Top foods that boost collagen naturally

What is collagen?

Collagen is a protein found throughout the entire body. Approximately 30 per cent of the protein in the body is collagen. While it’s a nutrient highly concentrated in the tough inner layer of the skin— and perhaps best known for keeping skin firm and youthful— collagen is also found in the hair, nails, joints and intestinal tissue.

Bodies produce collagen, but as you enter your mid-late 20’s, your natural collagen production begins to decline. This is when visible signs of aging surface, such as fine lines and wrinkles. In the later years, you may begin to experience other conditions linked to collagen deficiency, such such as rheumatoid arthritis.

In addition to the natural aging process, toxins, and environmental pollutants, excessive sun exposure, smoking, and eating a diet high in refined sugar and fried foods also destroy the natural collagen.

Luckily, there’s a way to prevent collagen breakdown and boost collagen production naturally— and it all begins with what’s on your plate.

Here are the top foods to eat to boost collagen naturally:

1. Bone Broth

If we could recommend only one food to boost collagen, it would be bone broth. While most foods contain antioxidants and other nutrients to help the body synthesise collagen, bone broth is one of the rare foods to actually contain a bioavailable form of collagen your body can use right away.

Beef bone broth is richest in type I collagen, which makes it the best choice for skin health, while chicken and turkey broth are higher in type II collagen for supporting the joints.

 

2. Wild Salmon

Wild salmon contains zinc, a trace mineral that’s been shown to activate the proteins needed for collagen synthesis.

Wild salmon is also an excellent source of omega 3 essential fatty acids, which are needed to reduce inflammation and build healthy skin cells. Healthy fats such as omega 3’s are also needed to keep your skin moisturised from the inside out, which naturally promotes a more youthful appearance.

3. Chlorella

If you’ve heard of retinol cream before, you may know it’s often recommended for boosting collagen production. However, chlorella, a single-celled algae, may be Nature’s version of retinol— only in a green tablet or powder form.

Not only is chlorella a rich source of beta-carotene, but it also contains another nutrient that may help boost collagen production: Chlorella Growth Factor.

You can take chlorella in powder form and add it to your smoothies or take chlorella tablets as a nutritional supplement.

 

4. Leafy Greens

We know green vegetables are some of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet for disease prevention, but they may also be a powerful way to prevent collagen breakdown.

All green plant foods (such as bok choy, green algae, arugula, kale, lettuce, green beans, and broccoli) contain chlorophyll, which is the pigment that gives plants their vibrant green colour. Studies have shown that consuming chlorophyll increases the precursor to collagen in the skin.

5. Citrus

Vitamin C helps ‘link’ the amino acids together that are needed to form collagen which makes it an essential nutrient in the pre-collagen production phase.

As an antioxidant, vitamin C also protects against toxins found in our air, food and water supply that contribute to breaking down collagen and damaging the skin’s inner layer. Vitamin C may also help with skin cell repair and regeneration, which is why it’s commonly recommended for wrinkle prevention and added to skincare productions.

6. Eggs

Chicken eggs are another one of the rare foods that actually contains collagen in the yolk and eggshell membranes. In fact, eggshell membrane supplements have become a popular natural remedy for improving joint health.

Eggs are also rich in sulfur, a trace mineral required for collagen production. Sulfur supports phase II liver detox, which is the phase of detoxification where your body is getting ready to eliminate environmental toxins which break down and interfere with the production of collagen.

 

7. Berries

Berries contain a nutrient called ellagic acid, which has been shown to prevent collagen breakdown from UV damage. In addition to being protective against the signs of aging, berries may also help produce collagen.

8. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are rich in the antioxidant lycopene, which has been shown to protect the skin from sun damage and prevent collagen breakdown. Tomatoes contain a variety of antioxidants (including vitamin C), which protect the skin at a cellular level, so it never hurts to include them in your diet.

9. Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are one of the richest plant sources of zinc, which as mentioned above, acts as a cofactor for collagen synthesis. Studies have also shown taking zinc supplements may help slow down the rate of collagen breakdown, suggesting zinc rich foods may do the same (13). Zinc also helps speed up wound healing, and maintain healthy cell membranes, which makes zinc a must-have nutrient for skin health (14).

Other plant based sources of zinc include kidney beans, spinach, garbanzo beans, walnuts, cashews, and almonds.

 

10. Avocados

Another food with powerful antioxidant benefits, avocados provide vitamin E to help prevent collagen breakdown, as well as healthy fats to improve the health of skin cells. One study done on rats fed a diet with avocado oil showed a significant increase in soluble collagen, which suggests it may also help boost collagen production in humans (15).

11. Garlic

It may be worth enduring garlic breath in exchange for younger looking skin.

As mentioned above, sulfur is a trace mineral that helps synthesize and prevent the breakdown of collagen. Garlic and its close cousins shallots, leeks, chives, and onions are the best dietary sources of sulfur, so don’t be afraid to add them to your recipes liberally.

12. Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are an excellent plant-based source of omega-3 essential fatty acids (16). As we remember, these healthy fats contribute to anti-aging by building healthy skin cells and providing moisture to the skin, which creates a smooth, supple appearance from the inside out.

Bonus: 13 benefits of gelatin, a collagen protein

 

What About Collagen Supplements? 

While it may seem like a good idea to take a collagen supplement for anti-aging benefits, the nutrients from supplements aren’t always bioavailable, meaning they’re not easily absorbed or utilised by the body for their intended purpose.

Personally, we recommend using food as medicine when it comes to boosting your collagen intake. Sipping on a comforting mug of bone broth each morning, trying new varieties of leafy greens, and regularly eating the foods listed above are the most effective ways to maintain healthy collagen levels in your body.

 

Read the original article and more here

 

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  AUTHOR
Holly Konig
Journalist

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