What we eat plays an important role in good appearance and youthfulness of our skin. Collagen is the main component of the skin and helps it look young, supple and wrinkle-free; but as we age, the amount of collagen in our body decreases resulting in wrinkles and dry skin.
Moreover, studies show that collagen slows the aging of skin, keeps it hydrated and may decrease wrinkles. In addition, taking collagen supplements can stimulate collagen production in the body. The more collagen the body produces, the smoother and more radiant skin we will have.
However, we can provide the collagen our body needs either with supplements or eating collagen-rich foods. But which one is better? Should we put supplements on priority or foods which are high in collagen?
In this post, we will answer the question above and put some foods on table helping the body produce collagen on its own. Keep reading till the end.
Table of content
- Collagen-rich foods or supplements?
- What are the best collagen-boosting foods?
- Lifestyle damaging collagen-making in our body
Collagen-rich foods or supplements?
Nowadays, collagen supplements have gained popularity among many people across the world because it is claimed that collagen can improve the health of hair, skin, joints and bones. But many individuals ask why we should take supplements while they are sourced from natural materials.
We know that our body produces collagen on its own but there are two factors which lead to collagen deficiency: aging and poor diet.
Having a healthy diet can help the body produce more collagen. The process of making collagen in our body needs amino acids that we get from foods high in protein including chicken, beef and fish as well as vitamin C and some minerals such as copper and zinc. Fruits and vegetables, tomatoes and broccoli are rich in vitamin C and to get enough minerals, you can eat nuts, shellfish and grains.
However, as we get older, our body can’t absorb nutrients as well as before and this disrupts the process of collagen-making. In order to help the body get the nutrients it needs to make collagen, we have two choices: taking supplements or changing the menu!
What are the best collagen-boosting foods?
Some foods such as bone broth have a bioavailable form of collagen which means that the body can instantly employ the collagen they contain. This shows that we had better give priority to foods compared with supplements.
Bone broth is believed to be a reliable source of collagen. Boil animal bones in water for a few hours to extract the collagen they contain.
Connective tissues, meat and bones make up a healthy bone broth. This nutritious liquid contains so many nutrients our body needs including collagen, different amino acids, some vital minerals like magnesium and calcium.
On the other hand, the quality of bone broth is also important which depends on the quality of bones and other ingredients you use; so to make sure that you eat a collagen-rich food, buy from a trusted butchery. It’s crucial to find out whether the bovine has been pasture-raised and grass-fed for a top-quality and collagen-rich bone broth.
It takes nearly 20 days for an egg to turn into a chicken! Therefore, an egg contains materials to create heart, skin, eyes and other organs. We can say that eggs are the healthiest and most complete food on the planet!
Which parts of the egg contain the most collagen?
We know that yolk is rich in iron and vitamins but evidence shows that it is not high in collagen. However, a few studies indicate that a little collagen is found in the yolk but more research is needed. Overall, we can’t consider this popular part of the egg as a source of collagen.
Just like yolk, egg whites are healthy and nutritious but they are not rich in collagen. Nonetheless, egg white contains large amounts of proline which is one of the main amino acids essential for collagen production. This means eating this valuable part of the egg helps our body make more collagen although it is not considered as a collagen-rich food.
The part in an egg which is rich in collagen is shell membrane. It is a layer between egg white and eggshell that all of us may discard when making food.
However, small traces may be leftover from the membrane through the traditional cooking egg, like your Sunday morning scrambled eggs, but unfortunately it is not more than 20 percent.
Therefore, the next time you want to cook a mushroom or cheese omelet, remember that the shell membrane is high in collagen before throwing it away.
Fish and shellfish
Fish and shellfish have bones and ligaments meaning that these aquatic animals are good sources of collagen. Some collagen-producing companies claim that marine collagen compared with other sources of collagen like bovine collagen can be absorbed more easily though no science-backed evidence supports it.
Again just like egg, the most rich-in-collagen parts of the fish like eyeballs, head and skin are usually discarded. Although fish meat that people consume contains collagen, it has less skin or eye. Skin of fish, for instance, is so high in collagen that it is used as a source in producing supplemental collagen.
We know that most collagen supplements are sourced from chicken; this shows that this popular white meat can be considered as a collagen-rich food. Chicken has plenty of connective tissues that are high in collagen. The chicken bones are great sources of collagen too.
Furthermore, some research indicates that chicken neck and cartilage may be helpful for arthritis treatment. Evidence shows that collagen extracted from chicken cartilage can safely and effectively relieve the signs of rheumatoid arthritis.
Fruits and vegetables
Veggies and fruits do not have collagen but most of them are high in Vitamin C and minerals that play a key role in producing collagen in our body. Amino acids which are vital elements in making collagen are mostly found in proteins, minerals and vitamin C.
Eating citrus fruits such as orange, grapefruit and lemon which are full of vitamin C helps the body make the collagen on its own. In addition, try to include veggies with the highest sources of vitamin C like broccoli, spinach, potatoes and red peppers in your diet to make sure that your body absorbs enough vitamin C and minerals to produce collagen it needs.
Another source of vitamin C are tropical fruits including mango, kiwi, pineapple, and guava. Among them, guava not only contains ample amounts of vitamin C but also has a small amount of zinc which is an important mineral for collagen production in our body.
When it comes to fruits rich in vitamin C, berries are also excellent sources. Strawberries, blackberries and blueberries have even more vitamin C than oranges. Moreover, berries are full of antioxidants that play a major role in skin health.
Nuts and beans
Both nuts and beans are rich in copper, a vital mineral essential in producing collagen. Beans also have proteins containing amino acids the body needs to synthesize collagen. On the other hand, nuts are mostly high in zinc, another important element to make collagen.
Lifestyle damaging collagen-making in our body
So far, we learnt about foods which are either high in collagen or full of minerals or vitamins the body needs to produce collagen on its own. Now it is essential to know more about behaviors and lifestyle choices we make which may destroy collagen production in order to avoid them as much as possible.
Sugar and refined carbs
Stay away from eating too much sugar and refined carbohydrates. A diet heavy in refined carbohydrates and sugars results in collagen damage.
Smoking and drinking
There are over 4000 toxic chemicals in tobacco smoke that reduce collagen synthesis rate and some of them directly destroy collagen in our body. Additionally, studies show that drinking is likely to damage minerals and vitamins that are used to produce collagen in our body and this reasonably leads to collagen loss in the long term.
Too much sunshine
Studies show that Ultraviolet radiation may disrupt collagen production, so keep away from excessive sunshine.
Collagen is the main component of the skin and keeps it wrinkle-free. We can provide the collagen our body needs with supplements or eating foods high in collagen; but some believe that we had better give priority to collagen-rich foods.
There are some foods boosting collagen in our body because they are high in collagen including bone broth, chicken, egg, fish and shellfish. On the other hand, some foods like fruits and vegetables as well as beans and nuts do not contain collagen but they are rich in materials such as vitamin C and minerals like copper and zinc playing a key role in producing collagen in our body.
Finally, we should give up some unhealthy habits that may damage collagen production. Smoking, drinking, consuming too much sugar and carbohydrates and excessive sun exposure are some behaviors that must be seriously restricted.