There’s been a lot of press about collagen lately – for its joint restoring properties, for gut healing, and how it might benefit the ageing process.
But WHAT is collagen, and why is it so important?
Without it we would literally be a puddle of human with no structure. It forms the most abundant protein in our bodies, and it’s the glue that holds us together and helps to give our body structure.
Produced by linking amino acids together to form strong yet flexible fibres, it is found in many different arrangements in the body – in the skin and joint tissue, cartilage and bone, blood vessels and gut lining. Wound healing and scar formation are all thanks to collagen.
It has many health benefits including:
- Reduces the signs of ageing and wrinkles in the skin
- Promotes strong and flexible joints
- Prevention of leaky gut
- Reduction of cellulite appearance
- Strong hair, skin and nails – nature’s anti-wrinkle treatment!
- Healthy sleep and reduced anxiety
- Fast tissue and joint repair
It is predominantly made up from amino acids such as glycine and proline found in protein foods in our diet. As we age, we naturally decrease our production. After the age of 30, this production reduces by 1% to 2% each year.
Along with the natural ageing process, exposure to free radical damage from pollution, chemicals and the sun means our existing collagen is broken down at a faster rate. And so we have the formation of wrinkles, sagging skin, and loss of joint integrity.
So what are the top 10 food sources to naturally boost production?
- Bone broth – literally a bowl of condensed animal or fish bone and connective tissue, this is the best and most absorbable source. A sign of a good bone broth is one that gels when cooled – this means it is high in collagen
- Berries, kiwi and citrus – provides the vitamin C to promote production of our own. Also high in antioxidants to prevent free radical breakdown of our existing collagen
- Yellow and orange foods such as sweet potato, carrots, pumpkin, mangoes – gives us the Vitamin A we need for optimal cell structure and free radical scavenging
- Omega 3 sources such as oily fish and grass fed meat for the anti-inflammatory and cell membrane support, also provides a good source of glycine, proline and vitamin A
- Eggs – the whites are an excellent protein source of glycine and proline, with collagen boosting choline found in the yolk
- Sulphur foods – eggs, poultry, onions, garlic, cruciferous veggies (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower) forms the structural production of collagen
- Avocado, almonds, sunflower seeds provide us with vitamin E, to prevent breakdown and to protect healthy cells
- Pepitas, oysters, red meat and fish rich in collagen co-factor zinc
- Chlorophyll rich foods – dark green leafy veg, chlorella, spirulina – as well as being nutrient dense and full of antioxidants, chlorophyll increases pro-collagen, a precursor to collagen formation
- Antioxidants – all brightly coloured fruits and veggies, leafy greens, green tea, to combat free radical damage and slow the ageing process
Do you suffer from weak joints? Leaky gut? Poor sleep? Or do you want to slow down the ageing process? Increasing intake of collagen rich foods and precursors may be your solution.
Nutritionist Karen Ball can do a dietary review of your collagen status, and to teach you how to best incorporate collagen boosting foods into your diet for optimal health and wellness. Book HERE