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Does Eating Avocados Actually Strengthen Your Fingernails?

Our readers alert us to a lot of potentially terrific remedy. We don’t always know how–or even if–they work, especially at first. But we are intrigued by this reader making a connection between eating avocados and growing stronger fingernails.

Looking for a Link Between Eating Avocados and Strengthening Your Fingernails:

Q. Is there a correlation between eating avocados and strengthening one’s fingernails? I never had nice fingernails. They were always soft and splitting. About a year ago, I started eating avocados. Not only do I have stronger fingernails, but my hair is thicker and healthy-looking despite my years.

A. Avocado (Persea americana) is a uniquely American fruit. Its origins have been traced to south central Mexico roughly 10,000 years ago.

Nutritional Benefits of Eating Avocados:

The nutritional value of avocados is distinctive. They contain ample vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin E and several B vitamins. In addition, the fruit is high in potassium, a mineral that is often low in the American diet.

There is another unique nutritive aspect of avocados. They contain lots of heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) along with other phenolic compounds (Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, June 2021).

There was a time when nutrition experts advised against foods with a high fat content. That has changed. Now, nutrition experts recognize that the kinds of fats in nuts, olive oil and avocados are quite healthy. For example, one avocado has about the same MUFA content as 2 tablespoons of olive oil or 1.5 ounces of almonds.

We could find no scientific research demonstrating that avocados can strengthen fingernails. That said, a lot of folk literature supports this concept. Your experience suggests that it just might be true. The healthy fats in avocados may play a role in this effect.

Applying Avocado Oil to Your Fingernails:

Another reader asked a question about applying avocado oil topically instead of eating avocados.

Q. I have a friend who swears by avocado oil for her cuticles. I found some in a French drugstore and like it, but it occurred to me that plain old olive oil would probably offer the same benefits. Am I right?

A. Many readers report that almond oil or olive oil both seem to help dry cuticles and strengthen fingernails. We are sure that avocado oil would work just as well. We do not know, however, if avocado oil is superior.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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  • Ochoa-Zarzosa A et al, "Bioactive molecules from native Mexican avocado fruit (Persea americana var. drymifolia): A review." Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, June 2021. DOI: 10.1007/s11130-021-00887-7
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