Strong Nails, Beautiful Hair, and Radiant Skin

March 25, 2023

 There is a lot of misinformation online and on social media about skin, hair, and nails. It seems like everyone is trying to sell something that will be the overnight fix or the magic cure. As dietitians, we want to clear all this up for you today, because strong nails, beautiful hair, and radiant skin begin on the inside and there is always a nutrition connection. It’s not just about vanity because what we see on the outside is like a barometer of your internal health. We’ll give you ideas on what you can do to see these positive changes for your hair, skin, and nails!

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MELANIE: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition, brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. We are a company specializing in life-changing nutrition education and counseling. I'm Melanie Beasley, a Licensed and Registered Dietitian. I'm a nutrition counselor at the Eagan location, and I also see clients over Zoom and teach classes as well.

BRITNI: And I'm Britni Vincent, also a Registered and Licensed Dietitian. And I meet with clients via Zoom and in person at our St. Paul office. And right now I am teaching Nutrition for Weight Loss, the foundation's class.

MELANIE: Love that class.

BRITNI: And soon, next week, the OSE class will begin: Ongoing Support and Education.

Sign Up for Nutrition 4 Weight Loss or Ongoing Support and Education

MELANIE: That's a fun one.


MELANIE: The women get to share more.

BRITNI: Yeah. It’ll be great. And the title of our show today is “Strong Nails, Beautiful Hair, and Radiant Skin: Nutrition May be the Answer”.

MELANIE: I bet we got some attention now.

BRITNI: Yeah, I think so.

MELANIE: No one's going to click out in the middle of this one.

BRITNI: Definitely not.

MELANIE: Well, I'm really excited about our topic today because there is a lot of misinformation online and on social media about skin, hair, and nails. It seems like everyone is trying to sell something that will be the overnight fix or the magic cure. We're all looking for it. Britni and I want to clear all this up for you today because strong nails, beautiful hair and radiant skin begin on the inside. And there's always a nutrition connection.

BRITNI: You know, I was curious about how much money is spent each year on beauty and personal care products. So I did a little research and statistics from consumer and market data show that around the world, the beauty industry will bring in about $570 billion this year.

MELANIE: We're in the wrong business, I guess.

BRITNI: Yeah. Wow. And almost a hundred billion of that revenue is coming from sales in the United States. You know, I went to Sephora, the beauty store over the weekend. I could not believe how busy it is.

MELANIE: It is. Full disclosure: I'm kind of an Ulta and Sephora junkie. I mean it, it is my guilty pleasure. I do love cosmetics. I've never grown up. It really is a big deal out there and people love it. Women want to feel better about their skin. And I contribute some of this to sales always. And I have always been susceptible to the sales. You know, when they say, oh, this great lipstick will stay on, you know, for the next nine years, I'm, I'm in.


MELANIE: I want to try it. But most of us spend a certain amount of money on skin, hair, and nail products, especially women. But as dietitians, we know that positive changes on the outside for hair, skin, and nails happen when people focus on what they're putting inside their bodies. I mean, really, Britni, if you've got a beautiful palette, then it's really fun to play with the cosmetics. But we're talking about, let's start from the inside.

BRITNI: Yeah, absolutely. And wanting to have strong nails, shiny, thick hair, radiant skin, it's not just about vanity. What we see on the outside is like a barometer of your internal hub.

MELANIE: Good way to put it. I notice that myself: if I start to feel bumpy, dry skin on the back of my arms, I know it's because I haven't been getting enough omega-3 fatty acids either from eating salmon several times a week or taking my omega-3 fish oil supplements. And that is just one example of how nutritional deficiencies can show up on your skin.

BRITNI: Right. And we're going to talk more about the importance of omega-3 fatty acids and other fatty acids that a lot of folks are deficient in just a little later in the show. And Mel, when you just said that strong nails, beautiful hair, radiant skin begin on the inside and there's always a nutrition connection, can you tell our listeners what are some of the most common things lacking in diets that would help?

Low protein and low fat eating: common downfalls

MELANIE: Okay. Everybody needs to sit down and get a pencil.


