Benefits of collagen rich foods for skin
We all know that we must follow the pyramid of a balanced diet in order to keep our body systems functioning properly and avoid health issues in the future. But what isn’t common knowledge is that through our diets, the largest organ of our body, our skin, can also benefit or be adversely affected.
It’s not just creams, serums and moisturizers that our skin loves absorbing. Our diet plays a big role in how healthy our skin becomes.
First of all, what is collagen? It’s definitely in the spotlight today. And it should be, because it is the adhesive that holds our entire bodies together. Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies, which is found in our skin, bones, muscles, blood and digestive system.
As we age, this adhesive loses its sticky power and voila! We get wrinkles, slower metabolism, and weaker muscles.
Go through the skin-care aisle and you will see so many products that have collagen in them. The packaging is usually in shades of gold, so as to portray its premium quality (and probably importance) over other products.
The good news is that we do not have to empty our wallets just to ensure that our bodies still acquire the proper amount of collagen to keep us functioning. Eating food that is rich in collagen can provide the same benefits as skin care products plus many more nutrients for the rest of our body. Benefits such as:
1. Reverse skin aging
This is perhaps the most popular ability of collagen that most people are of. Because of collagen, our skin can remain supple, glowing and vibrant. With collagen, our skin will not sag and deteriorate as it was meant to as we get older.
2. Less wrinkles
Healthier and suppler skin means less fine lines and wrinkles. Collagen is basically having a sip from the fountain of youth.
3. Reduce cellulite
Studies were conducted on women of different ages and those who took collagen for six months showed an improvement in their skin textures including making cellulite, a common problem for a majority of women, become less visible. Since cellulite occurs when a layer of fat pushes up against the skin from underneath thus making it look dimpled and lumpy, collagen, by making skin healthier, can address this problem as well.
List of high collagen rich foods
Now that we know just how much we need collagen, especially as we get older, let's add some collagen-rich food and recipes to our shopping carts, shall we?
1. Bone broth
Since we know that collagen is a protein, it would only be logical that the best source of collagen in food is from meat. But not just the meaty parts of cows or pigs or chicken. Since collagen is an adhesive that connects, the highest concentrations of it to be found in food are in the connective tissues aka the tendons, ligaments, skin, and bones. Slow cooking these to become a bone broth will give you a great supply of collagen in its purest form into your diet.
While tomatoes do not contain collagen, it does have a healthy dose of lycopene which is an amino acid that protects our skin from sunlight. High exposure to the sun damages the collagen in our skin. So this method can actually preserve the existing collagen in our bodies.
Another food that protects collagen is almonds. It is rich in vitamin E which is an antioxidant that works with vitamin C to stimulate our body to produce more collagen. Copper is also abundant in almonds and this is a key ingredient in collagen production.
As mentioned earlier, vitamin C is a partner nutrient of vitamin E in collagen creation. Just like a well-functioning organization, these nutrients meet with amino acids and other elements within our bodies in order to achieve a certain goal: collagen formation.
Not just an aphrodisiac, oysters contain high amounts of zinc, which is another mineral that stimulates collagen development. Furthermore, zinc can actually slow down the entropy of collagen cells in our body.
Sulfur is another mineral that enhances the creation of collagen plus prevents its breakdown. Garlic is rich in sulfur and is beneficial in preserving healthy skin and joints.
7. Dark green vegetables
Mothers always say that the darker green a vegetable, the more nutrients it has. Well, they’re right. As always. These are rich in vitamins C, E and A, all of which are essential in collagen synthesis. Spinach, green beans and broccoli, to name a few, also contain chlorophyll, which the pigment that gives plants their vibrant green color. If consumed by humans, we get the same benefits by having radiant skin.
Carrots are known to be an excellent source of vitamin A which helps repair and restore collagen in our skin. For people who do not fancy this vegetable, don't worry; alternatives to carrots are sweet potatoes, mangoes, squash, cantaloupe, and other orange food except oranges, ironically.
Strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries, along with the other members of the berry family, are rich in vitamin C. They are also antioxidants that fight off toxins from the air, food, and water that we intake that would otherwise destroy collagen cells in our body.
It can be noted from the list above that collagen in its pure form is not readily available in the food we eat, except for bone broth; but to consume food that actually helps to create more collagen for our bodies is a very sustainable alternative. We get to consume food that is rich in so many nutrients plus we get a bonus of collagen synthesis is like hitting two birds with one stone.
