Trans fats (trans fatty acids). Trans fats may also contribute to inflammation in your body, which contributes to heart disease. These unhealthy fats should be kept to less than 1% of your daily diet, advises the American Heart Association. To lower your intake, avoid foods containing or prepared with partially hydrogenated vegetable oil or solid fats made from liquid oils through a process called hydrogenation. Fried fast foods, vegetable shortening, margarine, baked goods, and microwave popcorn are common sources of trans fats for many Americans, so read food labels, and ask questions when dining out.
Instead, eating a diet that’s rich in these nutrients may help hair, skin, and nail health:
Vitamins A and C. These two nutrients are extra good for your skin. You can find both in dark leafy greens, like Romaine lettuce. Orange vegetables, like carrots, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin are also packed with these vitamins.
Antioxidants. These substances are thought to protect against cell damage, a key factor in aging. Dark red and blue-black berries, fruits, nuts, vegetables, dark chocolate (yes!), and green tea are some of your best sources. You’ll also find lots of antioxidants in beans, which are an excellent source of protein as well. Remember -- your hair, skin, and nails are made of protein!
Vitamins, A, C, and E, plus selenium and Coenzyme Q10 are antioxidants that can benefit your skin. Get your start on healthy skin antioxidants with foods like beef, chicken, salmon, Brazil nuts, olive, soybean, and canola oils. Also look for them in citrus fruits, carrots, sweet potato, broccoli, fortified cereals, and eggs.
Omega-3 fatty acids. These are “good” fats, which may help fight aging of the skin. You can find them in coldwater fish like salmon and mackerel, which are also good protein sources. Also look for Omega-3s in walnuts and canola, soybean, olive, and flaxseed oils.
Proteins. Your body needs the amino acids found in proteins to help repair cells and make new ones. In addition to maintaining healthy hair, skin, and nails, proteins are vital for healthy muscles, bones, and blood. Choose proteins from animal sources like lean cuts of beef or pork, seafood, eggs, skinless chicken and turkey, and low-fat dairy foods. You can also find them in plant sources that include beans, nuts and seeds, and soy-based foods.