Discover the power of a collagen-rich diet and unleash your body’s potential to produce more collagen naturally.
From collagen-boosting foods to natural sources of this essential protein, incorporating these nourishing options into your meals can have remarkable benefits. While collagen’s reputation for promoting youthful skin steals the spotlight, scientific evidence backs up its impressive anti-ageing properties.
However, not everyone finds collagen supplements accessible or affordable. That’s why exploring a food-first approach becomes appealing.
Regardless of your skincare or joint health concerns, collagen deserves your attention. As early as our mid-20s, we begin losing collagen, with a decline of 1 per cent per year after the age of 40, as confirmed by a 2019 study in Molecules.
And as you age, the body’s ability to release this protein declines, resulting in the appearance of wrinkles and blemishes. A low rate of collagen release also impacts skin elasticity and causes skin sagging.
If you visit a store or do a quick search on “best anti-ageing products” you’re bound to be amazed by the variety of “collagen”-infused potions, powders, and supplements available right in front of you. Nevertheless, a lot of people might end up buying a couple of these in hopes of looking younger, unaware of the natural substitutes that exist and promising to replenish the skin without any side effects.
Before we begin to probe nature’s way to amplify collagen levels, let’s get to know some facts about “collagen.”
WHAT IS COLLAGEN?
Collagen is the most prevalent type of protein that gives structure and resilience to skin, tendons, ligaments, and other tissues. In simple terms, collagen is a component that gives skin the ability to spring back when it’s pinched or squeezed.
So far, this ‘miracle ingredient’ has only been sought for its power to delay skin ageing. Its role in enhancing other body functions has not been able to receive the attention it deserves.
Speaking of its functions for the rest of the body, collagen works similarly as it does for the skin to imbue agility in vital body components like tissues, nerves, arteries, organs, and bones. It acts as a binding agent for the cellular framework of every part of your body.
It’s no wonder that this protein is often hailed as a secret to long life by those who know how useful it can be for health.
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Collagen-Rich Food To Boost Natural Collagen Production in Your Body
1. Fish, Meat and Poultry
Almost all animal proteins include natural collagen, which can help us age longer and enhance the health of our joints.
Bone broth is a popular food item that women like to consume to maintain skin elasticity and prevent issues like arthritis and osteoporosis.
It’s the gelatin-like consistency of bone broth that readily provides collagen and some other nutrients such as magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, and amino acids that our body needs regularly to function properly.
Fish and poultry are the second-best sources of natural collagen food. In reality, many anti-ageing creams contain collagen derived from chicken flesh and fish skin.
According to experts, the collagen found in fish is readily absorbed by the body. That’s the reason fish is one of the best foods to increase collagen levels naturally.
2. Citrus Fruits and Berries
If you’re looking to step up your body’s natural ability to manufacture collagen, you have to supplement your diet with ample amounts of vitamin C. Citrus fruits contain just the right amounts of vitamin C to help your body produce sufficient quantities of collagen.
Grapefruit, oranges, lemons, pomelos, and Kaafir limes are some of the best varieties of citrus fruits with abundant levels of vitamin C.
Cherries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries are your best companions in the summer to supply you with optimum levels of vitamin C and other antioxidants needed to manufacture collagen.
3. Red, Green and Yellow Vegetables
The colour of your veggies can be of great help when thinking of buying collagen-friendly foods. Aim to include red, green, and yellow-orange-coloured vegetables in your daily meal plan to derive the recommended amounts of vitamin C.
Another potential micronutrient found in these coloured vegetables that work to maintain skin elasticity and prevent ageing is carotenoid, an antioxidant that fights inflammation and protects skin from sun damage.
Bell peppers, pumpkins, gourds, okra, and tomatoes are some of the food items belonging to the coloured family of veggies that can be easily sneaked into your meals to amp up collagen levels in your body.
4. Tropical Fruits
Apart from the citrus fruits, there’s another fruit family that can meet your daily intake of vitamin C. Tropical fruits like guava, mangos, apricots, peaches, pineapple, kiwi, and bananas hold the secret to ageless skin and bodies.
The presence of certain anti-oxidants like polyphenols and flavonoids in tropical fruits helps prevent skin damage caused by free radical production. Stocking up on these fruits helps the skin develop a natural barrier against harmful UV rays.
These fruits tend to be accessible throughout the summer and help you stay full for extended periods. Hence, they are also excellent for losing weight.
5. Leafy Vegetables
We’ve often seen dermatologists recommend retinol-infused ointments to minimise the appearance of wrinkles. This micronutrient is found in all green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and lettuce. Its main job is to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and assist in collagen production.
Chlorophyll is another agent found in abundance in leafy greens that helps quicken collagen synthesis. This naturally occurring agent is generally responsible for giving leafy vegetables a bright green hue.
A storehouse of antioxidants and vitamins, chlorophyll boosts cell turnover rate to restore youth and elasticity to dull-looking skin.
6. Beans and Carrots
The most easily available food items that help maintain collagen within a healthy range are beans and carrots. Both of these vegetables are loaded with vitamin A, which works to repair damaged skin and prevent further breakdown of elastin.
Carrots go the extra length in providing sufficient nutrition to synthesise collagen due to their high carotenoid content. This anti-oxidant is responsible for maintaining the agility of the skin and preventing the deterioration of collagen due to sun exposure.
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Soy products like tofu, soy milk, and soybeans are the ultimate skin foods that reverse skin ageing and promote collagen release. Soybeans are a rich source of Genistein, an isoflavone. It improves the rate of collagen synthesis and obstructs certain enzymes from destroying the collagen.
Milk from soybeans possesses high concentrations of certain isoflavones, vitamins, fibre, and antioxidants with proven skin-firming qualities. These essential skin nutrients protect the skin from sun damage and preserve a youthful appearance.
8. Nuts and Seeds
These two are among the best food groups you can snack on at any time of the day in any season, be it summer or winter. Both of these food families are rich in vitamin E, zinc, copper, magnesium, and certain antioxidants.
Some of the most healthful nuts considered great for boosting collagen levels are cashew nuts, pistachios, and almonds.
Pumpkin, sesame, chia, and flaxseeds are almost equally beneficial in supporting healthy collagen levels in your body when compared to different nut varieties.
As a natural anti-biotic, garlic is infamous for its role in fighting allergies, infections, and viruses. What remains a mystery is its anti-ageing ability.
Garlic contains certain essential nutrients like sulphur and taurine to assist in building collagen and prevent it from damage. Another nutrient, lipoic acid, works on building the skin’s collagen structure.
Additional Tips from Dr Tanvi Bansal for Maximising Collagen Production
Optimal hydration plays an important role in maintaining collagen levels in the body.
- Drink enough water.
- Make hydrating foods like cucumber, celery, watermelon, wood apple (bael), etc. a part of your daily diet.
Reduce Sugar Intake
Limit your intake of sugary and processed foods that can damage collagen.
- Sugar leads to collagen degradation through the process of glycation.
- Opt for unprocessed and whole foods like millet, oats, etc. and increase your intake of freshly prepared food.
Manage stress by following stress-coping techniques to preserve collagen production.
- Spare some leisure time to pursue hobbies.
- Get enough sleep.
- Follow stress-reducing exercises and make them a part of your life.
- Activities like walking, jogging, meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises, and many more can help.
With such an enormous variety of skin-friendly foods, achieving firm-looking skin without a trace of wrinkles, blemishes, or lines is no longer a dream. Let nature be your guide in bringing out your best version of health and beauty!
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