MELANIE: I have some ideas. Well, it's, it's usually a combination of low protein, especially in women and low fat eating.

BRITNI: I agree.

MELANIE: Especially in women.


MELANIE: Ever since the 1960s, low fat eating was sort of the standard recommendation people were getting. They were told, cut out the fat from your diet and it'll lead to weight loss and better health. By the 1980s, that message was being promoted by everyone: doctors, the government, the media, the food industry. Of course, we know now that eating low fat is the worst thing for both health and weight loss. And we talk about that all the time in our counseling sessions, also in our classes. And of course the radio show.

BRITNI: Exactly. All we have to do is just look at the rising rates of obesity, both in adults and children, and the prevalence of type two diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer's, cancer, and, and I mean the list goes on and on, unfortunately. And clearly low protein, low fat eating has not benefited our population.

But it's a really difficult habit to break because we've been hearing that message over and over and over. And what I've noticed, even with some family members who were told that message, is that when they tried to remove fat from their diets, it also resulted in a low protein diet. So if you think about it, rich sources of protein such as meat, eggs, whole fat dairy, fattier fish, even the darker poultry meats that have skin or some fat on them, all of those wonderful sources of protein also contain good fats. So if someone is afraid to eat fat, or maybe they have just gotten into that habit since the 1980s, they're also likely eating low protein.

MELANIE: Low protein is a big problem. A lot of my clients feel that they're getting enough protein. And then when we talk and I tell them how much I want them actually eating, they're kind of flabbergasted.


MELANIE: It seems like a lot. But when we see that all the time, what we want to do is start correcting it, because then we get to see the benefit in our clients. A low fat, low protein diet by default ends up being a high carbohydrate diet. And a higher carb, especially processed carb diet that is lacking in vegetables and fruit can lead to deficiencies in collagen, keratin, and elastin. These are all the three most abundant proteins in our bodies. Of course, we need collagen, keratin, and elastin for healthy skin, hair and nails.

BRITNI: And protein is so key because it provides tissue growth, tissue repair, tissue structure. Not eating enough protein means that the building blocks are missing for hair growth, nail growth, smooth skin. And I mean lots of other parts of our body as well are going to be affected by lack of protein.

MELANIE: Lack of protein is… and I just had a client yesterday that I got to see after her initial appointment, and this was her follow up. She said, Melanie, I'm just not hungry all the time. By the time you focus on getting all the protein in, she said, I'm so satisfied. I have so much energy. So not only is it benefiting her hair, skin, nails, but she doesn't crave the stuff that doesn't benefit her hair, skin, and nails.

BRITNI: That's great.

Healthy fats are hydrating

So, and healthy fats are also critical for hydrating from the inside out. Healthy fats like butter, avocados and coconut oil not only help your hair and nails grow, but they support shiny, smooth hair and nails as well as firm smooth skin. So listeners look at your nails. Are they full of ridges? Do they have white spots? Are they thin and do they flake? Well, a bonus when you eat real healthy fats and oils is your food tastes a hundred times better because all the good flavors come from the fats and the oils. They bring out that deliciousness of food. It that's, that's the clinical term.

Nutrition tip #1: Eat adequate protein

BRITNI: It makes it much easier to eat all the vegetables. That's for sure. And you know, we have a lot to cover today, so let's dive right into our first nutrition tip number one, which is to eat adequate protein. Not eating enough protein leads to poor hair growth, thinning or brittle hair and sometimes even hair loss.

MELANIE: Hair loss. I don't know about you, but I'm seeing that so much in clinic right now.


MELANIE: Wouldn't it be great if this is the simple solution? It might be for some people. And if you can't get your nails to grow or they're brittle or break easily, or maybe you notice vertical ridges in your nails that I mentioned, that can be from not eating enough protein. So I recently began refocusing myself on eating enough protein and my nails are growing like crazy and they're hard. And I keep running up to my husband going, feel how strong my nails are.

BRITNI: Well, like we said earlier, it is a good barometer of what's going on on the inside.

