Collagen — it’s more than a buzzword in the wellness community. Recently, collagen has become the superstar ingredient in everything from facial creams to packaged beverages, and there’s a reason why we can’t get enough of it. Healthy collagen levels are essential to support all areas of the body, including healthy joints and flourishing skin.
That being said, your collagen production can dwindle for various reasons, and supplementation might be the right solution for you. Here’s a full run-down of why collagen supplement is so important and how to maintain optimal levels of this vital protein as you age:
What is collagen and why is it important?
Let’s start with a quick refresh on the basics of collagen. Collagen is the most abundant protein in our body, providing structural support for our tissues. It’s what keeps the body flexible, sturdy, and strong. To help you visualize what collagen does for your body, consider this: the word collagen comes from the Greek word kólla, or glue. So imagine collagen as the glue that holds your bones, skin, muscles, tendon, and cartilage together.
But if you’re curious about how exactly collagen benefits us, you don’t need to look far. Just look at your skin! Nowhere else are the benefits of collagen more obvious. Collagen makes up 70% to 80% of your skin, and thanks to its reinforcing structure, your skin stays hydrated, plump, and smooth.
This also means that decreasing collagen production can have a noticeable effect on your skin’s appearance. As your collagen stores drop, your skin becomes less elastic, contributing to more pronounced wrinkles and a more weathered look.
Why do we start losing collagen?
Collagen loss is natural. As we age, we inevitably produce less collagen; this changes our skin texture or appearance. Decreasing collagen production can start around the age of 20, and you may even produce about 1% less collagen every year by the age of 40.
Age isn’t the only way you lose collagen. If you spend copious amounts of time in the sun, you’re at a higher risk of experiencing collagen loss. Aside from age, sun exposure is the biggest culprit of decreased collagen. The UV rays from the sun can cause oxidative stress that breaks down collagen, destroying your skin’s integrity. Additionally, smoking tobacco-based products can prevent you from maintaining healthy collagen levels.
This brings us to the crucial question: what can we do about this? Fortunately, you have several options for collagen supplementation. Certain foods can encourage better collagen production (we’ll get to that later). Plus, you can even try collagen powder to supplement your body's natural supply. With increased age, you’ll need as much support as possible!
3 Easy-to-Find Foods to Boost Your Collagen Levels
At any given moment, your body is producing collagen. But if you’re looking to help your body along in this process, you can start by eating the right foods. Incorporate the following options into your daily diet to support optimal collagen levels:
1. Bone broth
Bone broth is a popular option for those looking to boost their collagen levels. This is because bone broth supplies gelatin, which can break down into collagen in the body.
There are plenty of options for adding bone broth to your diet. Bone broth is made by simmering the bones of the animal of your choice (beef, chicken, turkey, or pork bone broth is the most common), but if you want to get right to the good part, you can even find it at your local grocery store. Some people choose to drink bone broth in the morning, or you can even add other ingredients to create a full meal. Whether homemade or premade, trying bone broth as a collagen supplement is easy.
2. Bell peppers, oranges, and strawberries
Vitamin C is a must-try for collagen supplementation. This vitamin stimulates collagen production and acts as a powerful antioxidant. This means it reduces the damaging effects of excessive exposure to sunlight and protects your skin cells from the oxidative stress that breaks down collagen.
Luckily, you have an abundance of options to add more vitamin C to your diet. Try these fruits and vegetables, which are loaded with vitamin C:
- Bell peppers
- Oranges (and any other citrus fruit)
You can try any of these fruits or vegetables in a refreshing salad during the summer months. Or, try new soup recipes with these three or more of these foods for the colder months. There’s no right or wrong way to eat your fruits and veggies — do what works for you.
3. Nuts & seeds
Nuts and seeds are popular health foods for their ability to supply you with healthy fats; they also offer a hidden gem for collagen production: copper. In the body, copper helps us produce red blood cells, as well as collagen.
A few specific nuts and seeds that contain copper include:
- Sesame seeds
- Sunflower seeds
Grab a handful of nuts and seeds as a snack on the go, or throw it on your salads for added texture to your salads.
Try NatureWise Enhanced Collagen Peptides
In addition to your collagen-boosting foods above, collagen supplements are another way to support the body's natural collagen stores. Collagen supplements are being studied extensively for their efficacy, but results are increasingly promising. In one study, oral collagen supplements were found to increase skin elasticity, hydration, and dermal collagen density. Another study found that consuming hydrolyzed collagen for 90 days contributed to an improvement in skin elasticity.
So, if you want to explore the world of supplements, we suggest trying NatureWise Enhanced Collagen Peptides. This unflavored powder is formulated with hydrolyzed bovine collagen peptides sourced from non-GMO, grass-fed cows. Plus, this unique supplement is supercharged with ingredients that encourage increased absorption of amino acids, vitamins, and minerals:
No matter your age or how you prefer your skin to look, collagen supplementation benefits your overall wellness. You'll enhance your quality of life through healthy eating and lifestyle choices; plus, you'll encourage better collagen production for healthy-looking skin. We think you’ll enjoy the journey!