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Often neglected in our routine health evaluations, nails serve as a mirror reflecting our overall well-being. Similar to changes in skin, hair, or eyes that may signify underlying health concerns, our nails possess the ability to provide crucial insights.

Your nails are not just canvases for art. Recognizing the indicators of unhealthy nails holds significance in the pursuit of maintaining optimal overall health. Let's delve into some signs that can shed light on your nail health or even your physical health.

1. Discoloration

One prominent sign of unhealthy nails is discoloration. Nails should typically have a pinkish hue, thanks to the blood vessels beneath them. Any deviation from this color can signal potential issues. 

According to Real Simple, yellowing or browning of the nails could be a result of fungal infections, smoking, or the use of nail polish without a base coat to protect the natural nail color. Blue or green discoloration may indicate a bacterial or fungal infection. Seek professional advice if such changes occur.

2. Changes in Thickness

Healthy nails should have a consistent thickness, and any alterations in this aspect may indicate an underlying problem. 

Healthline notes that excessively thickened nails could be a sign of fungal infections, psoriasis, or thyroid disorders. Conversely, overly thin nails may suggest nutritional deficiencies or issues with absorption, underscoring the importance of maintaining a balanced diet for optimal nail health.

3. Spooning

Spoon-shaped nails, a condition known as koilonychia, can be indicative of anemia or iron deficiency. Healthline notes that nails should ideally have a gentle curve, and any noticeable spooning may warrant a visit to a healthcare professional for further investigation. Iron-rich foods or supplements may be recommended to address the underlying issue and promote nail health.

4. Nail Pitting

Tiny dents or depressions on the nail surface, a condition known as nail pitting, can be associated with psoriasis or other autoimmune disorders. Real Simple advises individuals to take note of these small abnormalities, as they may serve as early indicators of broader health concerns. Seeking medical advice is crucial to determine the appropriate course of action and address any underlying conditions.

5. Brittle or Peeling Nails

Brittle or peeling nails are common concerns, often linked to external factors such as exposure to harsh chemicals or frequent handwashing. However, Real Simple suggests that persistent issues with brittle or peeling nails may also signal nutritional deficiencies, particularly a lack of biotin, a B vitamin crucial for nail health. Including biotin-rich foods or supplements in one's diet may help strengthen nails and prevent further damage.