilient and healthy nails. In addition, the nutrients found in many of these foods do more than just strengthen the nails—they also boost hair, teeth and overall health.
- Dark leafy green vegetables
- Sesame and sunflower seeds
- Dried fruit
Keep Your Nails Moisturized
To prevent nails from drying, cracking or developing hangnails, it’s important to keep them hydrated. That requires more than just rubbing some lotion into your hands—you should also massage hydrating agents into each of your cuticles. One way to do so is by rubbing a wellness oil into your cuticles, massaging around the base and sides of the nail. The added bonus? You’ll get a luxurious aromatherapy experience that will not only hydrate and strengthen your nails, but also leave your mind and spirit relaxed.
Make a DIY Nail Cream
For even more heavy-duty moisture and nourishment, you can also make your own nail cream at home using ingredients from your kitchen. For example, you can apply a mixture of almond oil and honey to your nails and hands, leaving it on overnight for soft, supple nails. You can also try making a smooth cream out of equal parts avocado, honey and egg yolk, applying to the cuticles overnight.
Don’t Use Nail Polish Too Frequently
As research has shown, using nail polish can result in damage and discoloration to the nails; in the case of treatments like gel polish, you are more at risk of injuring the nail plate and bringing dryness and brittleness to the nails, in addition to the UV exposure involved in the process. While occasional manicures likely won’t cause long-term damage to your nails, it’s best to approach them with moderation, focusing on keeping your natural nails healthy and strong in the meantime. In terms of nail polish removers, try to choose ones that contain nourishing, neutralizing essential oils such as lavender or aloe vera.