Vegans have struggled with the collagen supplement fad because they are made with animal products. Given that these supplements may improve skin elasticity or skin and nail health, vegans can feel “left out,” so to speak, from the beauty revolution. There’s no need to feel left out any longer, because this article aims to explore collagen and how you can boost levels with plant-based foods.
What Is Collagen?
As the most abundant amino acid in the body, it’s no wonder that collagen is such a big deal. Collagen protein makes up about one-third of the protein that exists in the body. It exists in muscles, skin, tendons, joints, bones, blood vessels, and even the digestive system. It works to provide skin with elasticity, strength, and assists with replacing dead skin cells. Even though the body produces several types of collagen, most people focus on collagen in the dermis, the skin’s middle layer. Forming a fibrous mesh shield called a fibroblast, collagen helps to maintain strength and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
Why Is Collagen Important?
The body starts to produce less collagen during the aging process. As a result, you can see visible signs like saggy skin, wrinkles, or fine lines. An unhealthy diet that consists of excess sugar, caffeine, alcohol, processed foods, cigarettes, and highly acidic foods contributes to the decline of collagen. It is possible to make a change and encourage collagen production by eliminating those foods and eating healthier options. For vegans or vegetarians, eating animal products or collagen powders isn’t an option. Fortunately, it’s possible to increase collagen levels with plant-based foods.
Despite what you may or may not have heard, you don’t need to apply or eat collagen from other beings to have healthy collagen levels. There are many plant-based foods and food groups that promote healthy collagen production. The following foods can aid your quest to achieve glowing skin while on a vegan diet.
Lysine is a building block for protein. It’s an essential amino acid, meaning the body doesn’t produce it, so you must consume it through food. Lysine plays a role in collagen production, muscle turnover, and normal growth. Additionally, lysine is necessary for faster wound healing. In fact, the body cannot properly heal wounds without sufficient lysine levels. Foods that are rich in lysine include black beans, quinoa, lentils, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, navy beans, and kidney beans.
If you want to increase collagen levels, you have to focus on fruits that are naturally rich in vitamin C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that the skin needs in order to synthesize collagen. Squeeze lemon into your, add oranges to smoothies, or make salad dressings with lime juice. You can also click here to learn about other foods that enhance vitamin C levels. Vitamin C also stabilizes the existing collagen in your skin, helping to reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
A 2010 study monitored participants that followed a vegan diet for three-and-a-half months. The other group consumed ordinary foods without worrying about vegan restrictions. This study, which was published in Journal of the American Dietetic Association, found that people experienced a reduction in both swelling and stiffness in joints. The researchers documented that the vegan diet included rich sources of anti-inflammatory properties. The standout foods in the study included cruciferous vegetables, legumes, nuts, avocados, olive oil, and low-starch foods. Those foods worked to reduce inflammation and promote collagen production. Finally, the group that consumed an ordinary diet did not experience a reduction in joint stiffness.
Just like lysine, proline is an integral amino acid that plays a role in collagen production. One of its major functions is that it helps to repair damaged skin, including burns, incisions, and wounds. Several studies found that proline stimulates cellular migration, which encourages new, healthy tissue development. It also supports collagen synthesis, or the new formation of collagen. Some studies found that collagen supplements that contained proline improved the skin barrier function. You can find proline in foods like asparagus, cabbage, mushrooms