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What Your Nails Say About Your Health and How to Maintain Them

Let’s face it. We all want to have clean, polished and healthy-looking nails. Believe it or not, healthy nails serve as a physical indicator of the state of your overall health, well-being and fitness. Taking care of your nails, eating a nutritious diet and having a well-manicured appearance are important for your body.

Since we regularly look at our hands, we may notice issues: cracks, hollow spots, shape changes, peels and yellow colors. If any of these take place, it could be a sign of serious health problems, such as anemia, a paucity of vitamins and minerals, thyroid issues and respiratory disease. There is a wide variety of health matters that could be shown from the simple appearance of your nails.

What should a healthy fingernail look like? A specific shape (elevated towards the middle and curved downward at the open end), several layers of keratin are merged together finely, a pink color, smooth and strong.

If your fingernails have the traits of the aforementioned then there is no cause for concern. However, if you experience bleeding around the nails, a change in nail shape, nail discoloration or either thinning or thickening of the nails, consult your physician immediately.

With that being said, here are some tips to proper fingernail care:

Immediately following using the restroom, cooking a meal, eating a meal or anything else that has to do with your hands, be sure to wash your hands and nails with soap and water. It’s also important to dry them thoroughly to avoid bacteria and fungi.

“It is recommended that people spend 15 seconds washing their hands, and most people don’t spend even half that time,” said Dr. Carol A. Kauffman, an author of a study that found not washing hands can result in harmful bacteria and even outbreaks in certain professionals, including the healthcare industry.

Instead of letting your nails grow or biting them when they’re too long (or you’re nervous) – a very bad habit that must be avoided at all times – it’s a good idea to trim and file your nails on a regular basis. Whether you use nail clippers, a filer or scissors, always keep your fingernails short and cut them when they’re soft, such as after a shower or a bath.

A trick to fingernail health is to sport gloves when cleaning, which is usually the time you are touching harmful chemicals. To prevent contact with these chemicals – even while cooking – wear gloves for protection.

Diet and Smoking
To promote healthy hands and fingers, it’s important to maintain a healthy and nutritious diet that consists of plenty of vitamins and nutrients. Also, start reducing your intake of alcohol, fats and sugar. On top of that, it would be prudent to quit smoking, which can cause significant damage to your fingernails.

When you use creams or hand lotions, try to rub this stuff into your fingernails and cuticles as it will moisturize them and promote healthier looking hands.

Adam Maxum