Looking good is just as much about taking care of your body on the inside as it is on the outside. Keratin is a protein that makes up your skin, nails, and hair. It is also found in your internal glands and organs. Keratin is less prone to tearing or scratching compared to any other protein found in the body. It is derived of wool, horn, and feathers of different animals and is often used in hair products. Keratin also strengthens the outer layer of the skin and boosts hair, skin, and nail growth. Keratin treatments and supplements can help strengthen your hair and keep it looking healthier, but there are several ways you can increase your natural keratin by adding certain foods to your diet.
Start by maintaining a diet that is rich in protein. Protein provides the body with amino acids needed to produce keratin. To prevent heart disease, avoid or limit your intake of fatty red meats. Choose fish, chicken, low-fat dairy, and lean meats instead to boost keratin production and enhance your hair, skin, and nails.
Foods that are rich in iron help transport oxygen from red blood cells to your hair follicles. Iron is found in animal protein and is easily absorbed by the body. Consume iron-rich foods found in both animal protein and plant foods including duck, turkey, shrimp, eggs, pork, lamb, beans, soybeans, black-eyed peas, lentils, and tofu.
Vitamin C aids in the absorption of vegetarian-based iron. To increase keratin production, eat grapefruit, oranges, papaya, strawberries, peppers, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts at the same time that you eat vegetable-based protein. Vitamin B enhances red blood cells that carry nutrients to your follicles to grow hair. Foods with folate and vitamin B-6 and B-12 include oatmeal, whole-grain cereals, lentils, garbanzo beans, bananas, shellfish, white potatoes, chicken breasts, parsnips, spinach, and beets.
Biotin is essential in metabolizing amino acids that create keratin. It is also useful in strengthening the hair and nails. Dietary sources of biotin are found in raw egg whites, and egg yolks.
Implementing these foods in your diet will affect the growth of new keratin. However, one should not expect immediate results. It can take anywhere from six months to a year for you to see a visible change. Supplements, such as whey protein powder and salon keratin treatments, can help speed things up in some cases.