Simplistically, collagen is a protein found in mammals. There are many different kinds of collagen, but they are all fibrous and either connect or supports other tissues in the body. From the muscles and bones to internal organs, collagen is there. At 25 to 30 percent of all proteins in the body, it is the most popular of all proteins.
Working with keratin, together they help make the skin strong, flexible, and resilient. As we age, the collagen slowly breaks down and causes the skin to wrinkle. There are many products and procedures to either slow down the collage breaking down or to stimulate production.
What is collagen made from?
The body produces collagen, but aging can either break down the collagen that is already present or slow down production of new collagen to replace the proteins that have broken down.
Doctors will use collagen in cosmetic surgeries and there are supplements formulated specifically for joint health. But there are ways to stimulate and support collagen production in the body. There are nutrients found in food that stimulate collagen production and foods that support collagen health.
Foods that Support and Stimulate Collagen:
- Soy Products – The genistein helps produce more collagen and can help block the enzymes that break down collagen.
- Dark Green Vegetables – They contain antioxidants that help in collagen production.
- Beans – Beans help produce hyaluronic acid, which is vital to slowing down the ageing process.
- Red fruits and vegetables – Lycopenes found in these foods also increase collagen production.
- Prunes and Blueberries – Both are full of antioxidants. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals. Free radicals damage collagen.
- Food rich in Omega Acids – Although it does not directly aid in the production or protection of collagen, omega acids help create an ideal conditions for production.
- Turkey – Full of Carnosine, turkey helps aid collagen by keeping the fibers elastic. Skin that is elastic will keep away wrinkles.
- Chocolate – Specifically, dark chocolate contains antioxidants and helps increase blood flow to the skin, feeding both the skin and the collagen attached nutrients and moisture.
- Manuka Honey – Manuka Honey is a specific kind of honey that comes from New Zeland and has healing properties. It helps make the collagen stronger and is also an antioxidant.
- Rose Hips – They are full of Vitamin C which aids in collagen production.
- Avocado Oil – Both eaten and used topically, avocado oil stimulates collagen production, increases the amount of collagen in your skin, and helps repair damaged skin.
By feeding your body the right nutrients, we can stay healthy longer and slow down the appearance of aging. Natural sources of collagen boosting nutrients are the best way to go, but synthesized supplements that are also available. Those are best to augment your nutrient intake and fill in the nutritional “gap”.