You are What you Eat!

During assessment of the hair, skin, and nails, there may be signs of malnutrition. Lets look at some of the symptoms and their possible causes.

Vitamin A Deficiency:


  • Dry, flakey, scaly
  • Dry, bumpy skin ( Follicular Hyperkeratosis)

Vitamin C Deficiency:


  • Petechiae/ Ecchymoses


  • Splinter Hemorrhages

Niacin Deficiency:


  • Cracks in the skin
  • Lesions on hands, legs, face, or neck
  • Pellagrous dermatitis ( hyperpigmentation of sunlight exposed skin)

Iron Deficiency:


  • Brittle
  • Ridged
  • Spoon Shaped (Koilonychia)

Protein Deficiency:


  • Dull, Dry Sparse
  • Color Changes

Copper Deficiency:


  • Corkscrew Hair

Vitamin B6 Deficiency:


  • Nasolabia Seborrhea
  • Acneform forehead rash

Linoleic Acid Deficiency:


  • Eczema
  • Follicular Hyperkeratosis (Dry, bumpy skin)

Excessive serum LDL or VLDL levels:


  • Xanthomas (Excessive deposits of cholesterol)

Jarvis, C. (2012). Physical Examination & Health Assessment (6th ed.). St. Louis, Mo: Elsevier.




Quick Tips: 5 Ways to Feed Your Skin the Nutrients It Needs

Who knew eating healthy foods could improve your looks, too? Strawberries are a great source of vitamin C.
Wavebreak Media/Thinkstock

Unhappy with your dull complexion and sagging skin? You don’t need surgery — you need only eat the right foods to rejuvenate your skin and take years off your look, says dermatologist Nicholas Perricone, M.D.

Perricone, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Yale University School of Medicine and author of “The Wrinkle Cure,” is not alone in focusing on nutrition as a path to healthy, radiant skin. Hope is growing in the scientific community that the aging process can be slowed with vitamins.

The shining stars in the scientific race against wrinkles: antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and E. Antioxidants have the potential to overwhelm destructive molecules called free radicals, which live in every cell of the body and can destroy the skin tissue.

To support healthy skin (and hair and nails), experts agree that certain vitamins and minerals are essential. The top five are:

  • Vitamin C: This vitamin is critical for strong, healthy skin because of its role in the body’s manufacture of collagen, a protein that keeps the skin supple and tight. Even a slight deficiency can compromise the production of collagen. Fruits like pink grapefruit, kiwi and strawberry contain lots of vitamin C, as do bell peppers.
  • Vitamin E: The vitamin is thought to help in the fight against free radicals, though deficiency of vitamin E is not known to cause any disease. Pick up some sunflower seeds, Swiss chard and papaya to get your fill.
  • Thiamine: This B vitamin is important in ensuring normal cellular function in the skin. You can find thiamine in tuna and all sorts of beans, from navy to pinto.
  • Zinc: Normal epidermal cell growth is reliant on this mineral, which you can find plenty of in venison, crimini mushrooms and spinach.
  • Selenium: This mineral is critical in the production of glutathione, a natural enemy of free radicals. Brazil nuts are a great source of selenium, as are scallops, shiitake mushrooms and lamb.

Perricone says it’s simply about “eating the way we were told.” Leaving nothing to chance, however, the doctor also specifies the contents of a healthful diet for skin should include:

  • high-protein foods
  • antioxidant-rich carbohydrates
  • essential fatty acids

The diet is aimed at reducing skin inflammation, explains the dermatologist, because it’s inflammation that makes skin look dull and wrinkled, makes pores appear larger and causes discoloration of the skin.

Perricone’s ideal skin-healthy meal would include a 6-ounce (170.1-gram) serving of fresh grilled salmon, a romaine lettuce salad with lemon juice and olive oil for a dressing, and fresh cantaloupe.

Says Nick Lowe, M.D., the author of “Skin Secrets: The Medical Facts Versus the Beauty Fiction,” and a clinical professor of Dermatology at the UCLA School of Medicine: “If you eat a normal, balanced diet and take vitamin and mineral supplements, that should be more than adequate, and assuming you don’t smoke, the skin is a remarkably resilient organ.”

Please check out this Video on the link below on Nail health.

How Food Affects Your Hair

Besides being your “crowning glory,” your hair is also an important marker of your overall health. A good diet and smart lifestyle changes can have your hair–and your health–looking great.

healthy hair, Food cures

Now that you understand the basics of hair health, the best thing you can do is to start a hair–healthy diet today! By adding the correct foods into your diet you can have a healthier head of hair in less than a year.

