What Foods Actually Contain Collagen?

Image courtesy of Beautyholic.

We’ve all heard a lot about collagen and why our body needs it. This has led many people to start taking collagen supplements. But did you know that you can also get collagen from food and herbs? That’s right, in addition to taking a collagen capsule or powder, there are foods that you can add to your diet to help boost your collagen levels to see firmer, more elastic skin. Curious to know more? Keep reading because in this post we’re going to discuss:

  • What collagen is and why we need it
  • Foods that you can add to your diet that contain collagen
  • Information about collagen supplements

Refresher - What Does Collagen Do and Why Do We Need It?

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body

healthy foods
Although collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, it decreases as we age. But not to worry, you can boost your levels by taking a supplement and eating foods designed to increase your body’s production. Image courtesy of Food Matters.

Collagen is a structural protein that serves as the building block for bones, teeth, tendons, ligaments, skin, muscles, and more. There are different types of collagen that take care of the different parts of our body, but basically it acts like the glue that holds everything together. Unfortunately, as we age, our bodies produce less and less collagen. The collagen it does produce tends to be of a lesser quality, which is why as we age we start to see our skin become thinner with more wrinkles, our joints ache, and we notice  a decrease in muscle and bone mass. Although collagen cannot stop the aging process, you can add collagen to your daily routine and try to reverse some of the effects of aging.

Collagen supplements are an easy way to add to the body’s collagen. After taking it consistently, you may start to notice your skin feeling firmer with more elasticity, looking brighter, and appearing hydrated. You may also notice that your joints don’t ache as much, and that your hair and nails appear stronger and less brittle. However, in addition to taking a supplement, did you know that you can actually add foods to your diet that assist with collagen production? 

Key takeaways: 

  • Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body
  • Our bodies produce less collagen as we age
  • You can add collagen to your routine and keep your skin, hair, nails, and joints looking and feeling their best with a supplement or through your diet

Foods that Boost Collagen

What are some of the best foods to increase collagen production?

woman holding oranges
Including healthy foods that are a part of a balanced diet is an easy way to boost collagen production. Image courtesy of Nutritious Life.

Eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep are all important to helping you look and feel your best. Foods that can boost collagen levels might already be a part of your healthy diet, and they include:

  • Lean protein. Eating a diet full of lean protein such as chicken, turkey, fish, and beef will help your body produce better, more abundant collagen.
  • Eggs. These are another great source of protein that are easy to include in your daily routine.
  • Fruits and vegetables. Red and green peppers and broccoli are good sources of vitamin C, zinc, and copper--all essential nutrients for the production of collagen.
  • Leafy greens. Dark greens are good for your body for a variety of reasons, but they also may help boost your collagen levels too.
  • Nuts. Nuts such as cashews and almonds are a good way to include healthy fats into your diet.
  • Bone broth. Whether you make your own or purchase an organic broth, this is a great way to ensure you’re giving your body what it needs to produce more collagen.
  • Beans. Beans and lentils are a good source of nutrients and should be a part of any healthy diet. 
  • Herbs. Herbs such as Chinese knotweed and ashwagandha can be included in your diet to increase collagen production.

The list of foods that can boost collagen levels looks like a healthy, balanced diet, so make sure you’re doing your best to include them! While there are ways you can increase your collagen production, there are also some things to avoid.

  • Overexposure to UV rays. If you’re going to be outside, make sure your skin is protected! Wear sunscreen and a hat if you know you’re going to be out in the sun for a long time, and don’t forget to reapply.
  • Avoid smoking. Smoking cessation is a great idea, and by quitting you can help improve the quality of your health.
  • Stress. While it’s hard to completely avoid stress, know that it does have an impact on your health. Develop healthy ways to deal with it or reduce it.

What About a Collagen Supplement?

Can you take a collagen supplement to boost your levels too?

Taking a collagen supplement in conjunction with a healthy diet is a great way to increase your collagen production and get results.

Not to worry, you can safely take a collagen supplement while you’re eating a diet rich in foods that promote collagen production. Collagen supplements are a convenient way to help your body get the collagen it needs to have brighter, more supple skin, less painful joints, and less brittle hair and nails. Along with staying active and keeping your skin safe from UV rays, they are a great addition to any healthy routine. 

Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables (especially green and red ones), lean protein, nuts, lentils, and nutrient-packed bone broth is a healthy way to improve the collagen production in your body. You’ll notice not only the benefits in your skin, joints, and nails, but you’ll probably feel good all over! Balanced with exercise and good sleep schedule, and you’ll be well on your way to reaching your health goals. 

@dremilnutrition