MELANIE: Yeah. If you've got healthy nails, skin and hair, chances are very good you've got a healthy interior matrix going on.

BRITNI: Now is time for our first break. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition and today we are talking about how to support the health and appearance of your skin, hair and nails. The majority of us are lacking in essential fatty acids that are needed to support strong nails, beautiful hair, and radiant skin. So stay with us because after break Mel will talk about one essential fatty acid many of you know as omega-3 fish oil. We'll be right back.


MELANIE: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. I'm Melanie Beasley, a licensed and registered dietitian. And I'm here today with Britni, who's also a licensed dietitian. Our foundational recommendations to improve overall skin, hair, nail health are to start with a diet that contains protein; I'm talking about animal protein; healthy fats and veggies and fruits.

Omega-3 fatty acids: important for healthy hair, nails & skin

But because almost all Americans are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids, if you are someone struggling with thinning hair, brittle nails, wrinkles, or other body signs that we have mentioned today, you would benefit from taking a pure omega-3 fish oil supplement. I mentioned earlier in the show that when I'm not eating my regular cold-water salmon, which I eat about three times a week, or taking omega-3 supplements, I start to notice those annoying dry bumps on the back of my arms, especially here in Minnesota. Omega-3s are my go-to support for skin, hair, and nails. And in the winter I have to take four a day to keep those little bumps away.

BRITNI: Yeah.  

MELANIE: So it works.

Protein promotes healthy tissue growth

BRITNI: I believe it. Before the break we were talking about tip number one, which is getting adequate protein. And you know, protein has the building blocks needed for healthy tissue growth. So it makes sense that eating a low protein diet could also lead to premature wrinkles on the skin or skin that's more saggy, less elastic. Many of my female clients also complain that they have papery crepe like skin as they're aging.

MELANIE: And I'm also going to mention, I have a lot of clients that complain about thin skin vaginally.


MELANIE: And so skin covers our body everywhere.


MELANIE: And so when you have that healthy skin and good omega-3 fatty acids, it can really help that situation as well.

BRITNI: That is a great point.

MELANIE: So our skin does start to lose some of that elasticity as we get older. But eating adequate protein every day, that process can be slowed down.

BRITNI: So let's break down what we mean by adequate protein. If any of you have these body signs that resonate with you, chances are you need more protein. I tell my clients to improve the growth of hair and nails and to reduce wrinkles and saggy skin, they should really strive to eat 12 to 16 ounces of protein a day, which equals 84 to 112 grams. So what that means is including protein at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even snacks.

MELANIE: And breakfast is a big deal to include protein. I recently read some research that our bodies actually utilize protein best in the early part of the day. So when we are, you know, we are not getting anything until lunch, maybe you're not getting enough protein in.

BRITNI: It would be hard to.

MELANIE: It is really hard to. Trust me. I have really focused in trying to get about 14 ounces in and if you're in, if you're in the hole by the time lunch rolls around, it's a lot. And our bodies utilize protein better when we spread it out throughout the day instead of trying to sit down and eat a 16 ounce piece of meat.

BRITNI: Yeah. Which then at that point is not even enjoyable.



MELANIE: Past the eight ounce, I don't think it's enjoyable, but think about it. If you're someone who either skips breakfast or grabs that quick carbohydrate breakfast, like a granola bar on your way out the door, then maybe we need to skip the bagel, the toast, the fast bowl of cereal because none of those foods contain protein. Then for lunch; I hear this a lot, Britni, if clients are not skipping lunch, they're frequently eating more carbohydrate based meals.

It might be a pasta lunch with no meat or very little meat or a sandwich that has two slices of bread with hardly any protein. If an afternoon snack is a trip to the vending machine for chips, by dinnertime, that person has consumed zero to maybe 20 grams of protein in total. It's just not enough.


MELANIE: Because for optimal hair, skin and nail growth and that good quality skin, remember the goal is close to a hundred grams of protein in a day.

BRITNI: To get around a hundred grams, that means, again, starting at breakfast and breakfast really sets the tone for the day as to how you're going to feel, if you're going to have cravings. So getting, you know, 25 to 35 grams of protein at breakfast and lunch and dinner and snacks might be closer to around 10 to 15.

