12 Best Collagen Foods to Boost Flawless Skin

For years, Chinese women have held close the secret to flawless, youthful skin. Their “fountain of youth”, otherwise known as collagen, has been the secret weapon of people everywhere wanting to reclaim their youth and keep Father Time from marching across their skin. 

In order to take advantage of all the benefits collagen can provide us in reducing fine lines, improving skin tome, and turning back the clock, we need to take a look at what it is, how it is produced naturally in the body, and what we can do to help facilitate this process to reclaim some of those skin cells lost on poor life choices, environmental factors, and genetic deficiencies. What can we do to improve our own collage production?

What is collagen?

Collagen is a naturally occurring substance found in the body. It is the most abundant protein, accounting for nearly a third of your whole body’s protein composition. Collagen is a significant player in the building of muscle, bone, skin, tendon, and ligament tissues. It is also present in significant amounts in blood vessels, corneas, and even teeth. Think of collagen as the magic glue that holds tissues together—-you need it, you need it in abundance, and we are in jeopardy of losing it as we get older. 

What does collagen do in the body?

There are different types of collagen that have specific functions in the body. 

  1. Type 1 collagen is densely packed, like fiber. It accounts for over 90 percent of the composition of skin, bones, tendons, ligaments, teeth, connective tissue, and cartilage. 
  1. Type 2 collagen provides the cushion between joints, allowing us freedom of movement.
  1. Type 3 collagen supports the structure and composition of muscles, arteries, and major organs of the body.
  1. Type 4 collagen aids in filtration, and is found in between the layers of your skin.

When collagen reserves start to break down, one area that this becomes most evident is in the skin. Skin becomes loose, loses elasticity, and begins to wrinkle and show signs of fatigue. This is a sign that your collagen stores throughout the body are compromised. 

collagen foods

What can damage collagen?

Besides the natural aging process, other environmental and lifestyle behaviors can compromise your body’s ability to replenish natural reserves. These include:
  • Eating sugar and refined carbs; lots of processed food
  • Getting too much sun exposure
  • Smoking and drinking to excess

If you are interested in preserving and protecting your health for the long term, it is wise to consider altering these collagen-damaging behaviors to protect whole body health and delay the effects of aging.

Signs that your body needs more collagen

Age is only one factor in determining what your collagen needs are. Other signs point to the deficiency and decrease in your ability to produce quality collagen. If you notice any of the following symptoms, it is time to consider being proactive about adding more collagen to your diet:

  • achy joints
  • a leaky gut or digestion problems
  • symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome
  • wrinkles and fine lines on skin
  • dry skin
  • cellulite
  • thinning hair
  • blood pressure problems

12 Collagen Foods

While there are plenty of collagen products out on the market today that promise to restore your body to its former glory and your skin to its once radiant sheen, perhaps the easiest way to replenish collagen stores is found in your kitchen. There are a number of natural collagen foods that are not only rich in collagen themselves, but they trigger the body’s own natural response of collagen production, restoring some of that long lost youth and vitality you want so much to claim once more. The next time you visit your local grocery store, consider adding these collagen-boosting and collagen-rich foods to your diet:

Bone broth

Once thought of as uncouth or “animal-like”, the consumption of bone broth is becoming more popular among the health conscious for its collagen boosting effects. Rich in minerals such as magnesium, phosphorous, calcium, glucosamine, and amino acids, it will be a beneficial and flavorful addition to your diet.

Chicken

Many collagen supplements on the market these days are derived from chicken; anyone who has cut up a chicken likely knows that large amounts of this connective tissue are present in the flesh. Feel free to consume your favorite white meat several times a week, and begin to see and feel benefits almost immediately.

collagen foods

Fish and shellfish

Many people report that marine collagen, present in fish, shellfish, and seafood, is most easily absorbed and assimilated by the body. While fish flesh contains a moderate amount of collagen, many of us shy away from the parts of fish and shellfish that contain the most beneficial nutrients, such as the eyes, bones, scales, and skin. Go ahead, be adventurous….try incorporating some of these lesser know and lesser appreciated parts into your diet. Your body will thank you.

Egg whites

A favorite for healthy protein, egg whites are also rich in collagen. They contain proline, an amino acid that aids in the body’s own collagen building process. Scramble some up with some salsa for a healthy and delicious breakfast that will aid in your quest for your own youth and beauty.

Citrus fruit

Vitamin C plays a critical role in the body’s production of pro-collagen, a precursor to collagen. Citrus fruits have this healthy vitamin in abundance—-grapefruit, lemon, oranges, limes, and clementines are healthy and delicious options for obtaining this quantity of C.

Berries

Another surprising source of large quantities of vitamin C is berries–all kinds of them! Raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and strawberries all contain vitamin C; they also contain powerful antioxidants that protect skin as it is being rebuilt and repaired.

Tropical fruit

More fruit makes the list, but this time it’s of the tropical persuasion. Mango, kiwi, pineapple and guava contain both zinc and vitamin C; both are critical components in the building and repairing of collagen within skin tissue.

Garlic

Garlic adds more than substance and flavor to our favorite pasta dishes; it can also boost your own collagen production. Garlic contains high amounts of sulfur, which is known to help synthesize and prevent the breakdown of collagen. The amount of garlic that you consume is directly related to the health benefits that you glean from its consumption. If you don’t mind the odor, take the garlic in your favorite recipes and double it. It will not only keep away creatures of the night, but it will help you produce additional collagen for various uses in your body.

Green foods

We all know that green, leafy foods are key players in the creation of a nutritious and healthy diet. It is also being uncovered that they have aesthetic properties as well; kale, spinach, swiss chard, and other salad greens helps the body to produce pre-collagen. Mix those greens with some hard boiled eggs and chicken and you’ve got a power packed meal that will improve your skin’s appearance with every bite.

Beans

Beans, all types of beans, are a protein power-packed food. They contain several amino acids essential for collagen production. Many varieties are also rich in copper, another trace mineral essential for the rebuilding and repair of collagen. 

Cashews

The next time you have a craving for a salty and substantial snack, reach for nuts—-specifically cashews. They are rich in both zinc and copper, which are important building blocks in the production of collagen. Sprinkle on stir fry, add to sandwiches for crunch and substance, or simply grab a handful for a nutritious snack. 

Tomatoes

Another delicious yet somewhat hidden source of miraculous C, tomatoes contain up to 30 percent of your daily requirement of this vitamin. Tomatoes also contain large amounts of lycopene, an important antioxidant for protecting and rebuilding the skin.

Bell peppers

As long as you are adding tomatoes to your sandwiches and salads, consider throwing on a few strips of bell pepper too. This vitamin-saturated veggie boasts a compound called capsaicin, a powerful anti-inflammatory that is known to combat the signs of aging. 

The challenge is on! 

It can be hard to incorporate a variety of collagen foods into your diet; some still question the ability of collagen to create differences in the appearance and texture of skin. Studies have shown, however, that the introduction of collagen-rich foods and collagen supplementation have made a difference in both the texture and appearance of skin, particularly for women. With other marked benefits of collagen supplementation and dietary changes, both men and women alike are jumping on the collagen train and riding it back to better health and vitality.

Are you going to join the ranks of thousands who have made changes to their diets to improve collagen consumption? If so, you are sure to also see some of the many benefits that come with adding this fundamental building block that has the capability to transform your whole body.