Collagen supplements may be flooding the market, but nothing compares to natural, collagen-rich foods that are probably sitting in your pantry. Not only do they support muscle, joint, and tissue health, but they also firm the skin and lessen the appearance of wrinkles.
Some foods are richer in collagen than others, and with a fast-paced daily life, it’s key to follow a diet that maximizes your benefit. What is the best collagen to eat, particularly as you age? Multiple experts have answered this question, shedding light on what kinds of collagen-rich foods you should be adding to your diet.
The simplest way to define collagen is that it is the substance which holds the body together. This structural protein acts as a building block in the human body for bones, skin, muscles, teeth, joints, and connective tissues. It gives strength to both bones and muscles, and it also maintains smooth, undimpled skin.
“Collagen’s function in our body is to keep connective tissues moveable, elastic, and strong, in order to prevent brittleness,” says Jim White, RD, ACSM, HFS, Owner of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios. This is what keeps our skin, nails, and hair in a healthy condition, and our joints active.
Not only this, but it can also preserve gut barrier function as noted by Diana Gariglio-Clelland, RD, a dietician at Balance One Supplements. “Collagen even has an impact on the digestive system by impacting the lining of our gastrointestinal tract.” Since collagen production slows down once entering your thirties, it is important to explore collagen-based natural foods to assure a better aging process.
So the question is, how can you naturally increase your body’s collagen synthesis?
“Eating collagen-rich food such as meat, fish, chicken, eggs, and dairy products can help the body create collagen,” explains nutrition expert Gariglio-Clelland. Meat sources that include bone and/or connective tissue are especially rich in collagen since it is the main component of said tissues. Fish collagen on the other hand is absorbed up to 1.5 times more powerfully into the body compared to bovine or porcine sources of collagen. Other food sources of collagen include, leafy greens, garlic, cashews, beans, avocados, and white tea.
White notes the importance of eating foods with collagen rather than taking supplements. “Eating whole foods versus collagen supplements will allow you to intake more nutrients rather than limiting your intake to only collagen. Whole foods are functional because they have other properties like enzymes, fibers, etc. over only consuming collagen.”
Keeping a balanced diet comes hand in hand with stocking your grocery carts accordingly. Collagen-based foods will improve skin elasticity, anti-aging, and ease joint pain as you grow. Instead of pumping up your system with supplements, choose natural for a long-term young feel and healthy every day living.