What’s the key to maintaining healthy skin? The answer is to feed it the nutrients it needs to thrive.
One of those essential nutrients is collagen.
You may have heard of the benefits of collagen, but what foods actually contain it? And how exactly can we add it to our diets naturally?
Let's talk more about how you can increase your collagen intake by eating foods you may already have in your home.
What is Collagen and Why Should You Consume it?
You’re probably wondering what foods contain collagen, but let’s first define what collagen is and why our skin needs it.
Collagen is a protein that plays a vital role in the skin and overall body.
It primarily acts as a building block for skin, bones, muscles, organs, tendons, and ligaments. What’s more, is that it gives our skin the support it needs to prevent anti-aging.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, collagen makes up 75-80% of our skin. However, our bodies decrease the amount of collagen it produces as we age – leaving us with less skin elasticity.
When our bodies are high in collagen, our skin is left smooth, soft, and firm.
All this to say, it’s essential to make sure we are consuming enough collagen in our diets. One way we can increase our collagen intake is by consuming foods that contain high amounts of it.
There are two ways to ingest collagen. The first being collagen peptides, which are in capsules and powders – the second being foods that naturally contain collagen.
Below, we’ll name the top foods that contain collagen or help our bodies produce more of it.
Bone broth is the newfound superfood everyone is talking about. And for good reason as it's full of vitamins, minerals, and of course – collagen!
There are many foods out there that contain nutrients to help the body produce collagen. However, bone broth is a rare source of collagen in its raw form.
Bone broth is made by boiling down animal bones. When the connective tissue found in bones is cooked down, they release collagen and amino acids. These nutrients help to strengthen the skin and gut, as well as fight inflammation and relieve joint pain.
Bone broth is an easy and delicious way to add more collagen into your diet. You can make this healthy elixir from scratch or buy it premade at the store.
Foods like bone broth, chicken skin, and pork skin are the only foods that contain collagen in a bioavailable form. However, some foods can help our bodies increase natural collagen production – meat being one of them.
When our bodies make collagen, it needs to be combined with amino acids and other nutrients found in protein-rich foods.
Since our bodies can’t make amino acids on their own, we need to eat meat to help boost collagen production.
The bottom line? Get stocking your freezer full of meat like chicken and beef.
Similar to meat, fish can provide many nutrients necessary to help our bodies produce collagen.
Studies show that fish collagen is more easily absorbed in the body than any other form. Collagen specifically found in fish skin and scales are rich with collagen-producing amino acids.
With that said, don’t skip out on Fish Friday. You can also make a fish stock to get the same benefits.
Did you know that color matters when it comes to the fruits and leafy greens you choose to eat?
Red fruits and vegetables contain lycopene, a natural antioxidant that helps fight free radicals that break down collagen.
Tomatoes are an excellent source of lycopene. Sun-dried tomatoes are the best choice when it comes to tomatoes. These contain 45.9 milligrams (mg) of lycopene as opposed to regular tomatoes, which only contain 3.0 mg.
Vitamin C is another essential nutrient required for collagen synthesis.
Strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries are all great sources of vitamin C, which are responsible for boosting collagen levels.
Research also shows that the ellagic acid found in berries work to fight free radicals that cause the breakdown of collagen.
You can eat them by the handful, add them to your smoothies, or toss some on top of a salad.
As if we need another reason to love oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and limes.
These citrus fruits are full of vitamin C, which helps link amino acids during collagen production.
These fruits make for a quick snack during the day. You can also add them to your water for a refreshing citrus flavor.
If you still can’t seem to get enough collagen in your diet, there are supplements that can help.
Collagen supplements are convenient and can easily be added into smoothies, protein shakes, and practically any recipe.
You Are What You Eat
What we eat can make a big difference for our skin. Collagen is among the many nutrients we need in order to maintain a healthy diet.
Now that you know what foods contain collagen, how will you include collagen in your diet? We’d love to hear your answer in the comments below.
And don’t forget to download our Collagen Recipe Booklet for more collagen-boosting recipes!