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Keratin is a type of structural protein found in your hair, skin, and nails.

It’s especially important for maintaining the structure of your skin, supporting wound healing, and keeping your hair and nails healthy and strong.

Keratin supplements are often said to help prevent hair loss, increase nail growth, and improve skin texture. Yet, plenty of healthy foods may naturally support your body’s synthesis of keratin.

Here are 10 foods that promote keratin production.

1. Eggs

Eating eggs is a stellar way to boost keratin production naturally.

In fact, they’re a great source of biotin, an essential nutrient involved in keratin synthesis. A single cooked egg provides 10 mcg of this nutrient, or 33% of the Daily Value (DV).

2. Onions

Onions are not only great for flavoring your favorite dishes but also ramping up keratin production.

This allium vegetable is especially high in N-acetylcysteine, a plant antioxidant that your body converts into an amino acid called L-cysteine — a component of keratin.

3. Salmon

Salmon is brimming with protein, packing nearly 17 grams per 3-ounce (85-gram) serving.

It’s also an excellent source of biotin, another key nutrient that supports keratin production. Just 3 ounces (85 grams) of canned salmon contain 5 mcg, or 17% of the DV.

4. Sweet potatoes

In addition to being one of the most vibrant vegetables, sweet potatoes are highly nutritious and great for promoting keratin production.

They’re particularly high in provitamin A carotenoids. Provitamin A carotenoids like beta carotene are converted into vitamin A in the body.

5. Sunflower seeds

Sunflower seeds are savory, satisfying, and flavorful.

They’re also a great source of both biotin and protein to support keratin production. Just 1/4 cup (35 grams) offers 7 grams of protein and 2.6 mcg of biotin — 9% of the DV.

6. Mangoes

Native to South Asia, mangoes are a tasty way to squeeze extra nutrients into your diet while supporting keratin synthesis.

In particular, this tropical stone fruit is packed with provitamin A, with 89 mcg — nearly 10% of the DV — in each cup (165 grams).

7. Garlic

Much like onions, garlic boasts plenty of N-acetylcysteine, which your body turns into L-cysteine — an amino acid found in keratin.

Although more research in humans is needed, some studies suggest that garlic may aid skin health. For instance, one test-tube study found that garlic extract protected keratinocyte cells, which are responsible for keratin production, from ultraviolet damage.

10. Carrots

Carrots are a highly nutritious root vegetable closely related to celery, parsley, and parsnips.

In particular, carrots are high in provitamin A, with 1,070 mcg in 1 chopped cup (128 grams). That’s over 100% of the DV.

The bottom line

Keratin is a type of protein that boosts the health of your hair, skin, and nails.

Several specific nutrients are essential for keratin synthesis, including protein, biotin, and vitamin A.

Enjoying a balanced diet filled with foods rich in these nutrients can help promote keratin production in your body.

Not only do these foods enhance hair, skin, and nail health, but they’re also rich in many other beneficial nutrients.

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