A glue that holds everything together is what collagen is known for. As you may know, collagen plays an important role in giving the skin the youthful bounce that most people dream of.
Collagen is not only beneficial for your skin but is also key in keeping your muscles strong and contributes to the metabolic system. Indeed, there are greater benefits of collagen than just maintaining your beauty.
We’ve seen many sources and ways to increase collagen from meat. This raises the question on how vegetarians can boost their collagen levels.
Collagen production in our bodies begins to wane as we age. Hence, it is becoming popular to obtain nutrients from various sources such as meat, fruits, seafood and vegetables that can help boost collagen levels.
The good news is that you can still increase your collagen production even if you don’t eat meat or animal products. Let’s take a closer look at the top vegetarian sources and nutrients that support collagen production.
Vegetarian Food Sources that Help Increase Collagen Intake
Finding vegetarian alternatives can be a challenge. Today, we are going to take you through the top plant-based options to promote collagen. You will be happy to know that there are plenty of options.
Proline is an antioxidant that helps to slow down aging and the degeneration of cells. It nourishes the skin, contributes to the formation of collagen and strengthens the muscles, tendons and joints.
Pronline can be found in pumpkin seeds, soybeans and legumes. Peas are also a great source of proline.
Vitamin C plays an important role in helping the body to absorb collagen and maximise its benefits effectively. It is a key ingredient in supplements and foods that boost collagen levels.
Here are a few great options for vegetarians to get started:
- Green Vegetables such as spinach, kale, asparagus, artichokes, lettuce, cabbage and broccoli are all rich in vitamin C. These vegetables stimulate the creation of collagen in skin cells and prevent free radicals from harming the skin’s collagen fibers as well.
- Red Coloured Vegetables such as bell peppers and tomatoes
- Other Vegetables such as eggplant and cauliflower
- Citrus fruits such as lemons, grapefruit are rich in vitamin C and provide essential amino acids like lysine and proline to easily convert into collagen. There is a long list of fruits that help to protect collagen and maintain skin health such as red grape, lemon, strawberry, kiwi, mango, cantaloupe, plum, papaya and sweet lemon.
- Dried beans and cereal products that have been fortified with iron are great sources for vitamin C and also helps the body in absorbing iron.
Anthocyanin is a type of antioxidant that prevents collagen damage and slows down the degeneration of cells.
It also helps to reduce the risks of heart disease and brain stroke. You can find anthocyanin in the following sources:
- Beets, red onions, red grapes
- The Berry family – berries, blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, raspberries, prunes and tomatoes.
- Seeds such as white rice, black glutinous rice, purple corn
- Purple sweet potato, okra flower, butterfly pea flower
As a tip try to choose fruits and vegetables that are red, purple or blue as anthocyanin is the nutrient that gives the fruits those colours.
Copper is stored mostly in the liver, kidneys, brain and heart. It can be found in plants and in non-meat products as well.
Let’s take a look at where we can find them:
- Dark Chocolate and cocoa beans. A tasty and healthy option for dessert lovers
- Dried apricots contain about 0.69 milligrams of copper
- Peas, long beans, almonds
- Sunflower seeds
- Found in other grains such as mushrooms, asparagus, dark and green vegetables.
Copper also contributes towards the formation of hemoglobin and helps the body to absorb iron more easily. These processes affect the blood supply to the heart and brain.
Helps the body to create antibodies along with strengthening the immune system and stimulate the absorption of calcium to increase its effectiveness.
However, our bodies are unable to make lysine by itself. Therefore, we have to rely on choosing foods that contain lysine.
- Beans contains a lot of essential amino acids
- Pumpkin seeds
Serves to strengthen muscles, stimulate fat and repair injured and torn tissues. It helps in the expansion of blood vessels and slows down aging.
Arginin is an essential amino acid which the body can produce and can be supplemented by eating.
- Dry nuts such as peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, pistachios, pecans, and seamen
- Spinach has the highest concentration of arginine among green vegetables
- Soybean protein
Interestingly, arginine can be found in similar sources as lysine. The main difference is that lysine is not produced by the body itself.
In contrast, our body can sufficiently produce arginine by itself.
This is the main ingredient that helps in the formation of collagen. Besides, it plays an important role in cleansing and improving the skin’s health.
When wrinkles and dark spots occur on the face, it is communicating to us that there is a lack of Vitamin A.
Great plant-based sources of Vitamin A include:
- Orange coloured vegetables such as carrots, pumpkin, squash, sweet potatoes act to restore and build collagen in skin cells, nutrients that increase collagen production.
- Leafy green vegetables
- Fruits containing vitamin A, apricots, mango, papaya, passion fruit, persimmon, cantaloupe
Vitamin A is not difficult to find and there are a wide variety of fruits and vegetables that you can choose from.
Indeed, vitamin A can be in savory food, sweet food or blended into smoothies for a fresh drink.
Manganese can be found in many vegetables. The main functions of manganese are for the bone and digestive system.
Additionally, it helps to build and maintain red blood cells and reduce the accumulation of fat in the body.
Here’s where you can find this helpful nutrient:
- Brown rice, hazelnuts, whole wheat bread, tofu, pumpkin seeds, sweet potatoes, spinach
- Most vegetables but it is specifically rich in lima beans. One lima bean contains up to 170 milligram of manganese.
Zinc is extremely beneficial to our health especially when it comes to healing external and internal wounds quickly and strengthening the immune system.
Beyond this, it is necessary for the division of skin cells that will allow us to have beautiful skin, nails and hair.
It is a nutrient that the body does not need in huge quantities but at the same time cannot live without it.
Great sources of Zinc include:
- Whole grains and cereal products such as wheat, oats, rice, quinoa, brown rice, whole wheat bread
- Nuts such as black beans, red beans, pumpkin seeds, cashews
- Vegetables especially in mushrooms, kale, asparagus, potatoes
The Benefits of Plant-Based Sources of Collagen
Healthier and Less Pricey
Firstly, plant-based sources are healthier for your body especially in terms of its nutritional values.
It helps to keep you away from heart disease, high blood pressure and high blood fat, including obesity.
Plant-based sources are also better for your wallet and most vegetables and fruits can now be grown at home.
Less Risk of Allergy
This is one of the reasons why people become vegetarian. However, it doesn’t mean that fruits and vegetables are completely allergy free.
Some people may develop allergic reactions to certain nuts, vegetables, fruits or seeds.
Products are Safer
You often notice when doing your grocery at fresh markets or supermarkets that natural products do not involve chemicals.
Vegetarian options for collagen are therefore wide in variety and also safer. Just remember to wash the products before consuming.
Sufficient Amount of Collagen can be Found
You can get sufficient amounts of collagen from vegetables and fruits without having to spend money on medical procedures or expensive supplements.
We hope that this article has helped you to see that there are non-meat options available out there to stimulate collagen production.
A smart way of boosting collagen levels is to consume food and nutrients that are plentiful in collagen-boosting nutrients.
Of course, you can always add collagen supplements into your diet to give it an extra push. As always, it’s good to consult with a specialist to find vegetarian collagen supplements.