Best Collagen-Boosting Foods for Healthy Skin

August 24, 2019

Searching for that magical ingredient or elixir for better skin, hair and nails? Don’t worry, you aren’t the only one. Many people today are looking for anti-aging secrets — which is why you’ve probably heard the buzz surrounding collagen, a substance that’s making its way into foods, lotions, hair serums, and more. 

Collagen is a protein found in many areas of the body. For years people have been talking about a type of collagen to support the joints, but now the type that benefits skin is getting all the press, and hundreds of products are boasting about their collagen-boosting effects for younger looking skin

As we age, skin collagen levels drop, which can lead to wrinkles and thin-looking skin. Not only that, but lower collagen in other parts of the body can lead to weakened joints and muscles, among other health issues. Therefore, to prevent this decline, you need to include this nutrient as part of your daily diet. Read below to learn about collagen and how you can better boost your collagen levels through diet.

What is Collagen?

Collagen are proteins in the body that play a connective role in the skin, bones, and tissues. When it comes to skin, collagen fibers lose thickness and strength over time, which can lead to sagging and wrinkled skin. However collagen issues are common in other parts of the body too, creating aging issues like:

  • Digestive issues due to the thinning of the intestinal tract
  • Worn cartilage that can lead to joint pain or osteoarthritis
  • Weakened muscles
  • Stiffer and less flexible tendons and ligaments

There are 28 different types of collagen that are all made up of amino acids. The most common types of collagen are types 1 - 5, with 90% of the body’s collagen being type 1. Collagen supplements currently on the market today usually come from beef, chicken, and marine sources primarily, with marine sources being the number one for supporting skin collagen

Health Benefits of Collagen

Collagen supplementation is considered generally safe for human use, with extensive research having been done on its potential health benefits. A 2019 study shows that the right collagen supplements (those focused on Type 1 primarily with some Type 3) can help increase skin elasticity, hydration, and can also help in wound healing. These types of collagen supplements are called bioactive collagen peptides, which when combined with various vitamins and minerals have been shown to improve signs of skin aging. 

A 2018 study showed that such collagen peptides, when taken for 12 weeks, can help improve hydration and elasticity, and decrease wrinkling in human skin. Study results show that collagen peptides could regulate the immune system signaling molecules known as cytokines, specifically those found in skin and blood. And in turn, these results show potential for collagen peptides to help prevent inflammatory issues like cardiovascular disease.

Furthermore, experts suggest that the antioxidant properties of collagen hydrolysate can contribute to skin healing and improve healthy skin. It does this by providing the building blocks for elastin and collagen, and then stimulating the synthesis of such compounds as well as hyaluronic acid. 

Getting away from it’s skin benefits for a moment, research also shows that certain types of collagen can aid in bone health. A 2019 study looked at the impact of collagen on osteoarthritis (OA) symptoms. This condition, which involves weakening of bone, can cause great disability and pain for those who suffer from it. The results of the study showed that collagen is effective in improving OA symptoms like stiffness, and can improve functionality of bone. A separate 2018 study showed that specific collagen peptides (SCP) can increase bone mineral density in premenopausal women with age-related bone mineral density loss.

Which Foods Contain Collagen?

In addition to taking collagen peptide supplements, you can try getting more collagen in your diet. The production of collagen involves combining amino acids from protein-rich foods like:

  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Beans
  • Dairy products like milk, yogurt and cheese

It’s also very important to note that the formation of collagen requires nutrients like vitamin C, zinc, and copper to really be effective. So also add these foods your shopping list: 

  • Citrus fruits like oranges, clementines, grapefruit, lemons, and limes
  • Red and green bell peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Leafy green vegetables like spinach or kale

You can also get more zinc and copper from lean meats, shellfish, nuts, whole grains (e.g. gluten free oats and quinoa), and beans. 

How To Add Collagen-boosting Foods To Your Daily Routine

To get the most collagen in your diet, try to consume a few collagen-boosting foods each day. Here are some tips to these foods to your diet today.

  • Add a citrus fruit as a snack in between meals.
  • Infuse your water with slices of oranges, lemons, or limes.
  • Create a salad full of collagen-boosting baby spinach, tomatoes, and sliced bell pepper.
  • Blend up a Greek yogurt-based smoothie with added spinach and orange slices for a skin and bone health-friendly green shake.
  • Steam broccoli or spinach and add as a side dish to lunch or dinner meals.
  • Use bone broth as a base for your favorite soup.
  • Whip up a bowl of hummus or Greek yogurt-based salad dressing for a nutritious and collagen-boosting snack to pair with some carrots, hard boiled egg whites or cucumber.

Fortunately these collagen-boosting foods are also part of a healthy anti-inflammatory diet. Just make a point to consume a combination of protein-rich collagen sources and the plant-based nutrient sources each day. This will help you reap the full health benefits of collagen for healthy skin and bones.

Bottom Line

Collagen is a crucial compound in the body for optimal health of skin, bones, joints, tendons, and much more. But unfortunately, as you get older, the stores of collagen in your body decline. This decline can lead not only to wrinkled skin, but also weaker joints and muscles, and potentially impaired digestion. So, it’s important to look at collagen as an important part of your diet, which you need to keep your quality of life at its best well into your golden years. So, add some collagen into your diet today through food and supplements to start feeling and looking your best.

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