Eating certain foods may encourage your nails to grow stronger and faster. John D. Kirschmann, author of "Nutrition Almanac," reports that vitamin and mineral deficiencies can lead to weak nails that grow slowly. Healthy nails grow between 0.5 and 1.2 mm each week. Increasing your intake of certain foods may help you reach the higher side of that range. Eating the right combination of foods, especially those with calcium and protein, may help your nails grow faster as well, according to Kirschmann.
Eggs contain protein, the primary substance in your nails, says Kirschmann. Eating eggs helps increase the amount of protein in your body so that your nails get the amount they need to grow normally. Other sources of protein include lean meats, nuts, beans, cheese and milk.
Milk is one of the best food sources of calcium, an essential mineral for nail growth and strength, says John D. Russell, author of "A Woman's Guide to Better Health and Beauty." Russell recommends increasing your calcium intake because protein and calcium work together to maintain the health and strength of your nails. An 250ml glass of milk supplies about a third of daily calcium requirements. Other sources of calcium include cheese, yogurt, broccoli and fortified juices.
Nuts contain phosphorus, a nutrient essential for proper circulation, notes Alan Hayes, author of "It's So Natural Health Book." Proper circulation is essential for ensuring that your fingernails receive the amount of calcium and protein necessary to grow strong and healthy. A diet with sufficient amounts of phosphorus helps improve your circulatory system so it is able to deliver nutrients to your nails. Other food sources of phosphorus include brown rice, lentils, mushrooms, oatmeal, sunflower seeds and sweet potatoes. Adding one or two servings of foods with phosphorus to your daily diet may help your nails grow more quickly.