Collagen is essential for the skin strength having great elasticity. Apart from this, it is also the glue in the body that holds your muscles and bones together by forming a part of the connective tissue.
Collagen foods are rich in muscle building protein and help slow down the aging process. Eggs and bone broth are examples of this. Likewise, vitamin C is very important for collagen production that can be obtained by eating fresh fruits and berries. Let us now look into how collagen helps your body and how you can consume collagen as part of your diet.1
What Is Collagen?
You will be surprised to know that the connective tissue that holds your cells together and covers your bones, tendons, muscles, teeth, skin, blood vessels, and every other part of you is made from the protein called collagen. Collagen binds, supports, and strengthens other tissues. It makes up for about three-quarters of the skin composition. If you want to have good skin, it is vital to keep the collagen levels healthy. Collagen is a tough, rigid substance made up of bundled fibers of protein that don’t stretch much.
The rigidity and the flexibility of collagen to stretch decreases with age and exposure to sunlight. Hence, it is imperative to keep the collagen healthy for supple skin and strength of the tissues.2 In normal tissues, collagen provides strength, integrity, and structure. When tissues are disrupted following injury, collagen is needed for repair and restoration of structure and function. Collagen is deposited at the wound site to repair the damaged tissues. Hence, collagen synthesis is important for wound repair and healing.3
Collagen Rich Foods
Our diet and food choices affect skin health and aging. Collagen that supports skin structure becomes damaged over time with exposure to the sun and age. Hence, a diet rich in foods that support collagen production and synthesis is important to maintain the strength and flexibility of skin. Vitamin C is essential for collagen production in the body. It is an antioxidant that protects against cellular damage by free radicals. Vitamin C rich foods include fruits and vegetables like oranges, strawberries, broccoli, greens, and tomatoes.
Vitamin E also protects tissues including skin cells and increases the production of connective tissue. Foods rich in vitamin E include vegetable oils, nuts, wheat germ, whole grain bread, and cereals.4 Bone broth and egg whites are direct sources of collagen. Cod and spirulina are also natural sources of collagen.
Collagen Diet Recipies
1. Slow Cooker Bone Broth
Bone broth is a natural source of gelatin, which has lots of collagen. Make your own with this easy slow cooker recipe.
- Bones from poultry, fish, beef, or lamb
- Apple cider vinegar, red or white wine, rice, balsamic
- Vegetables like celery, carrots, onions, garlic, and parsley or coriander.
- Combine the bones, water, vegetables, and vinegar in a slow cooker.
- You can let the ingredients cook after adding everything.
- Simmer the broth for a day.
- Strain through a colander lined with cheesecloth for a clearer broth.
- Discard the bones.
The prepared broth may be frozen for months or kept in the refrigerator for about 5 days.
Collagen is present in both bone and cartilage and hence, can be directly sourced from bone broth. Bone is also rich in minerals and the addition of vegetable supplements the nutrition content. Meat stock and bone broth add valuable nutrients and flavor to every meal. Stock and broth add a welcome savory taste to meats, grains, legumes, and vegetables as they stimulate the appetite and support good digestion.5
2. Strawberry Gummies
Vitamin C is the major participatory element in connective tissue formation. This vitamin is required for the biosynthesis of most of the components of connective tissues and is responsible for the structural integrity and stability of the components. Ascorbic acid serves as an important catalyst in collagen production and its conversion to tissue components.6
Being rich sources of vitamin C, citrus fruits like lemon and strawberries have lots of therapeutic benefits. These fruits are an excellent source of ascorbic acid and are rich in vitamins A and C. The powerful antioxidants in citrus fruits helps fight infections. Freshly squeezed juices of lemon and strawberries are excellent sources of vitamin C.
- Fresh or frozen strawberries
- Freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Grass fed gelatin
- Raw honey
- Place the berries, lemon juice, and honey in a small saucepan and heat over low medium heat.
- Cook until the fruits soften.
- Blend the cooked fruits into a puree.
- Whisk in the gelatin till all clumps are removed.
- Pour the liquid into candy or ice cube silicon molds.
- Place these gummies in the refrigerator for about 2 hours.
- Store them in an airtight container either in the refrigerator or at room temperature.
They will last for 3 to 4 days at room temperature and a couple of weeks in the refrigerator. These gummies are a good source of protein and collagen. This recipe works well with most other fruits except pineapple, papaya, and kiwi.
The amino acids in gelatin help build muscle, aid in digestion, reduce joint pain and support skin, hair and nail growth. Kids love to eat these gummies and you can be creative in making gummies of varied flavor with different fruits.7
|↑1||Pressman, Alan H., and Sheila Buff. The complete idiot’s guide to vitamins and minerals. Penguin, 2007.|
|↑2||Holford, Patrick, and Natalie Savona. Solve Your Skin Problems. Hachette UK, 2010.|
|↑3||DiPietro, Luisa A., and Aime L. Burns, eds. Wound healing: methods and protocols. Vol. 78. Springer Science & Business Media, 2003.|
|↑4||Spencer, Olga Brom. “New Frontiers in Aging: Spirit and Science to Maximize Peak Experience in Your 60s, 70s, and Beyond: Spirit and Science to Maximize Peak Experience in Your 60s, 70s, and Beyond.” ABC-CLIO, 2008.|
|↑5||Siebecker, Allison. “Traditional bone broth in modern health and disease.” PhD diss., NCNM, 2004.|
|↑6||Peel, Thomas. Vitamin C: New Research. Nova Publishers, 2006.|
|↑7||Voigt, Landria. “Super Paleo Snacks: 100 Delicious Low-Glycemic, Gluten-Free Snacks That Will Make Living Your Paleo Lifestyle Simple & Satisfying.” Fair Winds Press, 2014.|