Collagen is a naturally occurring protein in skin that keeps it tight, lifted and prevents it from sagging. It’s also a key component of healthy lean muscle tissue, which is essential for a healthy metabolism.
In this article, we will discuss 6 foods that boost natural collagen production:
Unfortunately, from our mid twenties our natural collagen production slows down and our diet and lifestyle choices (too much stress, too much cardio, not enough sleep) can also influence collagen breakdown. But not all is lost! There is so much that we can do to boost our body’s natural collagen production, and diet can play a huge role in this. Here are my favorite foods that can boost your body’s collagen production…
Our bodies create collagen by breaking down the protein we eat into amino acids. Collagen is made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. Consuming a diet that is rich in high-quality protein sources such as meats, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products can provide the body with the necessary amino acids needed to produce collagen including glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline. I recommend consuming around 30g of protein per meal.
Collagen itself is one of the best foods for collagen formation! After being absorbed in the small intestine, collagen peptides are distributed around the body, especially to the skin, where they can stay for up to 14 days. When they reach the skin they have a two-fold benefits – they provide building blocks for the formation of collagen fibers and they stimulate the production of new collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid. My favorite collagen is from Equip Foods (use code JENNIFERH for 15% off) and I add it to my smoothie every single morning.
Bone broth is a potent source of collagen and is rich in glycine and proline which, as previously mentioned, are essential for collagen production in the body. Drinking a cup of bone broth a day is a great idea for supporting healthy collagen production (and it has many benefits for digestion as well). It also makes a great addition to soups, stews and curries as an easy way to add it into your diet. My favorite option is from Bare Bones Broth, which you can buy here and use code ‘GUTHEALTH20’ for a discount.
Vitamin C is essential for collagen production as it is required for the conversion of certain amino acids into collagen. Vitamin C is also a potent antioxidant that helps protect collagen fibers from damage caused by free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can damage collagen fibers and other cellular structures, leading to premature aging and other health problems. Eating a diet rich in vitamin C-containing foods such as citrus fruits, berries, kiwi, broccoli, and peppers can help support natural collagen production in the body. I also recommend supplementation, my favorite of which is from LivOn Labs. Buy it here.
Zinc is a trace mineral that plays an important role in collagen production. Collagen is a protein that is made up of amino acids, and zinc is necessary for the production of certain amino acids that are required for collagen synthesis. Zinc is also involved in the process of enzyme activation that is necessary for collagen synthesis. Specifically, zinc is required for the activation of enzymes called collagenases, which break down old and damaged collagen fibers, allowing new collagen to be produced. Foods that are high in zinc include oysters, beef, pumpkin seeds, lentils, dark chocolate and yogurt.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that live in the gut and play a role in maintaining a healthy microbiome. A healthy gut microbiome is important for optimal nutrient absorption, including the absorption of the nutrients necessary for collagen production. Probiotics may indirectly support collagen production by improving gut health and immune function, and some strains of probiotics may have anti-inflammatory effects that can benefit the skin. Incorporate probiotic-rich foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi into a balanced diet and consider adding a supplement into your routine for a boost. My go-to is from Poliquin.