Keratin is a protein produced by the human body. It is a fibrous element that is an important part of healthy epidermal production. This means that it is essential to parts of the human body that cover other parts. As such, it is an integral component of skin, nails and hair (while in the animal world it occurs in the scales of reptiles and the hooves of mammals). While keratin itself is not actually present in fruit and vegetables, some contain other nutrients that assist the body in producing keratin.
Vitamins B6 and B12 help in the process of keratin production, particularly for the benefit of skin cell production and strength. B Vitamins also help the assimilation of other nutrients in the body, including others useful for keratin. Sources of B6 vitamins include garbanzo beans and white potatoes (preferably with the skin still on), while B12 vitamins are found in cereals.
Biotin is a specific B vitamin (although sometimes known as Vitamin H) that is worth singling out for a special mention as it is particularly effective at promoting keratin production. A combination of acids and enzymes, biotin is found in strawberries and bananas.
The metallic chemical compound zinc is also important in cell growth and repair. A deficiency in zinc will affect the utility of keratin in the cells. Zinc can be added to the diet by the consumption of wheat germ, pumpkin seeds and blackcurrants.
Vitamin C is important as an auxiliary nutrient. Consuming a healthy amount of vitamin C helps the body absorb proteins into its cells. Good sources of Vitamin C include green vegetables such as broccoli, curly kale and brussels sprouts. Fruit sources are primarily citrus fruits like grapefruit and oranges.
Folate is another chemical compound that aids cell production and works in conjunction with keratin. It is found in leafy vegetables such as spinach and asparagus, legumes like peas and lentils, as well as in more moderate amounts in fruits such as honeydew melon and cantaloupe.