Collagen is a protein found in your muscles, bones, hair, nails, tendons, ligaments, organs, blood vessels, and other connective tissues. It’s basically the “glue” that holds our body together and helps with joint pain, muscles, and digestion. Approximately 30% of the protein in our body and the tough inner layer of our skin is made of collagen. By the time we enter our mid-20’s, our bodies slowly decrease its collagen production. Therefore, signs of aging start to appear such as fine lines and wrinkles. Also, what we eat can increase inflammation and cause damage to the collagen in our bodies such as sugar and refined carbs. When the body is not getting its nutrients because of a poor diet, the body has a hard time producing collagen.
How to Know if Your Collagen Levels Have Decreased
- Wrinkles and crepey skin
- Less flexible tendons and ligaments
- Weaker muscles
- Joint pain
- Gastrointestinal problems
Now that we know what is collagen and the visible effects of low collagen levels, here is a list of foods that can help boost collagen production naturally:
1. Bone Broth
Bone broth is made from beef, chicken or fish bones and is slowly simmered in water for one to two days. It is recommended to buy organic for the best nutrient supply.
Avocados are naturally high in Omega-3 fatty acids which helps stimulate collagen production. The best avocados that are ready to eat would feel slightly soft but not “mushy”.
3. Wild Salmon
Wild salmon can be bought fresh or in pill form. When buying from the grocery store, look for the salmon that is moist and not dried out. Also, fresh fish doesn’t give that “fishy” smell, so look out for that.
4. Egg whites
Egg whites make up the bulk of protein in a whole egg and consists of minerals like niacin, potassium, riboflavin and magnesium. It also has proline, which is an amino acid that helps with collagen production. You can find egg whites typically in the refrigerated section at the grocery store.
5. Citrus fruits
Getting enough vitamin C is crucial in collagen production. Citrus fruits include oranges, kiwi, red and green peppers, tomatoes, and broccoli. There are also powders infused with collagen that are fruit flavored for an easy treat on-the-go.
Blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and all other berries help fight free radicals and strengthen the connective tissues in your skin. You can easily eat berries by themselves or add into your favorite smoothie recipe!
7. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are high in fiber and contain all the nine essential amino acids. They are also high in Omega-3’s and help with stabilizing blood sugar levels. No wonder chia seeds are considered a superfood!
Garlic is known to be anti-aging and anti-inflammatory due to its high sulfur content. It also provides taurine and lipoic acid which repairs damaged cells.
9. Leafy greens
Dark leafy greens such as kale, swiss chard, spinach, and collards contain high amounts of vitamin C to help build collagen and antioxidants to prevent collagen from breaking down.
- Protein-rich beans can be a good alternative to meat and is high in copper which is essential in collagen production. They can be made in soups, a side to the main course, and more.