The Benefits of Collagen
If you’re seeing collagen powder, collagen protein bars, and collagen shakes everywhere around you these days...there’s a reason for it. Turns out, collagen has AMAZING health benefits...like smoother skin, less wrinkles, and a healthier gut, to name a few (more on that later in this post). To understand why you need more collagen in your diet, let’s take a look at what it is, how it works, and how to get more of it.
What is collagen?
Simply put, collagen is the most abundant protein found in your body. Collagen keeps your skin resilient and gives it more elasticity--preventing wrinkles and other skin problems. Think of collagen like the “glue” that holds your body together. It’s the reason your skin moves when you move, and bounces back into place after you touch it. And without collagen, your skin, blood vessels, and tendons become fragile. Which is why you need a LOT of collagen--30% of your body is made up of collagen already. Unless, that is, if you have a…
Collagen Deficiency: How Does It Happen and How Do You Know If You Don’t Have Enough?
If you see wrinkles in your face, if your joints and bones get achey, if your gut is leaky, and if your cuts and wounds heal slower than they used to….you may have a collagen deficiency.
How does this happen?
Well, there are a couple reasons. Here are some of the possibilities:
- It’s quite common for your body to produce less and less collagen as you age. It just happens naturally. So, it’s important to note that your body doesn’t destroy collagen when you’re older.
- If your skin comes into constant contact with free radicals, you’ll see the damage in your skin. Things like smoke, pollution, and overexposure to the sun gives you exposure to these free radicals.
- Your body is lacking antioxidants that prevent collagen destruction. A combination of Vitamin E and Coenzyme Q10 is just what your skin needs to fill your body with antioxidants--and keep the collagen in your body.
- If you have a medical condition that prevents your body from absorbing particular vitamins and nutrients, this could lead to collagen destruction. Or, if you have a Vitamin C deficiency, your body may not even be producing collagen as much as it should.
Needless to say, if your body is low on collagen, it shows up in your face, skin, nails, teeth, and bones. And it happens naturally, especially as you age. However, you can get more collagen in your body naturally.
In addition to the mixture of Vitamin E and Coenzyme Q10, there are many collagen supplements (like my refreshing Orange Collagen Cooler or Chocolate Almond Collagen Shake!) you can take daily to strengthen your skin and hair. I recommend these over skin creams because they tackle the root cause skin problems--not covering them up like concealer or skin cream! Plus, there are so many more benefits to collagen, even beyond tightening your skin. As it turns out...
Collagen Fights Inflammation and Supports Bone, Skin, and Gut Health
The nutritional benefits of collagen are endless, which is why I recommend you get more of it in the foods you eat. Remember that “I” word I keep talking about? If you guessed collagen fights it off, you are 100% right!
Fights InflammationI must repeat myself over and over to get my point across--inflammation is the root of almost every illness. So if your body is inflamed, you are at risk for debilitating diseases...you’re unable to lose weight...and your signs of aging might be showing more than you’d like. The effects of amino acids in collagen--mainly, amino acid glycine--is three-fold:
- Anti-inflammatory: Collagen is loaded with gelatin (basically cooked collagen), a gut-healing nutrient. It protects the gut from bad bacteria causing a sick, leaky gut and extinguishes chronic inflammation at its source.
- Immunomodulatory: Enhances immune response to treat diseases by protecting your body against shock from hemorrhage, endotoxin and sepsis. Finally, collagen diminishes liver and renal injury caused by toxicants and drugs.
- Cyto-protective: Combats or prevents ulcers by protecting gut mucosa. Collagen also helps blood flow to your heart, liver, kidney, intestine, and skeletal muscle.
Needless to say, collagen does a whole lot for your gut and vital organs. It keeps your gut strong and protects you from harm and disease!
Stops or Reverses Skin Aging
I’ve already clued you in on collagen’s amazing skin benefits. Whenever anyone asks me what my secret is to looking years younger than my age, I don’t tell them it’s genetics. I simply reply, “bone broth!” That’s because bone broth is packed with collagen that your skin craves. Remember, as you get older, your body produces less collagen, which gives you these visible signs of age. And here’s the proof.
A recent study found women who took collagen supplements saw a MAJOR improvement in wrinkle reduction, moisturized skin, and skin elasticity. Plus, in clinical studies, collagen showed significant anti-photoaging effects. Meaning, you can get rid of those sun spots on your skin simply by taking collagen regularly. I know I’m guilty of getting a little too much sun sometimes, which is why I make sure I get my collagen--to keep my skin even! So say goodbye to those skin creams and concealers. Taking collagen makes your skin glow naturally and erases your wrinkles for good.
