People all around the world want to look younger as long as they can. There are many folktales about the existence of the fountain of youth. Unfortunately, in the real world, no such fountain exists. In the real world, there is one substance that is said to have the same properties as the water from the fountain of youth had. It makes the skin look younger. The name of this wonderful thing is collagen. It is that protein that is found in our body in abundance. The connective tissues of our skin, bones, muscles, cartilage, blood vessels, etc. primarily contain this protein.
All through the beauty and supplement industry collagen is popular for its anti-aging and beauty-enhancing properties, but collagen is something far greater than a beauty supplement. Collagen is found in our bodies in large quantities and hence our life quality depends on it to a great extent. It’s popular as an anti-aging ingredient because with the onset of age the body’s ability to produce collagen decreases. The signs of growing age, such as loss of hair, wrinkles and joint pains are associated with the decrease in collagen production in the body.
Opposite to popular notion, age is not the only thing that affects the production of collagen in the human body. The quality of life that a particular person has also put a great impact on the collagen production in the body. Unhealthy life choices lead to a decrease in collagen production in the body. Due to this person with an unhealthy lifestyle tend to show signs of aging early in their life. On the other hand, people who follow a healthy lifestyle and take a proper diet enriched with all the vitamins and minerals have healthy levels of collagen production in their body. These minerals and proteins also help in retaining the amount of collagen already present in the body. Here is a list of items that help boost collagen levels in the body.
Related: See this list of unhealthy lifestyle choices you should avoid
When we discuss sources of collagen, there is no better source of collagen than Gelatin. This is because Gelatin is Collagen. Collagen’s cooked form is called Gelatin. It is produced by boiling the connective tissues of cows as well as pigs. In the process, collagen is released, extracted and then dried. The best part about gelatin is that the body absorbs and digests it in a very easy way. There have been many cases where people have reported very quick results after the consumption of gelatin. Don’t expect that your wrinkles and joint pain will disappear overnight, but one thing is sure that consuming gelatin yield results.
- Bone broths
Bone broth is an excellent source of Collagen. It is prepared by boiling down the bones along with the connective tissues of animals. When all these are boiled collagen gets released into the water. It is a very easy dish to make and doesn’t require any form of expertise.
- Egg whites
Egg whites are rich sources of the two amino acids glycine and proline. These two amino acids are the main components of collagen. If you eat plenty of egg white then your body will get the amino acids that are required for the production of collagen in the body.
Almonds are a rich source of Vitamin E. Vitamin E is the antioxidant that is most abundantly found in our skin. The free radicals, which damage the collagen cells are neutralized by this. Vitamin E along with Vitamin C work together to boost the production of collagen in the body. Adding to this, almonds are also a good source of copper. Copper has required the production of fibrils of collagen. Copper is required to complete the collagen synthesis process.
Carrots are a very rich source of Vitamin A. They help in restoring collagen in the body. They also help in repairing collagen in the body. Many people don’t like carrots and for these people, there are so many alternatives available. Instead of carrots, they can have sweet potatoes, squash, apricots, cantaloupes, and mangoes. All these food items can help in providing Vitamin A in the body.
- Dark green vegetables
These are some of the most nutrient heavy superfoods that are available on our planet. The dark green vegetables are rich sources of Vitamin A, Vitamin C as well as Vitamin E. All these three vitamins are very important for the synthesis of collagen in our bodies. Apart from this, dark green vegetables such as Broccoli, Spinach, Green Beans contain chlorophyll (the pigment that gives plants their green colour). Research has shown that chlorophyll increases procollagen. Procollagen is a precursor in the collagen formation process.
This is good news for people who love eating this particular seafood. Oysters are enriched with zinc. Zinc is a trace mineral that is very necessary during the synthesis of collagen in the body. It is required for bone formation too. Apart from all this scientific research has also shown that zinc slows down the breakdown process of collagen cells in the granulation tissue. The wounds heal in a faster way due to this.
Tomatoes are really beautiful as well as helpful vegetables. They contain a great amount of lycopene. Lycopene is the amino acid that protects the skin on our body from sunlight. As we all know that exposure to the sun for longer intervals damages the collagen fibers in our skin. Due to these wrinkles start to appear on our skin and our body starts to age prematurely. Apart from this, it can also lead to us getting skin cancer. So, if you add tomatoes to your diet then you are indirectly adding days to your youthful skin.
- Pumpkins seeds and Cashews
Other food items mentioned here might not be ready to eat or many people don’t prefer to eat them raw. There are ready to eat snacks that provide the body with the required collagen boost. The majority of the nuts are a great source of zinc, especially cashew nuts and pumpkin seeds. Both these ready to eat snacks are rich in zinc. They are really helpful in maintaining required collagen levels in the body.
Vitamin C is a very important nutrient required for pre collagen production. Apart from this, it is also a very good antioxidant. Antioxidants help in the protection of collagen cells from breakdown by free radicals or toxins which are present around us in various places such as the air, water or food. Berries are two very good sources of Vitamin C. Berries such as blueberries, blackberries as well as raspberries and strawberries are excellent sources of antioxidants. They help in preventing free radical damage in the body.
Kiwis are brilliant sources of Vitamin C. They contain a good amount of Vitamin C and Vitamin C is a nutrient that is needed by our body in the pre collagen production phase for its execution. Vitamin C works in coordination with the two amino acids glycine and proline for the production of hydroxyproline. This is the amino acid that is required for securing the triple helical structure of collagen.
For the people who don’t know, Spirulina is a variety of blue-green algae, which is taken as a health supplement. It includes large quantities of iron. Apart from iron it also contains great amounts of glycine as well as proline. The amount of proline and glycine present in Spirulina is way more than the egg whites. It also has copper in it and copper is one of those minerals which are essential for the production of collagen. There are two downsides to Spirulina. The first is that it’s a bit costly and the second one is that it doesn’t taste very good.
- Fish (with skin)
Eating a fish with its skin is a great way to get collagen in the body. First of all, fish is already a good source of amino acids and amino acids are very helpful in the production of collagen in the body. Apart from that, the skin of the fish is enriched with high amounts of Type 1 collagen. This is responsible for the major amount of collagen in the skin.
Beef is a great source of Zinc. Zinc is one of the major ingredients which is required for the production of collagen in the body. Apart from this beef is also is a rich source of three types of amino acids. These are glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline. These three amino acids are major contributors to the production of collagen in the body. Here is a friendly guide about amino acids from Every Day Health.
By including all the above mentioned food items in your diet, you can gain collagen in our body. All these food items are either rich in collagen or help the body in producing collagen. Collagen is mainly produced by the body on its own, but there are a lot of things which help in this production process. So, go ahead and include these food items in your diet and get your sip of the fountain of youth.