Collagen is a complex protein, in charge of giving strength and flexibility to the skin, joints, nails, and hair. It acts as a glue substance that holds your body together. Your body produces collagen all by itself, thanks to taking in foods that are rich in gelatin.
Gelatin comes from collagen, is largely made of amino acid and proline, and can be found in bones, fibrous tissues and animal organs.
As we age though, the body starts to produce less collagen, which leads to wrinkles, saggy skin and weakened joint cartilage. By the age of 60 a decline of collagen production is normal; but women in particular, experience a dramatic reduction after menopause.
Collagen can be broken down, converted and absorbed back into the body. You can get it in a form of capsules, liquid, powder and protein-rich foods. Good repairing of collagen can help reduce the appearance of cellulite, strengthen bones to help prevent osteoporosis and promote nail and hair growth.
It is often said that “the skin you have in your 20s you’ve inherited, in your 40s is what you’ve earned and in your 60s is what you deserve.” The factors that will ultimately determine this fate, include:
- UV-rays: excess exposure can cause long-term damage to your skin.
- Too much dietary sugar robs your bones of minerals and weakens your skin’s elasticity.
- Smoking can cause wrinkling and accelerate ageing, as nicotine in cigarettes can reduce blood flow to organs. This deprives the skin of nutrients and oxygen.
Boost your collagen with food:
- Fish like tuna and salmon are packed with Omega-3 fatty acids. These will create stronger cells that will be able to support your skin structure.
- Dark leafy greens like spinach and kale are rich in Vitamin C that can protect your skin from free radicals that weaken collagen. It can help accelerate your collagen production too.
- Red vegetables like beetroot, peppers and tomatoes have an antioxidant that can protect your skin from the sun.
- Berries are strong antioxidants that protect your skin from free radicals.
- Soy products can promote collagen production and help block enzymes that can age your skin.
- Citrus fruits are loaded with Vitamin C that helps amino acids convert to collagen. They also help neutralise free radicals that are harmful for your skin.
- Egg whites are a good source of protein that will help support your body’s natural collagen production.
- Garlic is a source of sulfur which is an abundant and necessary mineral in your body. It also contains properties that can help rebuild collagen fibres that have been damaged.
- Bone broth: When you cook bones, the collagen inside them is broken down, making it more digestible.
It’s important to note that topical creams claiming to restore collagen are not necessarily credible. Collagen molecules are too big to be absorbed by the skin. So, before jumping on the lotion and potion bandwagon, get repairing from the inside out with a bone broth!