3 Essential Nutrients To Prevent Ingrown Toenails

If you've been struggling with recurring ingrown toenails for a while now, you're not alone if you feel at your wits end when it comes to keeping them at bay. While many doctors may recommend removing the problematic toenail completely, not everyone wants to undergo a surgical procedure.

Thankfully, there are non-surgical permanent ingrown toenail solutions you can use to treat ingrown toenails. Braces, for example, are pain-free, quick to apply and encourage your toenails to grow normally. Your podiatrist may also recommend applying a medicated fluid to your toenails that softens the nail itself, giving it more flexibility and preventing it from growing inward.

But what about preventing ingrown toenails to begin with? You may find the answer in your diet. Here are three essential nutrients that can help keep your nails healthy and prevent inward growth.

1. Zinc

Zinc is involved in the growth and repair of many tissues in your body, and it plays a vital role in maintaining healthy toenails. The recommended daily intake for zinc is 8 milligrams for adult women and 14 milligrams for adult men.

Getting more zinc in your diet can promote healthy nail growth, encouraging your toenails to grow in a more natural direction. If you want to eat more zinc-rich foods, look at oysters, beef steak, pork chops and chicken. If you're a vegetarian, you can find zinc in tofu, legumes, seeds and yogurt.

2. Iron

Iron is another important nutrient for preventing ingrown toenails. Iron plays a role in the production of collagen—a protein that helps form the structure of your nails. Without enough iron, your nails can become brittle, dry and prone to breakage, which can lead to inward growth.

The recommended daily intake for iron is 8 milligrams for both adult women and men. Good sources of iron include red meat, chicken, fish and eggs. Vegetarian sources of iron include leafy green vegetables, legumes and fortified cereals.

3. Vitamin C

Vitamin C isn't just good for your immune system—it's also a big help with toenail health. Some people suffer from recurring ingrown toenails because of poor blood circulation. If the capillaries (blood vessels) in your nail beds don't get enough blood flow, your nails may struggle to grow healthily.

The recommended daily intake for vitamin C is around 45 milligrams. While vitamin C deficiency is rare in Australia, you could be affected if you don't eat enough fresh produce. Citrus fruits are a great source of vitamin C, as are bell peppers, strawberries and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts.