Gill South: Nailing good health


Nails can indicate all sorts of issues, so before she gets them beautified Gill South ensures she's in good nick.

To help with the health of your nails, massage them with cuticle oil regularly to aid nail growth, prevent cracking and to give a pretty sheen. Photo / Supplied
To help with the health of your nails, massage them with cuticle oil regularly to aid nail growth, prevent cracking and to give a pretty sheen. Photo / Supplied

I have a friend and she's all shiny and pretty from the tip of her toes to the crown of her glossy hair. The last time I saw her, I couldn't take my eyes off her polished, manicured finger nails and I looked down at my grubby mits in dismay. They looked like I'd been living with wolves for a year. Well, I am the mother of two boys.

I decide I will take myself off to her recommended beautician for a manicure- Pedman Spicer in Takapuna. But first of all, I want to find out just how healthy my nails are and if there is anything they show about my general health. I go to see Purely Health naturopath Hope Pearce in Mt Eden. Naturopaths look at nails, the tongue and eyes for indicators of health.

After an examination of my nails, Hope pinpoints some of my weaknesses. I have one nail which has vertical ridges on it - this is pretty common apparently, particularly as you age. To her, this can mean that my body is not digesting and breaking down foods properly. She looks for half moons on my nails. Not every nail has them, and this can indicate that I might have a thyroid problem. I have been tested for this before and got the thumbs up but one doctor I consulted was not convinced.

If there is a latent thyroid problem, iodine drops are a good idea and I have those in my box of tricks at home so will start taking those again. I just put them in my green tea.

Hope presses on down my nails and watches to see how quickly the blood returns to the nail. It's a bit sluggish and this can mean that I'm a bit anaemic. No shock there, but I vow to return to a daily iron supplements. I'm feeling pretty wiped out at the moment but had put it down to the exhaustion of school holidays.

Hope points out a couple of teeny hang nails on my right hand. Hang nails can indicate poor digestion and a poor break down of protein. The naturopath suggests eating protein first when I have a meal, and when I have my daily poached egg, to put some rocket or bitter greens with it, which will help break down the protein. Some probiotics wouldn't go amiss too.

Hope suggests eating two brazil nuts daily to give me selenium to help with any potential thyroid problems. I buy some the next day. Aren't brazil nuts horrible when you compare them with cashews or almonds? It's like eating someone's hairy knuckle. Just deeply unpleasant.

All in all though, my nails are in pretty good nick, Hope reassures me. And the fact they grow like topsy is a good sign, though I usually have them cut pretty short because I use a keyboard so much.

I trot off for my manicure the next day and surprise my Pedman Spicer therapist by opting against getting nail varnish. It's just too distressing watching it chip a day later. But she works on my cuticles and my nails are buffed and shaped. Apparently massaging the nails and cuticles with cuticle oil regularly is good for the growth of your nails.

I leave with an all-in-one nail file which has a buffer, file, polisher, you name it. I'm all set to be pretty and shiny.

Next week:

Tra la la, I am off to join a choir. Singing has wonderful health benefits, unless you are a pop star and you strain your vocal cords. Just look what it did for those groovy old timers from the Young at Heart film.

- NZ Herald

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