Dietary fat is actually a healthy component of a balanced diet. In fact, it’s necessary for some rather important and relevant body functions, especially if you’re concerned about the health of your hair, skin, and nails.

Dietary fat comes in many different forms. There are healthy fats and unhealthy fats. Unhealthy fats are those found in fried foods and vegetable oils. Healthy fats are derived from avocados, olives, nuts, and consist of omega-3’s like those from salmon and other fish. Healthy fats are also available in supplement form and are known as EFA’s (essential fatty acids). Like the name implies, fatty acids are essential to proper health and body functioning.

In a diet lacking healthy fats, your hair, skin, and nails, may reap the consequences. Healthy fats are like nature’s moisturizing oil. They allow skin to remain soft and supple, hair to retain moisture and luster, and nails to remain healthy and strong.

As diet trends come and go, fats have been blamed and praised. They key is a healthy balance. Too much fat (even the healthy kind) can cause unwanted weight gain. Too little and your hair, skin, and nails may become dry, brittle, and damaged.

While some individuals (read: men) may not think dry skin, hair, or nails is of much concern to them, this is likely because they haven’t gone long without EFA’s. Anyone who’s tried a no-fat diet is familiar with the repercussions. Dry skin means itchiness and irritation, which can occur on the scalp as well. Dry hair means breakage, split ends, and lack of hair growth (under-nourished hair follicles means no hair growth).

Take a look at your diet and evaluate how much EFA’s you’re incorporating.