Collagen has been gaining some hype in the health and beauty industry. But, what is it really and is it truly essential? This post breaks down what makes it so special and the 10 best food sources of collagen.
If you’re into skincare, fitness, weight loss, or clean eating, you’ve probably come across bone broth products and collagen powders or creams. All these products have been deemed “must-haves” for anyone either looking to lose weight, improve their health, or complexion.
But what exactly is collagen and why is it gaining so much traction in the health and beauty community?
I’ll be sharing more about:
- The benefits of collagen
- How to produce more of it
- How to incorporate it in your diet
- Other FAQs and recipes to boost your collagen intake
This post aims to help you see why collagen is a great addition to your diet and the 10 best foods to help you consume more of it. I’m also sharing some of my fave recipes filled with this wonderful protein.
Let’s get to it, shall we?
Why Is Collagen Important?
Collagen is one of the main proteins found in our body. In fact, it’s the most abundant protein among all of them. Our skin, bones, hair, digestive system, muscles, and tendons need collagen for strength, flexibility, and healing.
Apart from health benefits, collagen is also great for its anti-aging benefits. It’s known to reduce wrinkles and give your skin that plump and youthful glow.
Here are some other benefits of collagen:
- It may improve gut health
- It supports joint health
- It may help regulate hormones
- It supports heart health
- It may help support weight loss
- It helps speed up wound healing
- It can help boost muscle mass
With all of these benefits, you’ll be happy to know that you don’t have to look too far to add it to your clean diet.
How Do You Increase Collagen Naturally?
Since collagen is already naturally produced in our body, the best way to increase collagen production is through the food we eat.
The great thing about consuming more collagen-rich foods is that it won’t be much of a shift from a typical healthy diet.
Vitamin C and amino acids make up collagen and boost its production. Luckily, these are already found in basic ingredients you might already have in your pantry. Read on further for the list.
Which Fruits Have The Most Collagen?
Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit are known for being foods high in collagen-producing properties.
Although they don’t contain collagen itself, their antioxidants and nutrients such as vitamin C and zinc help your body produce more of this wonderful protein.
What Vegetable Is High In Collagen?
Vegetables don’t contain collagen. That’s because collagen only naturally occurs in connective tissues found in animals.
However, vegetables do contain vitamins and compounds that promote your body’s production of collagen.
For example, chlorophyll found in kale, spinach, and other leafy greens are rich in antioxidants, vitamins A, C, E, and K. These help your body increase its collagen production and provide anti-aging benefits as well.
What Destroys Collagen?
Certain parts of our body start to grow weak the older we get (wrinkles and lower back pain, anyone?). Collagen is no exception, as production naturally decreases over time.
A poor diet can also be a cause for low collagen levels since you won’t be getting the vitamins your body needs to produce it. Prolonged unhealthy habits like smoking, lack of exercise, and too much exposure to sunlight can also reduce collagen production.
What Are The Symptoms Of Lack Of Collagen?
Collagen deficiency happens naturally as we age, and there are ways to spot a deficiency in it.
Here are a few symptoms you can be on the lookout for:
- Wrinkles and non-elastic skin: Around 70-80% of our skin is made up of collagen. However, as we age our production starts to slow down once we reach 25-26 years old. Wrinkles and lack of skin elasticity are indicators of reduced collagen.
- Joint pain and slow muscle recovery after exercise: Our tendons, muscles, joints, and bones rely on collagen for elasticity, structure, and repair. When collagen levels drop, it’s hard for our body to do these things on the daily. In fact, studies show that collagen intake improves joint pain related to activity and movement, like osteoarthritis.
- Gastrointestinal issues: Collagen is one of the things responsible for our organ structure, and is found to repair wounds and dysfunction in our intestines.
Do I Have To Take Collagen Supplements To Get Enough?
If you’re starting to feel symptoms of a collagen deficiency, then supplements could be a good solution. They’re a great way to up your intake and some great quality supplements even have medical benefits.
If you don’t decide to use collagen supplements, you can still reap its benefits is through a healthy diet. You can do this by consuming either collagen-boosting foods or foods that have the real deal.
What Foods Give You Collagen?
I’ve narrowed down this list of foods high in collagen and collagen-producing properties to add to your clean meal plan.
1. Fish and shellfish
3. Egg whites
Speaking of amino acids, egg whites are also loaded with them. Even the eggshell membrane contains collagen! Just when I thought I couldn’t love eggs even more, they proves to be a collagen-boosting healthy kitchen staple.
4. Citrus fruits
Oranges, limes, and other citrus fruits are packed with high levels of vitamin C which helps your body naturally boost its collagen production. Get your daily boost with your favorite citrus fruit – maybe through this orange protein shake?
Garlic is great for naturally restoring collagen in your skin. A great excuse to enjoy more homemade garlic bread!
6. Bone broth
You can’t talk about collagen without bringing up bone broth. Apart from its health and weight loss benefits, it’s actually one of the best food sources of collagen.
7. Leafy greens
It’s no surprise that these veggies are full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that boost collagen production. If these aren’t already a part of your daily diet, these spinach and feta burgers are a good place to start!
Already oh-so-good on its own, the fact that pumpkin is also high in collagen-producing vitamins is a plus. For an easy pumpkin fix, check out this super easy pumpkin puree recipe.
These are loaded with antioxidants and vitamins that help your collagen levels increase. And this fresh tomato basil bruschetta recipe? To die for.
Avocados have been on the nutritional spotlight lately, and rightfully so. Apart from the myriad of health benefits they carry, they’re also rich in omega-3 which is great for collagen production.
Delicious Recipes With Foods High In Collagen
Now you know just how collagen keeps you glowing inside and out! Check out these other recipes with foods high in collagen and collagen-boosting benefits:
- Best Homemade Margherita Pizza (with healthy ingredients)
- Pan Fried Salmon
- Fall Harvest Buddha Bowl on Cauliflower Grits
- Easy Avocado Hummus Recipe
- Healthy Lemon Bars (with No Refined Sugar!)
This post contains affiliate links for products I use regularly and highly recommend.