What are the best foods to eat for skin and hair? Nutrition is vital for good health. Poor nutrition can damage your metabolism; lead to weight gain and even damage organs such as the kidneys and liver. What we eat also affects our other body organs like skin, hair, and nails.
As scientists gain more knowledge about diet and the body, it is now clear that what we eat can have a profound effect on the skin, hair health, and aging.
Eating right with a wide variety of nutritious foods is key to keeping you healthy inside and out. And some vitamins, macronutrients, and minerals can supply nutrients important for healthy hair, skin, and nails.
There is no magical food that will keep us young, but diet along with lifestyle and attitude affects the appearance and age of your skin and hair.
What Should I Eat to Improve My Skin and Hair?
In this article, we will take a look at 5 of the best foods to eat for skin and hair.
Skin, hair, and nails are mainly made of protein. Keratin, collagen, and elastin are proteins that keep the skin healthy and give it firmness and elasticity. Most of us consume a lot of proteins from meat, chicken, fish, eggs, nuts, and dairy products.
Keratin is the major protein in our skin and forms the surface layer of hair, nails, and skin. Keratin creates the firmness of our skin and helps with protection barriers against infections that try to enter our body through the skin. 
So it is not always necessary to take a protein or collagen supplement. Instead, achieve the best results by eating foods rich in skin-boosting proteins throughout the day regularly as part of a healthy and balanced diet.
If protein is so important, which one is better? All important proteins are necessary for the body to function normally. If you are burned or seriously injured, your body needs extra protein to repair the damage.
And athletes who train intensely have a greater need for protein. But large steaks and protein shakes do not create bigger muscles or improve skin.
When we eat more protein than we need, our body converts it into fat and stores it, usually where we do not normally need it.
Food Rich in Proteins Include:
- Lean meats like lamb, beef, veal
- Poultry such as turkey, chicken, duck, goose
- Seafood and fish like prawns, lobster, oysters
- Dairy products (milk, yogurt- particularly Greek yogurt), (cheese- particularly cottage cheese)
- Nuts such as pine nuts, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, macadamias, cashews, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds
- Legumes and beans all beans, lentils, chickpeas, split peas
Essential Fatty Acids
Alpha-linoleinc acid (ALA), Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), Docosapentaenoic acid (DPA), and omega-6 (linoleic acid) are omega-3 fatty acids theses fatty acids are also called unsaturated fats or healthy fats.
These omega-3 fatty acids are an important part of the epidermis, the outer layer of the skin. If you do not get enough of these important fats, your skin can have dryness, flaky and itchy scalp.
Center for Human Skin Research (founded by CHANEL) in Neuilly Sur Seine, France carried out a study in 2012, published in Public Library of Science (PLOS One) found that monounsaturated fats (present in avocados, nuts, and olive oil) lower premature skin aging, probably due to their antioxidant effect, which prevents damage over time. 
To get enough of these essential fatty acids in your diet, try garnishing salads and cooking them with olive oil, you can also spread some avocado on toast, and try to consume fish such as salmon or tuna 3-4 times a week.
Essential Fatty Acid Rich Foods Include:
- Fishes (particularly cold-water fatty fish, like salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna, and herring)
- Seeds and nuts (like walnuts, flaxseed, and chia seeds)
- Plant oils (like soybean oil, flaxseed oil, and canola oil)
- Foods that are fortified (like yogurt, certain egg brands, juices, milk, soy beverages, and infant formulas)
In addition to the basic functions of iron in the metabolism and oxygen radicals mobilization, it plays an important role in the development, maintenance, and functioning of the skin.
Iron is an extremely important nutrient, especially for women. In our body iron carries oxygen to different organs through the blood, and fatigue is usually the first sign of iron deficiency. Pale legs, cracks on the sides of the mouth are the other signs of iron deficiency.
Iron deficiency makes skin pal, brittle nails, develop vertical stripes on them or they can even become spoon-shaped. Hair can shed more than usual and become brittle, dry, and dull.
Include vegetarian sources like leafy greens in your diet on regular basis or consume red meat 2-3 times a week. Choose the best foods to eat for skin and hair health.
It has long been known historically that iron is essential for the health of the skin, hair, mucous membranes, and nails. Clinical symptoms of iron deficiency include pale skin, itching, and susceptibility to skin infections (impetigo, candidiasis), swollen tongue, angular cheilitis, brittle nails, Koilonychia (spoon nails), and brittle dry hair. 
Food Rich in Iron Include:
- Red meat and poultry
- Dark green leafy veggies, like spinach
- Dried fruit, such as raisins and apricots
- Iron-fortified cereals, bread, and pasta
Zinc is essential for strong hair and the healing of wounds. Its deficiency can lead to skin damage, immune system damage, and slowed wound healing.
Zinc is also essential for hair growth and strength and helps maintain the proper functioning of the oil glands around the follicles so the hair also looks good and healthy. Hair loss is one of the clinical symptoms of zinc deficiency.
Dairy products, nuts, oysters, and whole grains are good foods to consume regularly to make sure enough zinc for healthy skin and hair.
Zinc an important mineral that is needed for the immune system functions, cellular metabolism, and healing of the wound. Studies show that zinc is effective in treating skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, and dermatitis.
Although zinc does not increase hair growth, including zinc-containing food in your diet prevents hair loss and lifeless looks of hair. 
Zinc Rich Food Include:
- Meat particularly red meat
- Shellfish- it is a low-caloric zinc source
- Legumes like chickpeas, lentils, beans
- Dairy products such as milk and cheese
- Dark chocolate
- Whole grains such as wheat, quinoa, rice
Vitamin C and E
Vitamin C is needed to produce collagen which tightens the skin, gives shape, and supports it. In rare cases, vitamin C deficiency (also known as scurvy) can cause bruising, bleeding gums, and poor wound healing.
Vitamin C is beneficial in several ways. Vitamin C, E, and beta-carotene are antioxidants that help reduce free radicals and slow down skin damage. Antioxidants can help in protecting the skin from UV damage and increase the skin’s resistance to irritants.
In normal skin, vitamin C is present in high concentrations which supports important and recognizable functions, stimulates collagen manufacturing and help protect antioxidant from UV-Induced photodamage. 
The main function of the skin is to act as a barrier against environmental threats, and this reflects in its unique structure. The skin consists of two layers the outer layer epidermis and inner dermal layer.
The outer layer epidermis is highly cellular and provides barrier function, while the inner dermal layer provides strength and elasticity and gives epidermis nourishing support.
Consume fruits and vegetables every day to prevent vitamin C deficiency and keep your skin’s natural defenses strong against the bad elements.
Rich Food Sources of Vitamin E and C Include:
- Acerola Cherries
- Rose Hips (a tangy, sweet, fruit grown on the rose plant)
- Chili Peppers
- Sweet Yellow Peppers
- Sunflower oil, and soybean oil
- Sunflower seeds
- Peanuts, peanut butter
- Spinach, Beet greens, collard greens
- Red bell pepper
Several supplements are there in the market that claims to contribute to the health of hair, skin, and nails, but they are not necessary – we can get all the essential nutrients we need from a balanced and healthy diet.
Choosing the best foods to eat for skin and hair is necessary for their development and maintenance. Good nutrition and healthy habits can benefit our hair, skin, and nail health, and eating the right food is great for our overall health and well-being. Good nutrition helps us feel best inside and out.