A good indication to your overall health is shown in your fingernails. This is why when you go into hospital for an operation, you have to remove any nail polish.

There are many signs that show up in the nails that will signify systemic problems within your body, also a great indication as to any skin problems you may be suffering.

You can use your fingernails a little like a weather barometer. By paying attention to anything that has suddenly occurred that is different on or around your fingernails or toenails may be a vital key to managing your health.

Your fingernails are superimposed and bonded together with layers of a protein called keratin: Growing from the base of the nail under what is known as the cuticle. Healthy fingernails are smooth, without pits or grooves. There colour is consistent under the nail bed being a pinkish colour as your skin and the growth of the nail past this white. Free of spots of any other discolouration.

Sometimes fingernails develop harmless vertical ridges that run from the cuticle to the tip of the nail. Vertical ridges tend to become more prominent with age. Fingernails can also develop white lines or spots due to injury, but these eventually grow out with the nail.

However not all changes in the nail are harmless and will need for you to see a Health Professional that can support you with healing these indications of the link between the change in the nail and the health problem or problems that may be occurring.

Please note these may be some of the changes that will need to be looked into further:
•Changes in nail color, such as discoloration of the entire nail or a dark streak under the nail
•Changes in nail shape, such as curled nails
•Thinning or thickening of the nails
•Separation of the nail from the surrounding skin
•Bleeding around the nails
•Swelling or pain around the nails
•Any ridges or colouring that has lasted longer than 3 months.
•Excessive hardness of the nails

Some of the causes to that will affect the quality of the nail condition are:
•False and synthetic nails
•Use of nail polish on a regular basis
•Stress your fingernails and toenails are closely related to hair. Therefore as your hair might well become thin, change texture or fall out after an illness, prolonged stress, some medical treatments or operations. These events are likely to also have a detrimental affect on your nails as well.
•Medications as many medications may have a detrimental effect on other areas of your body, they may well affect your nail integrity as well. Also they may deplete your body of the necessary vitamins needed for healthy nails.
•Illness such as arthritis, melanomas, psoriasis and other skin conditions may well effect the integrity and cause changes to the nail. These can often be harmless but it won't hurt to follow up and to see what you can do nutritionally to improve the problem.
•Toenails can often incur problems due to not being able to breathe, being in say work boots with thick socks for most of the time. The secret here is give your feet including your nails a good scrub at least once a week with a nail brush this improves the circulation and helps to prevent these problems. Also follow a diet high in fresh fruit and vegetables as this helps to prevent any infections.

Prevention and long term care:

Your nails as your skin are the final organ that will show up with what is going on inside of you. So it is vitally important here to work at preventing as much as possible health problems from the inside out. Whilst also looking after your nails as you would your hair.

Tips for Healthy Nails & of Course this will also help your hair as well:
•Keep fingernails dry and clean: This prevents bacteria from growing under your fingernails. Repeated or prolonged contact with water can contribute to split fingernails. Wear cotton-lined rubber gloves when washing dishes, cleaning or using harsh chemicals.
•Regular Nail Hygiene: Use a sharp manicure scissors or clippers. Trim your nails straight across, then round the tips in a gentle curve.
•Moisturize your nails: When you use hand lotion, rub the lotion into your fingernails and cuticles, too. If your nails are dry because of your work each night before bedtime massage either some paw /paw ointment or coconut oil into them.
•NEVER:NEVER: have false nails, these are a real killer to your nails also giving you no indication of your overall health.
•Minimize: The use of nail polish and nail polish remover. This strips the nails of its natural oils as well as not allowing your nails to breathe. Instead of nail polish, it is best to buff and polish your nails with a nail buffer. It looks great and it healthy for you nails as it stimulates the circulation. You can do this for both your finger nails and your toe nails.
Nutrition: Biotin rich foods these are foods high in vitamin B: such as almonds, carrots, grains, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, sweet potato, shell fish, liver, eggs and avocado: Calcium rich foods such as ricotta and cottage cheese: yogurt - once again seeds and nuts as well as green leafy vegetables: Vitamin C rich foods such as kiwi fruit, strawberries, blue berries, citrus fruits and of course your vegetables especially dark green vegetables when they are not cooked.

#Always remember if you eat a well balanced diet with minimal animal protein, maximum vegetables, some fruit.

This will not only help your nails, skin and hair but it will also benefit your overall health as well.

Empowering You to Optimal Health Julie Doherty N.D

Author's Bio: 

Hi I’m Julie,

Your Health & Lifestyle Coach Specialist
(Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine)

I learnt very early in my life that there was much more to health than meets the eye

To achieve “Optimal Health” is about taking control of every aspect of YOU and YOUR LIFE:

That “Optimal Health” is only possible when we understand the unity of our mind, emotions connections to our physical body then our soul that inner voice that knows what is good and not good for us: Not to aim for Perfection but for Connection.

I love to work with people who dedicated who want to succeed in all areas of their life with the understanding that "Health is the very foundation for this to be possible"

So for over 26 years, I have worked with thousands of people in clinical practice prescribing herbal & homoeopathic remedies: implementing dietary changes so as to accommodate the best nutrition and life balance possible:Group and individual Health & Lifestyle Coaching to achieve the Happiest, Healthiest and Most Successful Life Possible.

My Professional Qualifications include Diplomas in Naturopathic, Herbal: Homoeopathic & Nutritional Medicine: Remedial & Therapeutic Massage Therapy: Body Mind Balancing Cognitive Counselling, Life Coaching & Massage: & Natural Beauty:

1.I love to watch movies that are based on true life stories with all the aspects of Life, love, romance, challenges and best of all happy endings.
2.I am born and bred Australian, South Australian with an English, German and Italian background
3.I didn’t commence my formulative studies until I was 28 years of age
4.I am so totally in Love with my husband of now 42 years
5.My family is the most important aspect of my life
6.I am totally passionate and focused on Health and Aging Well.
7.I love Healthy, Fresh food and Dining out
8.I try to go without drinking wine, but I have to admit that when we go out for dinner or have friends over, I do enjoy the odd glass or two of Savion Blanc
9.I love my early morning walks, just seeing the sun come up and the birds singing is just AWESOME
10.I want to live overseas for three months
11.I am obsessed with self-development books and CD’s
12.I love writing, sharing all the great things about life
13.I love hearing my clients life stories and sharing mine
14.I am living proof that by taking charge of your life will allow you to follow your passions, give you the opportunity of to age with great health and vitality.

Julie Doherty N.D
Accredited Member of the Australian Traditional Medicine Society