Collagen supplementation has been a featured topic in the health world in recent years. The average person does not get enough collagen via his or her diet, which is why many resort to collagen supplements. Rather than consuming pills or powders made from cow hooves, there are collagen-rich foods that can help maintain optimal collagen levels.
What Is Collagen And Why Does It Matter?
In the supplement industry, collagen is commonly used in anti-aging and beauty products. As the most abundant protein in the body, collagen is more than a mere ingredient in beauty supplements. It’s essentially the glue that holds everything together, being the main component of connective tissue in muscles, tendons, bones, vessels, skin, and cartilage. As you age, the body starts producing less and less collagen, which can lead to decreased cartilage, joint pain, and wrinkles. Fortunately, it is possible to boost collagen levels by regularly consuming a variety of collagen-rich foods. Increasing the intake of collagen from dietary sources has been associated with:
- Healthier bones
- Muscle mass
- Improved gut health
- Reduced joint pain
- Enhanced heart health
- Improved skin elasticity
What To Eat To Increase Collagen Production?
Age isn’t the only factor that comes into play when it comes to collagen production. Unhealthy lifestyle choices (i.e. excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, poor diet, or lack of exercise) can influence how much collagen the body produces. It makes sense, then, that making healthier choices can increase collagen production. Let’s take a look at our favorite collagen-rich foods.
Vitamin E is the most abundant antioxidant in the skin, and it works to fight free radicals that damage collagen cells. Working with vitamin C, vitamin E helps to stimulate collagen formation. While you can topically apply vitamin E oil to the skin, you can also eat almonds to replenish vitamin E levels. Additionally, almonds are rich in copper, which is a trace mineral that is necessary for the final step of collagen synthesis.
Spirulina is one of the most nutrient-dense foods in the plant world. This algae is rich in an amino acid known as glycine, which is an integral component of collagen. Spirulina is found in most health food stores, and it is available in powder or dried form. Add it to your green smoothies, but prepare for a slightly unusual taste if you’ve never had it. You’ll learn how to offset the taste after making a few smoothies.
As mentioned before, vitamin C and vitamin E are essential nutrients for collagen synthesis. In addition to vitamin A, leafy greens are replete with vitamins C and E. Kale, chard, spinach, green beans, arugula, broccoli, and many other dark green vegetables contain chlorophyll, which gives plants their green color. Scientific research suggests that chlorophyll nourishes cells and helps to increase procollagen, which takes place before collagen formation, in the skin.
Vitamin C is necessary for pre-collagen production, but it is also a powerful antioxidant that works to fight free radicals in the body. Antioxidants like vitamin C work to protect collagen cells from these free radicals, which are present in water, air, food, and the body. Much like kiwis or citrus fruits, berries (blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries) are some of the best sources of vitamin C.
Garlic seems to find its way into a lot of our articles, but it isn’t just in this article for the sake of being here. Garlic has been praised for its collagen-boosting abilities by many cultures. The sulfur in garlic is necessary for the production of collagen. Sulfur has also been known to inhibit the breakdown of collagen cells, an important quality for keeping the skin and joints healthy.