Healthy nails and cuticles are necessary for nail growth. Nails contain layers of a protein called keratin and can be fragile. Eating a healthy diet and following proper nail care are easy ways to keep nails strong and growing, but some homemade and natural oils can also be used to increase moisture and nail strength. These methods are cheaper and more natural than using store-bought oils and products designed to increase nail growth.
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Diet and Supplements
Because nails are made of protein, eating a diet rich in protein contributes to healthy nails. Red meat, chicken, eggs and turkey are all sources of protein. Other nutrients promote healthy nail growth as well, including folic acid, which is found in leafy vegetables and sunflower seeds; vitamin C, found in strawberries, oranges, melons and red peppers; and vitamin B-12, found in liver, ham and tuna. Biotin, found in whole grains, also contributes to healthy nails.
Oils designed to strengthen nails and improve growth can be made at home with natural and easily accessible ingredients. Simply soaking nails in olive oil or bath oil for five minutes moisturizes nails and prevents them from becoming brittle. This can be done daily to strengthen nails. Homemade cuticle oil can be made by combining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 10 drops of lemon juice. Cuticle oil can be rubbed on the nails every other day.
Proper nail care contributes to healthy nail growth. Keeping nails clean, including the area underneath the nail, prevents infections that inhibit nail growth. Nails can become damaged from exposure to cleaning products or hard surfaces. Wearing gloves for some chores and projects can keep nails strong and growing properly.