Collagen rich foods for vegan
Because many of the fruits and vegetables we eat contain the necessary ingredients to make collagen, vegans and vegetarians alike will not miss out on anything. The following are some examples of food that are rich and collagen and not from an animal product.
We’ve learned that vitamins A, C and E are essential in stimulating our bodies to produce collagen. In order to get high concentrates of these vitamins, eat papaya, berries, almonds, citrus fruits, spinach, pumpkin seeds, carrots and mushrooms. Basically the same list mentioned in the previous section minus the bone broth.
What’s more exciting is that these can usually be blended up and turned into a powerful antioxidant filled, vitamin-overflowing smoothie. Who needs expensive creams and procedures to inject collagen into our bodies when we can make it naturally?
Collagen rich food recipes
For those who are more adventurous in their eating habits (or those who can’t just eat one raw vegetable or fruit alone but must have other value-added ingredients), there are also collagen-rich food recipes that are available to learn and try out.
Honey Banana Protein Pancakes (paleo, gluten-free, nut-free)
Honey Banana Protein Pancakes by Vital Proteins
For breakfast, we’re having pancakes. A protein packed recipe that will help stimulate collagen synthesis in the body.
Ingredients: (for 6 large pancakes)
½ cup full-fat milk
1 large banana, roughly chopped
2 tbsp. raw honey (optional)
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. melted butter, ghee, or coconut oil (plus more for cooking)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
6 tbsp. coconut flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. sea salt
For an extra collagen boost, you can opt to add 2-4 scoops Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides which are usually available in supplement shops
Place all ingredients in a large blender with liquids at the bottom. Blend for 30 seconds to 1 minute until smooth. Let stand for 2-3 minutes to let the coconut flour thicken. Blend on medium speed for 30 seconds. The batter should be thick.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Grease the pan and pour the batter to make pancake shapes. Cook until bubbles form and flip. Enjoy with your favorite butter, honey or maple syrup and fruits.
Lemon Panna Cotta
Lemon Panna Cotta by Savory Lotus
Who doesn’t love dessert? This classic panna cotta recipe comes with a twist to become dairy-free and paleo approved but it is very easy to make.
1 can of full-fat coconut milk
1 ½ tsp grass-fed gelatin
3 tbsp raw honey or real maple syrup
Zest from 2 lemons
1 tsp vanilla extract
Optional: lemon zest for garnish
1. Combine 1 cup of coconut milk and lemon zest in a medium pan and whisk. Bring to just before boiling, turn off the heat, cover and allow to infuse.
2. Pour the rest of the coconut milk into a bowl and add the gelatin evenly over the surface and allow to melt for 10 minutes
3. Once the gelatin is ready, reheat the coconut milk/lemon mixture to just before boiling and add the gelatin mixture while whisking until completely dissolved. Turn off heat.
4. Whisk in the honey or maple syrup and vanilla extract.
5. Strain with a sieve, pour into container and allow to chill until set (at least 4 hours)
6. Remove from cups and serve with garnish (optional)
Tip: When removing molded desserts that have been chilled, heating for a few seconds through direct heat or through a hot water bath will make removal so much easier
Vegetable Beef Broth Soup
Vegetable Beef Broth Soup by Gimme Some Oven
For a hearty and complete meal, this soup contains lean beef, carrots, celery, potatoes, garlic and topped with broth. Feel free to play around with the different collagen-rich ingredients mentioned early on for your own version of this recipe.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1.5 pounds sirloin steak, or beef stew meat cut into about 1″ cubes
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
1 lb. potatoes, peeled and diced
8 cups beef stock
2 bay leaves
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. Italian seasoning, homemade or store-bought
1 tsp. salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Optional: chopped fresh parsley for garnish
In a large pot, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil over medium-high heat. Add half of the steak and cook while stirring frequently for 2 minutes until well browned. Remove the steak and transfer to a separate plate. Add remaining steak and cook until browned and transfer.
Lower heat to medium-low and add remaining oil. Add onions and cook until sweaty for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, carrots, celery, and potatoes and sauté for another 3 minutes.
Add the remaining ingredients and seasonings along with the steak to the pot and stir to combine. Bring to a boil while occasionally stirring. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until all ingredients are tender. Season to taste.
Remove bay leaves when serving. Best served warm.
Collagen is definitely a hot topic in our current events and after reading through this post, we all know why. Aside from being quite essential in our future by helping us not show our real age, collagen is actually available, whether directly or indirectly, in so many of the food we eat. Who knew that collagen was already a subtle part of the diet pyramid. It really is called a balanced diet for the right reasons.