You produce collagen naturally, but you make less and less as you age.
Collagen is a protein that helps our bodies in pretty important ways: heal bruises and broken bones, protect joints, and keep digestion running smoothly. Many of us also think of the skincare aspect when we think of collagen, and issues such as wrinkles or loss of elasticity. Our bodies produce this protein naturally, but we make less and less of it as we age. So how can we make sure we're getting the collagen we need? Here are six simple ways to eat it!
There are many types of collagen supplements, such as pills, powders and small chews. Some of these supplements contain collagen peptides, or hydrolyzed collagen. Peptides are made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks for larger proteins in our bodies.
Because of collagen powder's mild flavor, it can easily be added to food. Putting it in morning coffee is a popular method, and it mixes well in smoothies, teas, baked goods and mashed foods too.
This beverage is essentially a new name for an old-school, long-simmered stock made from animal bones and tissues. Research has found that it is unlikely bone broth contains concentrations of key amino acids high enough to have a significant effect on collagen production. However, if you include animal products as part of your diet anyway, this may be a small way to give your body some collagen building blocks (plus other must-have minerals like calcium and magnesium) that doesn't contain any weird ingredients, additives, or fillers.
Just like us, animals and their tissues contain many proteins, including collagen, as well as the amino acids necessary for collagen production. Chicken and other lean meats, like turkey, pork, and fish, are great choices if you want to support your body's collagen production. This is because animal proteins are considered complete proteins — they contain all nine of the essential amino acids we need to get through food (because our bodies can't produce them on our own).
These tasty bivalves are higher in copper than just about any other food, and your body needs copper to synthesize collagen as well as elastin, another key protein that keeps your skin and connective tissues healthy. More foods high in copper include other shellfish, like oysters, as well as beef, veal, and lamb (especially organ meats). Plant-based sources of copper exist too, although they have lower amounts of this essential mineral than the animal-based options.
Citrus Fruits & Berries
If you're looking for a way to get your glow on without eating meat, citrus fruits and berries are good choices. This is because they're high in vitamin C, which is essential for the collagen production process. Bonus: Many colorful fruits, especially berries, contain high amounts of antioxidants, which also do a lot to fight back against aging and stress on the body and protect your skin from damage. If you're someone who craves variety in your diet, occasionally swap your blueberries or grapefruit for kiwi. This fruit is surprisingly high in vitamin C.
Garlic may not be the first food you think of when you think of skin health, but if you like it, you should start adding more of it to your diet ASAP. Why? There is evidence that several compounds found in garlic may basically short-circuit the decline or degeneration of procollagen, which is essentially a building block of the collagen you want your body to make more of. In short, the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds in garlic may keep things like stress and UVB exposure from messing with the collagen your body is working so hard to make. More pesto, anyone?