Your fingernails can tell you a lot about your health. Healthy nails are smooth and have a pinkish hue that is uniform in color.  Healthy nails are also strong and don’t break easily.  Here are a few things to look for on your nails – and a few things you can do to keep your nails strong and healthy.

Vertical ridges are probably the most common thing to see on your nails – especially if you are a bit older, as they do become a little more prominent in age.  Do not be alarmed if you see these ridges, unless they only occur on a few nails, are quite ridged, or come on very suddenly.  White spots on the occasional nail are also nothing to worry about as they are usually just from a trauma – or a bruise – to the nail, and they will grow out with the nail.

Yellow discoloration to the nail can be caused by a wide variety of things.  Wearing dark nail polish, smoking, or even conditions such as diabetes or sinusitis.  See your doctor if it comes on suddenly or is quite dark.

Green or brown colored nails are an important sign to see your doctor sooner rather than later because it could mean a serious health problem.    Quite often we see the first sign of health problems occurring on the nails.  It could also signify a fungal infection which would also need to be treated promptly in order to prevent it spreading.

If your nails are feeling a little brittle or are yellowish from wearing too much nail polish soak your nails in freshly squeezed lemon juice or honey.  Try not to wear nail polish all of the time – you need to give your nails time to be exposed to oxygen so they will stay healthy.  If you are wearing nail polish be sure to use a non-acetone remover to remove the polish as acetone can strip the nail and make it weak. 

To keep your nails in tip top shape make sure your diet is full of foods that contain zinc, calcium, and iron in order to keep your nails healthy and strong.  Moisturize your hands and nails frequently to keep them supple and healthy, and again – be sure to drink LOTS of water.  Start now and you’ll have beautiful, healthy nails by spring!