Key components in protein: iron and zinc

You know, I also want to mention what some of the key components are in protein that are needed for healthy skin, hair and nails. You know, iron and zinc are really the top two.

MELANIE: Yeah, that's, that's a really good point because zinc is a mineral. 75% of people are not getting enough of from their food. And proteins are rich in zinc, especially meat. A zinc deficiency can cause hair thinning or hair loss and can also lead to white spots on the fingernails. And when it comes to your skin, being low in zinc can make it harder for wounds to heal. I've also had clients low in zinc and they complain of acne, eczema or rosacea breakouts. So that zinc can make a huge difference in your skin and your teenager's skin.



BRITNI: And eating protein several times a day will help to increase your zinc. But if these body signs and symptoms sound familiar, you might want to add in a zinc supplement. So at least for three to six months just to bring up your zinc levels. We have two options for zinc supplements and I like them because neither one of those cause nausea or other digestive issues like some other drugstore brands do.

The Reacted Zinc has 54 milligrams and this is a slightly higher dose that could be taken daily for a short amount of time, like three to six months. Zinc Picolinate contains 15 milligrams, which is a lower dose, and that one is fine to take long-term on a daily basis. And then I also want to mention if you are taking a multivitamin, a lot of multis have zinc in it.


BRITNI: Usually between 10 to 15 milligrams. So in that case you might not need to add additional zinc.

MELANIE: Good point.

BRITNI: And zinc helps with also immune system. So the higher dosing can be helpful during winter months, you know, to help prevent the colds and flu going around.

MELANIE: Yeah. I know my multi has zinc in it. So when I feel something coming on, then I start taking additional zinc because your body burns through it when you're sick.

BRITNI: That's a great way to do it.

The importance of iron

MELANIE: Well iron is another really important mineral that is plentiful in red meat. I like to use a cast iron skillet for cooking at home as another way to get iron. Iron deficiency in the body can cause hair loss, thinning or brittle hair. The other body signs of being low in iron are poor nail growth, brittle nails and those vertical ridges on the nail beds. And I want to mention restless legs.


MELANIE: Oh that's a big sign if I have a client with restless legs. And I've given her lots of magnesium and she still has those restless legs, then I have her go get tested for her iron status.

BRITNI: Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. And the most natural way to bump up iron levels is by eating high quality red meat on a regular basis. It's important to look for high quality sources though. So organic, grass fed or pasture raised is always best. If there is a true iron deficiency, then supplementing with iron for a while does work best. You know, I like to say test, don't guess.

MELANIE: Especially with iron, right?

BRITNI: Yes. You don't want to just take iron willy-nilly. You only want to take iron if you are truly deficient.

MELANIE: It's a good, that's a good place where you want to be working with a nutritionist or a dietitian.

BRITNI: For sure.

MELANIE: Some doctors just test hemoglobin and that just doesn't give the whole picture. I had a client who was struggling with hair loss, brittle nails that broke easily. She was really fatigued, had a hard time breathing when she tried to climb the stairs, she had the restless legs and the doctor tested her hemoglobin and it came back in the normal range. Then she heard from her friend that she should have her ferritin level tested because it would be more accurate. And I said absolutely. And it was so low.

BRITNI: Ugh. Yikes. I have seen that often as well. And that, you know, it makes sense. Ferritin is our iron storage marker and sometimes hemoglobin appears to be normal, but low ferritin often happens before the hemoglobin levels drop. So it is so important to have the ferritin checked as well.

MELANIE: Getting that checked is, is so key. That's what my client discovered. Her ferritin lab was only 12. Like I said, it was so low.

BRITNI: Yikes.

MELANIE: And so I suggested she take our Reacted Iron supplement, which was, it's very absorbable. I did have her take some vitamin C with it, which even gave it a further assist in absorption. And within a few months her ferritin was back up in the seventies. Her energy came back so she could exercise. And it took awhile to see regrowth of her hair in her nails. But she did notice improvement in three to six months. And we'll be right back after Britni takes us to break.

