Expert Advice

How can I strengthen my fingernails naturally?

In addition to getting the right nutrients, it's important to moisturize your nails and cuticles daily.
How can I strengthen my fingernails naturally?
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Can I strengthen my fingernails naturally? Mine always break once they grow past my fingertips.

Because your nails are made of keratin (a protein), make sure you're eating enough of this nutrient. The recommended daily amount of protein for adults is 50 to 63 g (the amount in about 8 ounces of cooked salmon, for example, or one cup of quinoa and two cups of cooked chickpeas).

You can also drink a tea made from two herbs, nettle (Urtica dioica) and oat straw (Avena sativa), which provide calcium, iron, and silica, the minerals that you need for healthy nails. Pour 3 cups of boiling water over 2 tablespoons each of dried nettle and dried oatstraw (available at most natural food stores). Cover, steep for 20 minutes, and strain. Drink three cups a day. You can store leftover tea for up to two days in a covered glass container.

In addition to getting the right nutrients, moisturizing your nails and cuticles daily will keep them from drying out and splitting. Try Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream ($6; 0.3 ounce; burtsbees.com), available in natural food stores. Keep in mind that fingernails grow only about 1/8 inch per month, so it will take two or three months to see results.