Eases Your Joint Pain and Deterioration
When people try my 21-Day Bone Broth Diet, so many rave about their hip pain vanishing, or their arthritis improving (like being able to make a fist again!), or being able to bend their knee without pain. That’s because my Bone Broth Diet is filled with collagen-packed foods (like bone broth, of course!). And that’s not surprising. Collagen is proven to promote healthy cartilage tissue and support osteoarthritis pain.
The clinical studies show it, too. Collagen reduces pain in osteoarthritis patients with knee or hip pain because their blood concentration of hydroxyproline (a major player in collagen stability) increased. Even healthy athletes who are hard on their bones see a reduced risk of joint deterioration. That’s every athlete’s nightmare--their joints giving out on them. If that happens, their career is practically over. But you don’t have to be a professional athlete to enjoy joint benefits of collagen.
In fact, it’s best to start before you even have a problem, so it’s not too late down the line!
Heal Your Wounds and Fractures Faster
I’m sure you don’t plan on breaking any bones any time soon...and I sure hope it doesn’t happen to you. And as for wounds, well, I’m in the kitchen a lot during batch cooking days. And I love me a sharp knife that can cut through a spaghetti squash like butter. Even though I’m insanely careful, I get some minor battle wounds in the kitchen every so often.
Unfortunately, that’s how these things happen--unexpectedly. Which is why I always like to be prepared. As if the benefits of collagen weren’t enough--it also speeds up the healing process for wounds and bone fractures. Remember how I mentioned collagen is like the glue holding your skin together? Picture this: if you have more “glue” in your skin, a hole in our skin will repair faster.
And because your skin elasticity is stronger, the cut may not be as long or deep as it could’ve been, thanks to collagen. You know when you get a papercut on your finger and it absolutely stings whenever you wash your hands? Well, if you’re full of collagen, you won’t have to deal with that TOO long. Healing times matter, people!
Improves Muscle Strength
Don’t worry, taking collagen won’t make you look like a professional bodybuilder overnight. Trust me, I used to be a bodybuilder, and that was a lot of work. If you’re taking collagen along with some resistance training, you’ll see improved muscle function and muscle mass. Meaning, you’ll be stronger at the gym and you’ll see more muscle definition. You’ll see the tone in your muscles you work so hard for! Okay, so now that you know what collagen does for your body, you may be wondering…
How Can You Get More Collagen Into Your Diet?
Forget about botox. There are plenty of delicious and nutritious foods out there packed with collagen. My favorite? Well, bone broth, of course! On my Bone Broth Diet, you sip on bone broth a couple times a day during mini-fast days, so you pack your body with collagen and take years off your face.
Beyond bone broth, there are plenty of collagen supplements you can add to your coffee or favorite beverage or use as a protein source in your protein shakes. I love collagen shakes--on a hot day, it's perfect when I just want to treat myself to something tasty (I’m talking “tastes-like-cheating” tasty!) and healthy. And if you’re already filling your body with collagen, make sure you’re giving them a hand with these nutrients that ensure you reap collagen’s full benefits:
- Vitamin C: This vitamin is vital for the synthesis of collagen. If you don’t have enough, your body won’t make any collagen. Eat foods rich in vitamin C like tomatoes, citrus fruits, kiwis, papayas, bell peppers, and broccoli.
- Tons and tons of veggies: I recommend eating tons of veggies for just about everything. And dark, leafy greens like spinach and kale have antioxidants that protect you against free radicals that destroy your precious collagen. Red veggies like beets (and tomatoes and red peppers) are full of lycopene, which boosts collagen and protects you from sun damage. Orange veggies like carrots and sweet potatoes are loaded with vitamin A, which restores collagen that’s been damaged.
- Get enough sulfur: Sulfur isn’t just that stinky stuff from science class. Sulfur is a major player in collagen production, so get enough of it! Eggs, broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, onions, shallots, leeks, and cabbage are all rich in sulfur.
- Add copper to your diet--but just a little: Copper activates an enzyme that plays a critical role in collagen production. It’s also an antioxidant that helps protect your collagen once it forms. But don’t actually eat copper. Eat nuts, shellfish, and red meat.
- Drink white tea: White tea packs a big punch when it comes to fighting lines and wrinkles. Research shows it helps thwart the activities of enzymes that break down collagen and a skin protein called elastin.
- Berries: Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries...they’re all loaded with antioxidants that fight free radicals while boosting collagen.
- Garlic: Garlic offers lipoic acid and taurine, which both help rebuild damaged collagen. (Plus, it contains sulfur!)
So, if you’re serious about fighting wrinkles, start incorporating these 7 foods in addition to bone broth and a high-quality collagen powder. It’ll make your skin look years younger, and make you slimmer, healthier, sexier, AND happier!
Keeping thinking Big and living BOLD!