BRITNI: You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Melanie and I were talking about the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. Research shows that almost a hundred percent of the population do not get enough omega-3 fats from food and sources. And that includes adults and children. Salmon, herring, sardines, mackerel and tuna are all good sources of omega-threes. But many people are not eating foods like cold water fatty fish on a regular basis that are high in those omega-threes. So they could really benefit from taking supplements. And we will be right back after the break.


MELANIE: Welcome back. You're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Britni and I are pleased to be here today to share our knowledge about how to improve the health of your skin, hair and nails. 75% of adults and 95% of children in the U.S. are lacking in essential omega-3 fatty acids. I really try to steer my clients toward food sources first for nutritional deficiencies.

But omega-threes are one that I have found are very challenging to get, especially if you have hair loss, brittle nails, wrinkles and dry skin. Taking 3,000 to 6,000 Nutrikey Omega-3 supplements will hydrate your tissues so much. Give it just a couple of weeks and you will be very pleased with the positive changes that you see.

BRITNI: Honestly, whether a client of mine eats fatty fish or not, I just recommend everybody take omega-threes because there's so many benefits.

MELANIE: I do too. And in fact I eat salmon three times a week. It's not enough. I don't want to eat it every day.

BRITNI: I can't even get three times a week. Unfortunately, it's just one of those foods for me. So I just make sure I take my omega-3 supplements.


BRITNI: Yeah, yeah. You know, before break we were talking about iron deficiency, specifically in getting your ferritin checked, not just your hemoglobin. And Melanie, you had mentioned a client who had low ferritin. She started taking iron and her ferritin got back up into the seventies. So that is where we want it. Optimally it should be 75 or above.

MELANIE: And you just feel better.

BRITNI: Yeah. Oh, iron affects so many different things in the body. And I do want to mention, if you are eating as much protein as we're talking about today, but you still have iron deficiency, I would recommend you make an appointment with one of the nutritionists to figure out why you're not absorbing those iron rich foods. Because that can be an issue for some people as well.

MELANIE: Especially if you're a woman who is no longer menstruating and you’re deficient, something else is going on.

Easy tips for consuming protein: protein and collagen powder

BRITNI: Yep. Yeah, that's a good add. You know, and one thing I run into with clients is not everyone wants to eat meat or chicken or fish or eggs at every single meal. Especially if they're used to eating cereal for breakfast or pasta or sandwich at lunch. It can feel like a really big change to start eating animal protein four to five times per day. Two simple ways to start increasing protein are to use a good whey protein powder or even better for skin, hair and nails to use a collagen powder.

MELANIE: I have that every morning because I would rather drink my breakfast than eat my breakfast. I've just never been a breakfast girl. So in my smoothie I do a scoop and a half of my protein powder, a handful of frozen vegetables, like a half a cup of blueberries, water. I know. Britni, you add collagen to yours.


MELANIE: Blend it up. And I have my breakfast. I usually put in a little flax oil or ground flax, so that gives me my fat, my protein, my veggies. And I feel a little righteous walking out the door, having had some vegetables: two to three servings of vegetables.

BRITNI: Totally.

MELANIE: And your protein.

BRITNI: Yeah. It's a great way to start the day.

MELANIE: Earlier in the show we mentioned that keratin, elastin and collagen are needed for hair and nail growth, and also for firm, supple and glowing skin. I absolutely love the Key Collagen powder that we started carrying, and my clients love it too. When Kara and I were involved in filming the Menopause Survival Seminar in 2021, we learned a lot about how and why Key Collagen is different than many other collagen products on the market. For one thing, I love that it's clean. You don't have to worry about lead, which is in a lot of collagen products. You'd be surprised.

BRITNI: Yeah. Yeah. Collagen has definitely become the trend and you know, for a lot of good reasons. But just like any other supplement or powder, quality really varies. Just like you were saying Melanie. So that's why we were all so excited in 2020 when Nutritional Weight and Wellness brought this product in. And when people think about taking collagen, it's usually to support joint health or improve skin, hair and nail health. And some collagens only support joint health or maybe they only support hair growth. But Key Collagen has four different patented peptides and each one plays a specific role in the body.

