Foods that help with collagen

Foods that help with collagen

January is the time of year many of us decide this is the year to be healthier, happier, lose weight, look better, etc. etc., etc.

If you’re thinking about these things anyway, this blog will help you hit a couple of goals with some simple diet changes.

You’ve no doubt heard (or noticed) that your skin starts to show fine lines and become a little looser in your 30’s. This is because your collagen production starts to decline then. And the collagen that you do make isn’t as good a quality as it used to be. Collagen is responsible for firm skin.

Is it time to throw in the towel?

Only if you want to.

Besides an excellent and consistent skin care routine, lifestyle has a huge effect on collagen. help your body make more and better collagen.

(For other lifestyle factors, see this blog.)

And since January also seems to be the season of lists, I’ll list some of the top foods to include in your diet to help your body make more and better collagen.

  1. Protein

Protein is the building block for collagen (which is also a protein). Your body breaks it down into amino acids and reassembles them to make collagen and the other proteins your body needs.

Include lean meats, fish, and eggs. Egg whites, in particular, are high in the amino acid lysine which is essential for collagen production.

If you’re a vegetarian, legumes and tofu are a good source of collagen building protein.

  1. Omega 3 Fatty Acids

More and more studies are confirming the benefits of getting enough omega 3 fatty acids. They are good for your brain, your heart, and your skin (your whole body really). The main reason for this is that they are anti-inflammatory.

For your skin, this means less collagen breakdown and more natural moisture.

Walnuts, flax and chia seeds, fatty fish like salmon, and good quality omega 3 supplements are all helpful

  1. Leafy greens

Leafy greens are rich in vitamin C. Vitamin C is an essential ingredient in collagen production. Plus folic acid and other healthy nutrients in leafy greens help to protect your skin cells from environmental stressors and free radicals.

Kale, spinach, Swiss chard, collards. The list of leafy greens is long so pick your favorites and eat plentifully.

  1. Red fruits and vegetables

Red fruits and vegetables contain lycopene. Lycopene is a strong antioxidant that helps your skin withstand the environmental stressors and free radicals that breakdown collagen.

  1. Orange vegetables

 These vegetables, particularly carrots and sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A and carotinoids. Vitamin A is important to collagen production and keeping your skin firm. Carotinoids protect your skin from environmental and UV damage which can break down  collagen even faster.

 It’s much better to get your vitamin A needs met through food. Vitamin A supplements are easy to overdo and can be toxic if you get too much. You don’t need to worry about that with whole food.

  1. Vitamin C rich foods

We’ve already talked about leafy greens and red fruits which contain Vitamin C but berries, citrus fruits, and kiwi are loaded with vitamin C too.

  1. Garlic

Garlic is a natural source of sulfur. Sulfur is needed to build good quality collagen. Garlic also contains taurine and lipoic acid. These compounds are important for rebuilding damaged collagen.

When you’re using fresh garlic (that’s the best), chop it and then let it sit for 5-10 minutes. This will allow the sulfur compounds in the garlic to transform into a form that’s more useful to your body.

As you work these foods into your diet, the important thing is to vary what you eat. It’s better to eat several different kinds of greens, for example, then only eating one favorite.

That said, please eat what you enjoy. It might take a little experimentation and trying some new thing to figure out what you like. Eating healthily for your skin and your body should be a pleasure.

 

 


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