Hair is a great marker of overall health. Good hair depends on the body’s ability to construct a proper hair shaft, as well as the health of the skin and follicles. Good nutrition assures the best possible environment for building strong, lustrous hair. But this is not a quick fix. Changing your diet now will affect only new growth, not the part of the hair that is already visible. You could get a completely fresh start if you shaved your head today and started eating a perfect, hair-improving diet tomorrow. Your new head of hair would positively radiate with health. But there’s really no need. Take my word for it: Starting a hair-healthy diet today will mean a more gorgeous head of hair within six months to a year, depending on how fast your hair grows. Hair growth rates vary between about 1⁄4″ and 11⁄4″ per month depending on age, gender, ethnicity, and other genetic and lifestyle factors. On average, a person can expect to have about 6 inches of new growth every year, so it will take about that long to notice the effects of your nutritional changes.

B Vitamins: Folate, B6, B12

These vitamins are involved in the creation of red blood cells, which carry oxygen and nutrients to all body cells, including those of the scalp, follicles, and growing hair. Without enough B vitamins, these cells can starve, causing shedding, slow growth, or weak hair that is prone to breaking.

BEST FOODS FOR VITAMIN B6: Chickpeas (garbanzo beans), wild salmon (fresh, canned), lean beef, pork tenderloin, skinless chicken, potatoes (white and sweet), oats, bananas, pistachio nuts, lentils, tomato paste, barley, rice (brown, wild), peppers, winter squash (acorn, butternut), broccoli, broccoli raab, carrots, Brussels sprouts, peanuts and peanut butter, eggs, shrimp, tofu, apricots, watermelon, avocadoes, strawberries, whole grain bread

BEST FOODS FOR VITAMIN B12: Shellfish (clams, oysters, crab), wild salmon (fresh, canned), soy milk, trout (rainbow, wild), tuna (canned light), lean beef, veggie burgers, cottage cheese (fat-free, 1% low-fat), yogurt (fat-free, low-fat), milk (fat-free, 1% low-fat), eggs, cheese (fat-free, reduced-fat)

BEST FOODS FOR FOLATE: Lentils, black-eyed peas, soybeans, oats, turnip greens, spinach, mustard greens, green peas, artichokes, okra, beets, parsnips, broccoli, broccoli raab, sunflower seeds, wheat germ, oranges and orange juice, Brussels sprouts, papaya, seaweed, berries (boysenberries, blackberries, strawberries), starchy beans (such as black, navy, pinto, garbanzo, and kidney), cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, corn, whole grain bread, whole grain pasta


People ask me about biotin for hair health all the time. Usually, they’ve heard about it on a shampoo commercial or read a magazine article that recommended biotin supplements. Biotin is a B vitamin essential for hair growth and overall scalp health. Because our bodies make their own biotin in the intestines, and it is plentiful in many common foods, deficiency is very rare. In those few cases where people are very ill and don’t have use of their intestines, biotin deficiency causes hair loss. So yes, biotin is important for hair health, but you don’t need to take supplements. Just eat a balanced diet that includes some high biotin foods.

BEST FOODS FOR BIOTIN: Eggs, peanuts and peanut butter, almonds and almond butter, wheat bran, walnuts, Swiss chard, whole wheat bread, wild salmon (fresh, canned), cheese (fat-free, reduced-fat), cauliflower, avocadoes, raspberries

Iron-Rich Protein

Iron helps red blood cells carry oxygen. Iron deficiency can lead to anemia, a condition in which cells don’t get enough oxygen to function properly. The result can be devastating to the whole body, causing weakness, fatigue, and possibly hair loss. One large scale study found that premenopausal women who reported severe hair loss were more likely to have low iron reserves (as measured by a test for an iron storage protein called ferritin) than women who reported little or no hair loss. Women of childbearing age are more likely to experience iron deficiency because they lose a significant amount of iron from the blood shed during menstruation. Women with heavier periods will lose more iron than those with lighter flow.

For most people, foods can provide all the iron necessary for good health and strong hair. I recommend iron-rich protein for two reasons. First, protein is necessary for all cell growth, including hair cells. Hair gets its structure keratin, and without enough protein for keratin, your strands will weaken and grow more slowly. Second, the iron found in meat (called heme iron) is more easily absorbed by the body than the iron in plant foods (non-heme iron).