MELANIE: Yeah, I love that. The Tendoforte strengthens tendons and ligaments. Fortigel supports cartilage regrowth. Fortibone supports bone mass. And last but not least, Verisol is the specific peptide that supports skin, hair, and nails. It's amazing that one product can support so many different types of tissues in the body. Collagen is magical.

BRITNI: It really is. And people notice a difference. They truly do. I have a lot of clients that just put their, their collagen in their coffee each day and it mixes really easily. No flavor. It's super versatile. You could mix it in your water, coffee, or smoothie. Keep in mind that any sort of thinning hair, hair loss, so nail growth or wrinkles and fine lines on the face, you know they don't appear overnight. Right?


BRITNI: So try taking one to two scoops of this every day, but give it at least three to six months before you look for noticeable improvements. Most people see some improvement right away, but for more dramatic results it does take more time. And you know, I do it every day either in a smoothie or my coffee. And I really started to be diligent during both of my pregnancies to try to prevent stretch marks.

MELANIE: Oh. How'd you do? You had twins.

BRITNI: And no stretch marks.

MELANIE: And listeners, she has great skin.

BRITNI: I really, I really think the collagen, you know, made a huge difference in that. Because believe me, my belly stretched a lot.

MELANIE: It did. You, it was so cute. We have other great protein powders that aren't collagen based. Vanilla whey protein powder and chocolate or Vanilla Paleo Protein Powder. They're all wonderful and they count as a serving a protein for a meal or a snack. Like I said, this is what I do for breakfast. We have at least 15 to 20 protein smoothie recipes on our website if you don't want to come up with a creative idea of how to make one. They're really simple to make. Most of the recipes only have four ingredients. So I actually set my blender out and I put all the dry ingredients in the blender and go to bed. So in the morning all I have to do is, is put in the wet ingredients.

BRITNI: Great idea.

MELANIE: I'm busy in the morning.

BRITNI: Love it. It's just such an easy way to get that 25 to 35 grams of protein for a meal or more if you need more. With any of our smoothie recipes, my kids love smoothies. They ask me to make them sometimes. They love pressing the button and helping, you know, add in the ingredients.

MELANIE: Oh, so great.

BRITNI: And then I always add vegetables and they're just used to it being green. But I think maybe their favorite one is the PB and J smoothie recipe on our website.

MELANIE: So good.

BRITNI: Yeah, it's yummy.

MELANIE: And you know, another thing is our chocolate protein powders don't have lead in them.


MELANIE: So right now there's a lot of lead in chocolate.


MELANIE: So it's nice that you can get a source of chocolate without a worry.

BRITNI: That is a very good point. You know, let's get back to talking about that old mentality of eating that we talked about during the beginning of the show. The low fat eating pattern that inevitably ends up with being low protein as well. You know, if you're listening and you are ready to embrace adding in protein to your to your meals, snacks to improve your skin, hair and nails, don't forget to make sure there's also that healthy fat in there.

Tip #2: Embrace healthy oils and fats

So this is tip number two. Embrace healthy oils and fats. Some protein sources do contain fat, but if your goal is to have that shiny, smooth, and radiant looking skin, hair and nails, you're going to want to add 10 to 15 grams of healthy oils and fat in addition with every meal and snack. Just think of these fats as hydrating from the inside out.

MELANIE: A hundred percent. And protein helps with the growth, but it's the healthy fat that locks in the moisture. So here's an example. If you, you might start eating more protein. So you sit down for lunch with your chicken breast on a salad and you drizzle fat-free dressing on it. The protein from the chicken is going to support your hair and nail growth. And the salad greens are rich in nutrients. But if you really want shiny, smooth lustrous hair and skin and nails, it's the healthy fats and oils that will seal the deal. So throw that fat-free salad dressing away. They usually have a lot more chemicals in them. And start switching to maybe a full fat, maybe like a Primal Kitchen salad dressing or something that's got a good olive oil in it.

