Collagen is the most abundant protein in humans, and the highest concentration is in the tendons, cartilage, skin, and bones.
Collagen forms the connective tissues, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and skin, while its essential function is to provide the skin with structure.
When does the collagen level drop?
We can not measure the collagen level, but there are a few signs that reflect how well or not our body produces collagen. More or less, your body may need a boost of collagen if you face any of the following:
- less flexible tendons and ligaments
- weaken muscles
- joint pain
- gastrointestinal affections
While we grow old, the collagen level decreases, but besides that, a deficient alimentation could also be the reason for the collagen level drop. The body isn’t able to produce collagen if does not receive the necessary elements.
How the body produces collagen?
When we get nutrients from eating protein-rich foods, our body breaks down these dietary proteins into amino acids, producing collagen.
Next, the process requires vitamin C, copper, and zinc to occur.
For this reason, besides the protein-rich foods, we need to intake also vitamins and minerals to help our body complete the collagen production process.
10 Foods That Help Body Producing Collagen
For the many reasons we need to maintain a decent level of collagen in our bodies, we created a list with the top ten foods that are required to complete the collagen process, and also the ones that contain collagen themselves.
One of the most popular sources of collagen is bone broth. This is high in minerals, vitamins, and amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. Also, it contains a high amount of collagen, which helps support skin health.
Bone broth draws collagen out of bones and leaves a flavored liquid that can be drunk straight up or used to cook various dishes.
Fish & Shellfish
Marine collagen is known as the easiest absorbed by the body. While fish bones and ligaments are made of collagen, take note that fish contains less collagen in the parts we usually tend to consume.
The highest parts of fish rich in collagen are the head, eyeballs, or scales — hmm..
Sun exposure damages the collagen fibers in the skin, speeding up the aging process.
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, which is an amino acid that protects the skin from sun rays.
One medium tomato can provide up to 30% of vitamin C, needed to complete the collagen-producing process.
Thus, adding tomatoes to your diet will help preserve youthful skin.
Sun-dried tomatoes contain a high level of vitamin C needed for collagen production as well. Also, they contain lycopene antioxidants to protect skin from sun damage and collagen breakdown.
It’s handy tossing them in a salad, into your pasta, or just as a healthy grab-and-go snack.
Egg whites contain a large amount of proline, which is one of the amino acids necessary for collagen production.
The yolk itself contains collagen, ideal for weight loss and many other health reasons. Read more here.
Excellent source of vitamin C, berries serve as a powerful antioxidant, protecting against the breakdown of collagen cells caused by the free radicals.
Raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries are potent sources of antioxidants too, but berries contain more vitamin C needed for the collagen process production.
According to this study, berries contain ellagic acid, known to fight against UV rays damage.
Kales, spinach, green beans, broccoli contain chlorophyll — an antioxidant that increases procollagen in our skin.
Dark green vegetables are one of the most nutrient-dense superfoods we can find on the planet. Being potent sources of vitamin A, C, and E, they become vital nutrients for the collagen synthesis.
Cashews and Almonds
Cashews are rich in zinc and copper, both crucial for boosting the body’s ability to produce collagen.
On the other hand, almonds represent a potent source of vitamin E, helping neutralize free radicals that are damaging the collagen cells.
Furthermore, vitamin E is merging with vitamin C, stimulating collagen formation.
Additionally, almonds are a potent source of copper, an essential trace mineral required in the formation of collagen fibrils.
Besides adding a fantastic flavor to some dishes, garlic can boost collagen production.
Garlic is high in sulfur — a trace mineral that synthesizes and prevent collagen breakdown.
Moreover, sulfur helps prevent the breakdown of collagen fibers, so it’s particularly beneficial towards preserving healthy skin and joints.
You might want to consider the garlic part of your regular diet if you’re going to reap the collagen benefits.
Beans are super rich in proteins that contain the amino acids necessary for collagen synthesis. Also, many types of beans are rich in copper, another nutrient required for collagen production.
Because oysters are a rich source of zinc, they help stimulate collagen synthesis required for bone formation.
In plus, zinc has been shown to slow down the breakdown rate of collagen cells in granulation tissue, allowing wounds to heal faster.
What could be damaging your skin’s collagen?
Now that you know the most potent foods required for the body to create collagen, we thought it’d be helpful for you to know also what could be damaging or negatively affect the collagen production process.
Unprotected sun exposure is the most common cause of aging skin. UV rays damage the skin by penetrating the dermis and breaking collagen down.
Lack of vitamin C
By helping fight free-radicals and damage caused by UV radiation, vitamin C helps boost collagen production. It’s been proved that vitamin C is critical for assisting the body in form and store collagen. Ingesting and applying vitamin C topically to the skin help smooth out wrinkles.
Not sleeping enough
Sleeping is crucial for the skin to regenerate and repair. Studies show that lack of sleep affects our immune system, affecting, in turn, the production of collagen.
Too much sugar in our diet can damage elastin and collagen molecules in the skin, accelerating aging signs. By limiting the amount of sugar in your diet, you will keep your skin healthy.
Stay away from refined carbs
Too many refined carbohydrates can cause inflammation in the skin tissue and damage the existing collagen.
To summarize, you can’t go wrong if you start introducing high-collagen animal sources, plant foods, mineral-rich fruits, and vegetables in your diet.
You might also want to read:
- 9 Benefits of Collagen Powder Essential for Your Health
- 10 Best Collagen Powders To Reverse Your Age
- 9 Collagen Supplements You Should Try Right Now
- 7 Best Collagen Creams For Wrinkles And Skin Lifting