Collagen has become a hot topic in recent years; new products containing collagen sprouting up everywhere, celebrities launching their own brands of collagen supplements, posts about how great it is for hair, nails, joints, and skin… With all this buzz, you might be curious: what exactly is collagen? Is it worth all the health hype? Can I naturally increase collagen? So, let's dive right in and uncover the truth about it!
Let’s start with the basics, what is exactly collagen? Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies (taking a whopping 30% of the total protein). This rockstar protein is the ultimate structural framework that keeps your body strong, flexible, and ready to tackle whatever life throws at you! 💪
Our body naturally makes this protein but, as we age, our collagen production decreases, leading to the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and joint discomfort. While it's not possible to fight against time and aging, we can promote collagen production through healthy lifestyle habits and proper nutrition.
Foods To Boost Collagen
Collagen can’t be absorbed by the body as a whole. This means that when we ingest products with collagen it doesn’t go directly to our bones and tissues, but rather it breaks down and then our bodies work their magic by rebuilding it.
It is important to understand that collagen is formed through the amino acids used to create proteins. Therefore, the best option to maintain adequate collagen levels is to include in the diet foods that provide complete proteins (with all essential amino acids) or that help generate collagen, such as vitamin C.
- Meat: Collagen is primarily found in animal-based foods, and meats serve as the main source of this essential nutrient. Beef, pork, chicken, and lamb offer proteins with high biological value, contributing to the body's collagen production. However, you should be mindful of the fat levels in these meats and consume them in moderation.
- Fish: Especially fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines. They are not only a great source of lean protein but also rich in omega-3s, which reduce inflammation and promote collagen production.
- Citrus fruits: Vitamin C is a key player in collagen production, including in your diet citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes that are rich sources of this antioxidant, will boost your collagen production.
- Vegetables:Dark, leafy greens like spinach, kale, and cabbage are packed with vitamins C, E, and A, as well as collagen-supporting co-factors such as zinc, manganese, and copper. These nutrients play a crucial role in collagen production, helping to maintain healthy skin.
- Egg whites: We're not discovering anything new by saying that eggs are one of the foods with the most complete and high-quality protein. Egg whites do have large amounts of proline, one of the amino acids necessary for collagen production.
Foods that damage collagen
Just like there are foods that can support and boost your collagen levels, there are also those that can break it down.
- Sugar: Sugar attaches to proteins to form advanced glycation end products. Keep control on the sugary treats and the sweetened beverages.
- Refined carbs: Such as white bread, sugary cereals, and pastries. This type of food can trigger a spike in blood sugar levels, promoting glycation and collagen damage.
- Processed Foods: Highly processed foods often contain unhealthy fats, artificial additives, and preservatives that promote inflammation in the body.
What about Collagen creams?
Topical treatments like retinol and retinoin are scientifically proven to promote collagen formation. Collagen creams are often combined with other hydrating active ingredients, for example an unstoppable formula would combine collagen with hyaluronic acid.
These two ingredients together are a perfect match for your skin; they complement each other flawlessly, and you'll notice the difference in your skin's comfort. A clear example of this the PETER THOMAS ROTH FIRMx Collagen Moisturizer; the Marine Collagen, Plant Collagen and Hydrolyzed Collagen help improve the look of fine lines, wrinkles and firmness, while the 5% Hyaluronic Acid Complex and Squalane leave the skin feeling hydrated, supple and plump with moisture.
The STRATIA Night Shift - Night Cream is an age-defying night cream featuring encapsulated retinol that increases cell turnover and stimulates collagen production for clearer, bouncier, more youthful skin. The 0.15% retinol in Night Shift is encapsulated in a lipid sphere, which helps it reach the deepest layers of your skin.
The Rose Plus Marine Brightening Collagen Complex from THE ORGANIC PHARMACY is an intensive treatment aimed to make skin 10 years younger by targeting the collagen and elastin in the skin. A matrix of Marine Collagen, Chondroitin, Sodium Hyaluronate and Ursolic Acid acts on skin elasticity and the depth of wrinkles as well as smoothness through collagen and GAG synthesis.
Lastly, we wanted to include in this list the daily supplement from Agent Nateur, Holi(mane) for flourishing hair, radiant skin and resilient nails. This exclusive product combines two daily powerhouse super foods: marine collagen and pearl powder. Bioavailable amino acids activate the feel of hair, skin and nail cells to produce the look of collagen and hydration. Nacre, a natural compound in pearl powder, stimulates the appearance of collagen to regenerate.
Include it in your diet just by adding 1 scoop to any raw food or beverage like matcha, coffee, smoothies, sauces, desserts, and dressings, and get ready to see the results!
In the end, aging may be unstoppable, but hey, we've got some secret weapons to make it go slower! Embrace collagen-boosting foods, pamper your skin with collagen-rich products, and avoid collagen-damaging foods and remember that it's all about enjoying the journey and showing the world that age is just a number! 😎🌟