For the last few years, collagen has been all the rage in the beauty industry. Solutions range from creams and serums to supplements and injections. But did you know that one of the best ways to get collagen is from your diet?
It’s true. You see, your body produces its own collagen naturally from your diet. It does this by breaking down collagen from food sources into its constituent amino acids. Then it uses those amino acids to build its own collagen.
So here are the most collagen-rich foods to ensure that you give your body what it needs to keep your skin, hair, and nails healthy and youthful.
Fish contains the most abundant type of collagen in the body, type I collagen. Type I collagen is particularly high in the amino acids glycine and proline. And it is the type that literally makes up your skin.
Fish collagen is also one of the easiest types of collagen for your body to absorb. In fact, a study found that fish collagen is absorbed into the body 1.5 times more efficiently than collagen from beef or pork. Wild fish vs. farm raised fish has been shown to contain higher nutrient density in addition to collagen.
By the way, if you’re eating fish, make sure that you eat at least some of the skin. It’s very high in collagen. In fact, doctors even use fish skin to treat patients with severe burn wounds. They do it by placing fish skin on the wounds to transfer collagen to wounds and heal them.
As you know, chicken is a good source of protein. And when broken down, this protein provides your body with lots of amino acids that support collagen production.
To boost your collagen production further, opt for eating chicken wings and thighs (preferably organic) over breasts. These parts of the chicken have more connective tissues and thus more collagen.
As with fish, make sure to eat some of the skin, as it is a great source of collagen.
Eggs have collagen in their whites and in the yolks. And the whites are particularly rich in the amino acids glycine and proline. These are two of the main amino acids that make up collagen.
Eggs also provide your body with other nutrients that support collagen production like sulfur, vitamin E, and B vitamins. Without these ingredients collagen production either decreases or cannot take place. Chickens allowed to roam, free range or pastured, have been shown to have higher nutrient density than commercially raised chickens.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables do not contain collagen like fish, meat, and eggs. But they do contain a number ofingredients necessary for collagen production. Here are the important fruits and veggies you need to know about.
• Citrus and berries. Citrus and berries are rich in vitamin C, which plays a vital role in building collagen. When you don’t get enough vitamin C, your collagen production decreases. Vitamin C is also critical for protecting against skin dryness, wrinkles and sagging.
Berries also contain ellagic acid, which protects your skin from the aging effects of the sun.
• Leafy green vegetables. Leafy greens like kale, spinach and swiss chard are a great source of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is what gives leafy greens their green pigment. One study found that chlorophyll improved wrinkles and skin elasticity in women.
But that’s not all chlorophyll does. It also increases your body’s levels of procollagen, a precursor to collagen. In addition to this, leafy greens are a great source of vitamins A, C, and E, and other collagen boosting minerals.
• Garlic. Not only is garlic delicious, but it boosts your collagen production too. It contains sulfur, a critical ingredient in the collagen building process.
• Tomato and bell peppers. These vegetables are high in vitamin C, and like many other red vegetables they contain lycopene. Lycopene is an antioxidant that protects the collagen in your skin from free radicals.
• Avocado. Avocado is high in copper. Copper, along with vitamin C and zinc are some of the most important nutrients in collagen production. Copper is essential for maintaining elasticity in your connective tissues, which includes your skin.
Beans and nuts
Beans have a number of amino acids that support collagen synthesis. They’re also rich in copper and other minerals such as zinc and manganese. These minerals are key components in the production of collagen.
Soybeans in particular have been found to protect against skin damage and get rid of wrinkles.
Nuts, like walnuts and almonds, and seeds like pumpkin and chia, are an easy way to get important minerals like magnesium, copper and zinc in your diet.
Try to include these foods in your diet. Your skin will thank you!