BRITNI: It's already time for our third break. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. I'm Britni Vincent, licensed and registered dietitian. And I am here today with Melanie Beasley, who is also a licensed and registered dietitian. Our topic today is “Strong Nails, Beautiful Hair, and Radiant Skin”. Melanie and I explained how taking an omega-3 supplement can benefit nails, hair and skin and lots of other areas of the body. And there is another essential fatty acid that sometimes is difficult to get enough of from food. It is called GLA, gamma linoleic acid. And the two main sources are from plants: borage seed and evening primrose oil. We'll be back in a moment to share the benefits of GLA when it comes to skin, hair, and nails.


MELANIE: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. If you've been struggling with poor hair or nail growth, brittle hair or nails, maybe your skin is more wrinkly than you would like or dry and scaly, then maybe there are some nutritional deficiency issues. Gamma linoleic acid or GLA is an essential fatty acid and it can be challenging to get enough from food sources. So many people will supplement three to six GLA per day and they find that it really helps with dry skin, dull hair and nails. So sign me up. That's what I want.

Tip #3: Incorporate vegetables

BRITNI: For sure. Who doesn't want that? You know, we were talking before break about the healthy fat and you were giving an example about a salad. Speaking of the salad, that also leads us into the tip number three for today. So adding the protein, the healthy fat in: we've talked about that. You also want to start incorporating vegetables and fruits as your main source of carbohydrates. So that means reducing those processed carbs and sugar or completely eliminating them.

And then we're going to get a variety of different nutrients, you know, vitamin C, B vitamins. We get lots of minerals, good fiber. Not to mention all the antioxidants that we get in vegetables and fruit, which help to fight off the free radicals and prevent premature aging of the skin.

MELANIE: That's a really good point.


Tip #4: Drink adequate water

MELANIE: You know, I don't think anyone's going to be surprised by tip number four, but drink adequate water. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. If you're dehydrated, you are not going to have good hair, skin or nails. Your body, in order to process toxins and get rid of them, and also to hydrate and plump up your skin and your tissues, you need that water; pure filtered water.

So take your body weight, divide it in half. That's about how many ounces of water you should be drinking. And I know Britni, your clients and my clients will say, what about the coffee I drink? What about the tea I drink? And I say it's got to be that much water. And the coffee and the tea is just an added delicious bonus you get to add.


MELANIE: So we want to hydrate, and when we were in, we were talking earlier in the green room before the radio show and you had this great client story that I want you to share with our listeners.

BRITNI: Yeah. Yeah. I just saw her for a follow up a couple weeks ago. So it's top of mind. One of her goals recently was to increase her hair growth because she felt like she recently lost some hair. And she did go through menopause about a year ago so that that comes into play for some women. But she previously was strictly gluten-free and she got a little lax. And so we put her back on a strict gluten-free diet, which we know helps her in so many different ways. She really upped her protein and she gets definitely around a hundred grams a day spread throughout the day. And then she's really been focusing on those healthy fats too. So last time I talked to her, she said, I am seeing new hair growth all over my hair.

MELANIE: Oh, wonderful.

BRITNI: It's exciting.


BRITNI: And hair growth, it takes a longer time to notice improvement. So you do want to look for those little baby hairs: that new hair growth or I've had clients take pictures.

MELANIE: Oh that’s a good idea.

BRITNI: That's on a monthly basis so they can track progress. For her, I think it's a combination of things, you know, going gluten free again, helped her to absorb all of her nutrients.


BRITNI: That protein, that healthy fat we've been talking about, and all of that, I think really helped her hair growth.

MELANIE: I see that gluten connection so much with being a nutrient binder.


MELANIE: And really affecting both the anemia, skin health, gut health. It just, it doesn't serve the body well. It used to a hundred years ago we could do it, but now it's different.


MELANIE: And our bodies don't respond well. But boy do I see a difference in glowy skin, healthy hair when my clients go gluten free and they don't run out and buy a bunch of processed gluten-free free products.

BRITNI: I agree. Yeah.

