Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body that is often found in the muscles, bones, skin layers, ligaments, and tendons.
At its core, its main function is to act as a glue to help hold connective tissues in your body together. Despite its crucial role, the natural production of collagen from the body declines with age.
This becomes evident as the skin starts to sag and wrinkles begin to appear. However, there is good news as today there are many options to boost collagen production such as collagen supplements that are made from animal bones, cow skins, and fish scales to consuming collagen-rich foods.
Collagen Produced From Your Body
From infancy up to between mid and late 20s, our bodies naturally produce skin compounds such as collagen, elastin, hyaluronic acid.
Due to differences in genetics makeup, the amount of collagen the body produces differs in each person. This can be observed just by looking at how certain families age faster than others.
Of course, part of achieving a youthful-looking skin is to have a healthy lifestyle and exercise frequently.
Collagen From Collagen Supplements
If you are someone who has a restricted diet that does not include all 5 groups, then taking collagen supplements is definitely a good option. Why?
Well, collagen supplements will help add the needed collagen to your body. Most collagen supplements are extracted from fish skin, fish scales, cow skin, pigskin and cow bones.
Collagen From Food
Another great source for collagen is to consume various food sources that are rich in collagen such as marine fish, meats, beans, green leafy vegetables, pork tendons, and much more.
Today, we are going to dive in a little deeper into the different food sources to help you increase collagen levels in a natural way!
What Are the Best Food Sources for Collagen?
It’s time for a collagen diet. If you are looking for collagen sources, look no further than in your kitchen! Collagen consists of two main types of amino acids namely glycine and proline.
Another way to increase collagen levels in your body is to consume collagen-rich foods. However, just eating by itself will not be enough. An important step is the absorption process of the food that we eat in order to create collagen in the skin.
This is when collagen’s best friend, vitamin c comes in the picture. Indeed, vitamin c helps with absorbing collagen into the body.
Therefore, great food sources are those that contain both collagen and vitamin c. Let’s take a look.
Here’s an easy and extremely reliable way to get lots of collagen. Whether it’s from pork bones, chicken bones, turkey, pork tendons or cow tendons, bone broths are a great source of collagen.
When these connective tissues are boiled, you often see the collagen released into the water that looks like a jelly floating up.
Besides, bone broth is a great source of gelatin that may breakdown into collagen in the body.
Chicken is extremely rich in type 2 collagen. Glycine is a building block for collagen and it is abundant in chicken.
Here’s one that may sound gross to some of you – chicken feet. Although it does not look particularly appetizing, it is on the top of the list for its collagen content.
When thinking of menus, look for menus that are rich in both collagen and vitamin c. Here’s one to help you get started, Tom Yum Chicken soup.
Fish and Shellfish
Deep marine fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel and oysters are great sources of collagen. They are also extracted for collagen supplements.
Egg whites have large amounts of glycine and proline, the amino acids necessary for collagen production.
Juices made from sour fruits such as oranges, apples, pineapples and strawberries contain high amounts of vitamin c.
As vitamin c is not naturally produced by the body, we must remember rich vitamin c sources such as fruit juices in our diet.
Vitamin c is crucial for various processes in the body such as boosting collagen production, assisting in the absorption of collagen and helping blood vessels to remain strong yet flexible.
Red fruits and vegetables are rich in lycopene that plays a role in collagen production. Lycopene is also useful in reducing wrinkles and strengthening skin cells.
Great news fruit lovers! There are a variety of tropical fruits for you to choose from.
Tropical fruits are known for its benefits in helping to stimulate collagen production. Here are a few to add to your list.
- Guava – contains high levels of vitamin c that helps keep your skin firm and prevents premature aging.
- Papaya – high levels of vitamin A and calcium
- Watermelons provide moisture to dry skin especially skin that has been damaged by the sun.
- Grapes – rich in iron and calcium. It can also be used to make wine that is a nourishing liquor. The roots of grapes can also be used for medical purposes and treating rheumatoid arthritis and bone tendon pain
- Dragon fruit – contains high nutritional value. It’s low in calories and rich in vitamin c, magnesium and calcium. The small black seeds in the fruit are unsaturated fats that help to prevent oxidation.
- Contains antioxidants that help to nourish the skin and reduce risks of cancer
- Normalizes blood pressure levels
- Nourishes blood and prevents anemia
- Prevents heart disease
An easy way to remember is the greener the leaves the greater the amount of collagen you will get. Leafy greens contain lutein which is an antioxidant that stimulates collagen production.
Spinach, Cabbage & Kale – rich in Lutein that helps to strengthen the body’s ability to produce collagen and allow the body to utilize its proteins effectively.
Artichoke contains high levels of antioxidants. It has even been used as an active ingredient in creams, cosmetics, and herbal medicines for its benefits. Of course, it boosts collagen production and helps the skin to remain flexible as well.
Rich in hyaluronic acid and antioxidant properties. Beans help to moisturize the skin as well as increasing collagen production for the body.
They also include sinks and selenium that helps in the formation of white blood cells to fight against bacteria. Plus, beans contain vitamin E that is very good for the skin.
Next time you are looking to grab some nuts, make sure it’s cashew.
Filled with nutrients such as vitamin K, Vitamin E, vitamin B6, phosphorus, magnesium as well as high performing antioxidants, cashews help to boost the body’s ability to produce collagen.
- One medium-size tomato can provide up to almost 30 percent of important nutrients for collagen. Tomatoes also boost large amounts of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant for skin support and slowing down aging. Besides, lycopene is useful in circulating your blood flow.
- Moisturizes the skin to become smooth, beautiful as well as protecting it from the danger of UV rays from sunlight.
- Other than being great for cooking, bell peppers contain plenty of vitamins and minerals! They are also rich in vitamin c and antioxidant properties that can help in preventing the risks of cancers and combat signs of aging.
- Contains beta carotene that also helps in strengthening blood vessel walls and allowing blood vessels to adapt to different pressures.
The Link Between Collagen and Body Weight
- For those currently on weight loss supplements, it is recommended to have at least a 30 minutes interval between taking collagen supplements and weight loss supplements.
- Collagen helps with building muscle mass and burning excess fats from the body. Additionally, Glycine is a component of creatine that is a compound that provides your muscles with energy and helps the body to become physically stronger and able to perform better physical performances such as running longer and doing more pushups.
- Studies have found that during the first 90 minutes of your sleep, your body naturally burns excess fats. Taking collagen helps to support this metabolism that requires a lot of energy. Also, growth hormones are secreted to repair worn cells when you are asleep.
It’s believed that collagen production starts to slow at a rate of one percent each year after the age of 20.
This is why you start noticing dry and saggy skin with wrinkles as you age. To reduce signs of aging, an easy way to start is to include collagen-rich foods into your diet to stimulate collagen production.
It’s worth noting that we cannot control exactly which part of the body or function the collagen will be used towards such as between relieving joint pain or helping the skin to look smooth.
Of course, exercising is always beneficial for your health and for reducing wrinkles through dialing up collagen levels.
We hope this article has helped you understand the large role that diet plays in slowing down the aging of your skin. Let’s start cooking your way to youthfulness!