Vegetarians can meet their iron requirement by consuming plenty of iron-rich plant foods like starchy beans, lentils, and dark leafy greens. Vitamin C improves the body’s ability to absorb non-heme iron, so vegetarians should eat iron-rich foods and foods rich in vitamin C at the same meal. Before menopause, women may want to consider taking a multivitamin that contains iron.

BEST FOODS FOR IRON-RICH PROTEIN:Clams, oysters, lean beef and lamb, skinless chicken and turkey (especially dark meat), pork tenderloin, shrimp, egg yolks

BEST IRON–RICH PROTEIN (vegetarian sources): Tofu, tempeh, soybeans (edamame), lentils, starchy beans (such as black, navy, pinto, garbanzo, kidney), black-eyed peas

BEST IRON–RICH VEGETABLES (low in protein, but offer ample iron):Spinach, seaweed, Swiss chard, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, mustard greens, kale, broccoli

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is necessary for hair health for many reasons. Vitamin C helps the body use non-heme iron — the type found in vegetables — to assure that there is enough iron in red blood cells to carry oxygen to hair follicles. Vitamin C is also used to form collagen, a structural fiber that helps our bodies — quite literally — hold everything together. Hair follicles, blood vessels, and skin all require collagen to stay healthy for optimal growth. For example, some of the first signs of severe vitamin C deficiency are tiny bumps and red spots around the hair follicles on the arms, back, buttocks, and legs. These bumps are caused when tiny blood vessels leak around the follicles. Hair growth is also affected. On the body, the small hairs on arms and legs can become misshapen, curling in on themselves. On the head, even minor vitamin C deficiencies can lead to dry, brittle hair that breaks easily.

BEST FOODS FOR VITAMIN C:Guava, bell peppers (all colors), oranges and orange juice, grapefruit and grapefruit juice, strawberries, pineapple, kohlrabi, papaya, lemons and lemon juice, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, kidney beans, kiwi, cantaloupe, cauliflower, cabbage (all varieties), mangoes, white potatoes, mustard greens, tomatoes, sugar snap peas, snow peas, clementines, rutabagas, turnip greens, raspberries, blackberries, watermelon, tangerines, okra, lychees, summer squash, persimmons

Beta Carotene

Beta carotene in foods is converted to vitamin A in the body, and vitamin A is necessary for all cell growth, including hair cells. A deficiency can lead to dry, dull, lifeless hair, and dry skin, which can flake off into dandruff. Note that you can have too much of a good thing when it comes to vitamin A — excessive amounts can cause hair loss. My advice is to add more beta carotene–rich foods to your meals rather than take vitamin A supplements. If you should choose to take a multivitamin, check the label to make sure that your brand supplies no more than 50% DV of vitamin A in the form of retinol. Retinol is listed on supplement labels as palmitate or acetate. The other 50% or more should come in the form of beta carotene or mixed carotenoids, which are converted to vitamin A only as we need it.

BEST FOODS FOR BETA CAROTENE:Sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, butternut squash, turnip greens, pumpkin, mustard greens, cantaloupe, red peppers, apricots, Chinese cabbage, spinach, lettuce (romaine, green leaf, red leaf, butterhead), collard greens, Swiss chard, watercress, grapefruit, watermelon, cherries, mangos, tomatoes, guava, asparagus, red cabbage


The mineral zinc is involved in tissue growth and repair, including hair growth. It also helps keep the oil glands around your hair follicles working properly. Low levels of zinc can cause hair loss, slow growth, and dandruff. The amount you get from eating foods rich in zinc is plenty to keep your tresses gorgeous. Aside from a multivitamin that provides up to 100% DV, I don’t recommend taking extra zinc supplements because excess zinc can inhibit your body’s ability to absorb copper, a minor but necessary mineral.

BEST FOODS FOR ZINC:Oysters, lobster, lean beef, crab, ostrich, wheat germ, skinless chicken or turkey (especially dark meat), lean lamb, clams, mussels, pumpkin seeds, yogurt (fat-free, low-fat), pork tenderloin, starchy beans (such as black, navy, pinto, garbanzo, kidney), lentils, black-eyed peas, soybeans (edamame), lima beans, pine nuts, cashews, peanuts and peanut butter, sunflower seeds and butter, pecans






2 thoughts on “You are What you Eat!

  1. I agree it is interesting that what we put into our bodies does reflect in our skin. Great post.

  2. It is really interesting to see how our bodies express our deficiencies in our skin. Great information!

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