MELANIE: There's a great book, if someone's looking for a good book to read is by Dr. Nicholas Perricone. He wrote this interesting book called The Wrinkle Cure. And he lists the top factors that lead to skin wrinkles and sags. And they're all related to lifestyle, like excessive alcohol, cigarette smoking, lack of sleep, and what he calls a pro-inflammatory diet, which is basically a diet full of sugar, starchy, processed carbohydrates: all the things that on this show we talk about eliminating. We talk about how sugar and high carbs lead to those high blood sugars, which leads to inflammation, which translates to inflammation in your skin and your fingernails and your scalp.

BRITNI: The science term for this process is called glycation. It's thought that 50% of aging skin is caused by glycation. By swapping out those processed starchy carbs or sugary foods and beverages with vegetables and fruits that are rich in nutrient, this naturally stabilizes our blood sugar. And having that healthy skin, hair and nails really is an inside job like we've been talking about. And rubbing on those creams, lotions, it does not get to the root cause.

MELANIE: We might be saving some people money out there.

BRITNI: I really think that we will be.

MELANIE: Spend your money on the vegetables and the healthy protein. Spend your money on some good quality fats like cold pressed olive oil, coconut oil, grass fed ghee. Spend your money on the organic produce. You have to consume them. That can't go bad in your, in your refrigerator, but it really will start making a difference. Give your yourself a six month commitment and then you might be able to do away with some expensive skin creams.

BRITNI: I think you're right.

MELANIE: I use one that's clean but very inexpensive because I just tried everything. And then once I really, really focused, like I said, really, really focused on getting five servings of vegetables in, lots of protein in, healthy fats at every meal, it made a big difference. I mean…

BRITNI: That makes a huge difference.

MELANIE: I knew the information, but just had to really focus about 10 years ago I really, really committed.

BRITNI: Yeah. I've been there too. I tried every darn thing for acne under the sun and yeah, the, the answer was just my diet.

MELANIE: Just food.

Recap of tips for healthy hair, skin and nails

BRITNI: Yep. Just food. If, if only I knew that many years prior to struggling. So in recap, you know, the protein, the healthy fat every time you, eat those nutrient dense vegetables and fruit carbohydrates, about half your body weight and ounces of water every day. If you're nowhere near that, just start slowly increasing until you get up there.

So all of this is going to help prevent wrinkles and premature aging of the skin. Your skin's going to be glowing. Your nails are going to be strong and strong hair. And you know, the helpful supplements are omega-3 fatty acids or fish oil and then GLA, which is gamma linoleic acid and that comes from borage seed oil or evening oil. And then we also talked about being low in zinc and iron for some people out there.

MELANIE: Yeah. Working with a professional, that is something that you can figure out. You know, one of the things when I teach Nutrition 4 Weight Loss Foundations or even Ongoing Support and Education is when the clients start committing, and these are, you know, we've seen them eight to 12 weeks, is I'm standing in front and I can start seeing the difference in the glow of our clients.

BRITNI: I love that.

MELANIE: You really, it's like, I wish I could take a picture beforehand. Maybe I'll ask next class. And then at the end of class, take a picture so the clients can see that I'm seeing a difference outwardly in their appearance and their skin and just a healthy, healthy glow.

BRITNI: Gosh, I love that. You know, we talk about, you know, if weight loss is a goal, taking measurements if, if weight is important, you know, having a baseline weight, but we should really have people take pictures more often as the before because you know, sometimes change happens slowly. So you don't necessarily realize how much better your skin is looking until you maybe somebody comments.

MELANIE: But in that 12-week course, if you have someone who gives themselves the commitment of 12 weeks in the Nutrition for Weight Loss Foundations class and they say, I'm just going to do this for 12 weeks, just commit for 12 weeks, then we see a huge difference. It's a wonderful, it's a wonderful thing. I love teaching that class.

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BRITNI: It is amazing.

MELANIE: Well, our goal at Nutritional Weight and Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. It's a simple yet powerful message. Eating real food is life changing. Thanks for listening to Britni and I today. Have a great day.

BRITNI: Thank you.

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