Raw Foods and Healthy Nails

December 20th, 2008 by Tonya Zavasta

Long FingernailsAs I was signing up for my Bikram yoga class, the instructor said: “Look at her nails! Are they for real?” I get such comments often. I have very healthy nails and they do grow like weeds. I keep my nails long in case I ever need proof that I am getting enough protein. I can just say: “See! Nails are about 98 percent protein. The body will never let you have beautiful nails if it’s lacking protein.”

Your nails are composed of layers of a protein called keratin—the same protein that composes part of your hair and skin. Nails grow at about 0.1mm a day. As new cells grow, the older ones are pushed out toward your fingertips. It takes roughly four months to regenerate an entire nail.

Once, I loved wearing red nail polish. No more! Nail products are among the most toxic cosmetics on the market today. (Visited a nail salon lately? The jarringly intense aroma of acetone and other chemicals gives your nose the answer.) Nails are highly porous, and will absorb whatever you put on them. What’s worse, this gets absorbed directly into the bloodstream without passing through the liver for detoxification.

Most nail polishes contain chemical solvents to let the polish to flow easily and evaporate when drying. These are what give off the powerful fumes. You’ll find in that nail salon bouquet formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, and toluene, which has been linked to health issues from common headaches to liver and kidney damage.

Another chemical usually present is a plasticizer known as dibutyl phthalate (DBP), which makes polish strong, pliable and shiny. The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit research and advocacy group, has linked DBP to reproductive disorders. DBP is so toxic that some cosmetic companies are discontinuing use, but this won’t happen overnight. Even so-called natural alternatives, although they avoid the most toxic chemicals, are not completely free of synthetic ingredients.

Your nails’ color and condition directly reflect the overall health of your bloodstream and body, in much the same ways as your skin and hair do. If there are imbalances or deficiencies, they can often show up looking like such things as:

white spots or streaks, suggesting an over-acidic system or the resulting mineral deficiencies

vertical lines or ridges, which I experienced briefly.

I remember searching what oriental diagnosis has to say about this condition. To my great surprise I read: Vertical ridges indicate digestive weakness. That was puzzling to say the least. It is most likely true for people on the cooked food diet, but my digestion was better than ever before at that time.

I decided to continue with the raw food lifestyle and see what happened. Several months later my ridges disappeared. So I came up with my own conclusion: Vertical ridges that often appear on the raw food diet reflect a major reorganization of your digestive system. This is temporary condition will go away when your body finishes adjusting to the raw food lifestyle.
Some more symptoms…

horizontal lines, sometimes caused by changes in diet or climate, and sometimes from eating a raw food diet that is not balanced.

nails that split, usually from hydrochloric acid deficiency. Drink Green Smoothies!

dry and cracking nails, which have a variety of causes, usually external.

If you’ve read my books you know I suggest applying castor oil on your lashes every night. If you find that you have dry and cracking nails, why don’t you use the same oil? Start massaging and rubbing your nails just after you are done with your lashes. You’ll be impressed with the results.

Strong, beautiful nails should be no problem on a balanced raw food eating regimen, with proper, gentle nail care. By keeping your nails polish-free, you’ll enjoy the natural look and the satisfaction of knowing you are not compromising your health for mere vanity

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