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posted: 5/27/2013 6:00 AM

Your health: Diet affects nail health

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  • You can have nails like these if you eat the right foods to feed your body in a healthy way.

    You can have nails like these if you eat the right foods to feed your body in a healthy way.


Nail health

Healthy, beautiful nails aren't always easy to come by, but there are things you can eat to help with nail health, according to website

• Protein: Nails are made up of keratin, which is a protein, and a lack of protein in your diet could lead to soft and brittle nails. Incorporate a minimum of 60 grams of protein into your diet every day. The best sources of protein are lean meats, seafood, eggs, dairy, legumes, tofu and nuts.

• Vitamins: According to registered dietitian, nutritionist and health coach Sarah Mirkin, "vitamin C helps with iron absorption and works with vitamin E to boost and strengthen nails by promoting healthy blood circulation to deliver oxygen to the nail beds." Great sources of vitamin C include strawberries, oranges, kiwis, cantaloupe, yams, tomatoes and peppers. For vitamin E, eat nuts, eggs, avocado, asparagus and sweet potatoes.

• Biotin: According to nutritionist Christine Avanti, a study found that 2.5 mg of biotin per day was enough to significantly increase the firmness and hardness of nails. So make sure you include enough biotin in your daily eats with foods such as milk, salmon and whole grains.

• Iron: An iron deficiency in your diet can also lead to weak nails. Mirkin said great sources of iron include oysters, salmon, turkey, beef, tuna and chicken.

Allergy options

To be a "kid in a candy store" epitomizes the ultimate dream come true, one that only gets better when the shop is owned by your mom and aunt, says The Washington Post.

But for Justin Young, whose family owns Washington's Chocolate Chocolate, the reality was a nightmare. Because he was born with severe food allergies, nearly everything in the store -- the rich truffles, the dark-chocolate-dipped caramels, the milk hazelnut pralines -- was off-limits.

"One second of abandon could cost him his life," Chocolate Chocolate co-owners Ginger and Frances Park, Justin's mom and aunt, write in their new book.

"Allergies, Away!" is a cookbook and memoir, chronicling the past decade of the Parks' efforts to keep Justin's hives at bay without depriving him of treats.

Recipes in the book are free of nuts, dairy and eggs, per Justin's dietary restrictions. (It's important to note that recipes do contain other allergenic ingredients such as soy and gluten.)

Comfort foods such as lasagna are made with vegan cheese and tofu, and the chocolate truffles utilize soy creamer and soy butter -- alternatives that the writers claim taste as good as if not better than the "real thing."

The Parks, who write that they are neither doctors nor chefs, also share tales of visits to the allergist, which began 14 years ago when Justin was just 1.

"From personal experience, we know how the journey can leave you feeling lost in the dark," they write, "so perhaps our reports will shed a little light on what can be a frustrating process."

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