5 Best Foods To Eat for Increased Collagen Intake
Collagen has become increasingly popular over the last decade. As people have become more interested in health and wellness, they have turned to collagen supplements to support their skin, joints, and overall health.
While collagen supplements can be convenient ways to support collagen production, there are also some foods you can incorporate into your diet to have the same effect. Some foods contain nutrients essential for collagen synthesis, while others help support existing collagen.
Whether you're looking to improve the appearance of your skin or support joint health, collagen-rich foods are a great addition to any diet.
What Is Collagen?
You may have heard of collagen referred to as the "glue" that holds our body together, but what exactly does that mean? Collagen protein is made naturally in the body and is crucial for maintaining healthy skin, bones, and joints.
Natural collagen supports skin elasticity, helping it stay supple and youthful-looking. It also supports the structure of our bones and joints, enabling us to move without discomfort. However, our body's collagen production tends to decrease as we age, which can lead to wrinkles, sagging skin, and joint discomfort.
To counteract this natural decline, many people turn to collagen supplements or foods that can help boost their collagen intakes, such as foods rich in vitamin C and leafy greens. From collagen powders to food sources, there are plenty of ways to ensure you're getting enough collagen to support your overall health and wellness.
What Are the Health Benefits of Collagen?
While our bodies naturally produce collagen, aging and other factors can lead to a decline in collagen production. In this section, we'll explore the health benefits of collagen and how supplementing with collagen can help support joint health, digestion, and hair, nail, and skin health.
Encourages Joint Health
Natural collagen can provide support and cushioning to minimize bone-on-bone friction. Natural collagen production decreases with aging, and less collagen can contribute to joint pain and stiffness. Supplementing with dietary collagen may support joint health and flexibility, making it a popular choice for athletes and those withjoint conditions.
Collagen is an essential component of the gut lining, helping maintain its integrity. Gut health is vital for digestion and nutrient absorption, and collagen can help support the gut lining and soothe irritation to promote gut health.
One study even suggests collagen supplements may help soothe digestive discomfort in healthy women.
Helps Skin Look Younger
Collagen is responsible for the elasticity and strength of skin, making collagen-rich foods helpful for those looking to fight signs of aging and maintain a youthful appearance.
The natural production of collagen slows down when aging, which can lead to the development of wrinkles, fine lines, and sagging skin. Supplementing with collagen may help minimize these signs of aging by supporting skin elasticity and hydration.
We’ve always known that a healthy diet is the cornerstone of an effective skincare routine — and now we have the proof to back it up!
Promotes Hair and Nail Health
Collagen contains amino acids, which are essential building blocks for keratin, a protein that is the main component of hair and nails. Collagen supplements can support keratin production and minimize breakage to support hair and nail health.
Because of this, consuming a collagen supplement may have effects on hair thickness, scalp coverage, hair growth, nail growth rate, and reduced frequency of broken nails.
How Much Collagen Should You Take Daily?
The recommended daily dose of collagen varies depending on the form of collagen you’re taking and the specific health condition you are trying to address.
These recommendations can include:
- For joint health: Doses of ten grams can help support joint health.
- For skin health: Doses of 2.5 to five grams can help support skin health.
Of course, it's best to consult your healthcare professional for personalized medical advice before incorporating new dietary supplements into your routine.
What Are the Best Collagen-Rich Foods?
Incorporating collagen-rich foods into your healthy diet can be an excellent way to improve collagen production in your body. Fortunately, plenty of food sources of collagen are available at your local grocery store.
Minerals like copper and zinc are essential for collagen synthesis and can be found in oysters, shellfish, nuts, and seeds. Foods high in amino acids like glycine and proline can also support collagen production. These amino acids are found in bone broth, meat, fish, and eggs.
Let's explore some of our favorite foods that can support collagen production.
Bone broth is a nutritious and delicious liquid made by simmering animal bones and connective tissues like ligaments for an extended period. This process breaks down the bones and tissues, releasing all sorts of amazing nutrients like collagen, gelatin, amino acids, minerals, and more into the broth.
Even more amazingly, collagen and gelatin are both superabundant in bone broth. Collagen is our hero protein, while gelatin is a cooked form of collagen that can help support the gut lining, joints, and bones. This makes bone broth a delicious and rich source of collagen that you can easily incorporate into your daily routine.
If you want to incorporate bone broth into your daily routine, try Dr. Kellyann's Bone Broth. It's made from only the highest-quality ingredients and is a convenient way to get all the benefits of bone broth in one delicious cup.
You can add it to your favorite recipes like soups, stews, and sauces, or simply sip it as a warm and cozy beverage. Personally, we love drinking a steaming cup of bone broth in the morning and evening.
Organ meats like liver, heart, and kidney are often called "superfoods" because of their high nutrient density. But these organs are also excellent sources of collagen and other essential nutrients.
Liver meat, for example, is rich in vitamins A, D, E, B, and K, iron, and zinc. Vitamin A is vital for maintaining healthy skin and supporting mucous membranes for collagen synthesis. Meanwhile, vitamin D can help the body absorb calcium for bone health, and vitamin E is an antioxidant that can protect against damage caused by free radicals.
Heart meat is another excellent source of collagen and nutrients. It is high in coenzyme Q10, which is significant for energy production, and selenium, which is beneficial for thyroid health. Another nutrient-dense organ is the kidney, which contains high levels of vitamin B12. This vitamin is vital for nerve and brain health.
While organ meats may not be as popular in modern diets as they once were, they are still an excellent source of collagen and many other essential nutrients that can help support overall health.
You may not be a fan of the taste or texture of organ meats, but fear not! There are many delicious ways to incorporate them into your diet. One easy method is to blend them with ground beef or chicken for a tasty and nutrient-dense burger or meatball. These blends also taste amazing in chili.
You could also try marinating them in flavorful herbs and spices or slow-cooking them with veggies to make them more palatable.
Berries and citrus fruits are not only delicious but are also excellent sources of vitamin C, a nutrient essential for natural collagen production.
Vitamin C is crucial for converting proline and lysine, two amino acids found in collagen, into hydroxyproline and hydroxylysine, which are essential for collagen synthesis.
Berries are also loaded with antioxidants, such as anthocyanins, flavanols, and vitamin E, that can work together to prevent damage caused by free radicals. These unstable molecules can damage cells and tissues, including collagen, leading to premature signs of aging, wrinkles, and sagging skin.
Incorporating berries into your diet is a tasty way to support collagen production and healthy skin. Some examples of berries exceptionally high in vitamin C and antioxidants include strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries.
Fish skin and bones are rich in type I collagen, the most abundant collagen in human skin. Type I collagen provides structure and support to the skin by maintaining its elasticity and firmness. Consuming bone-in fish or using fish skin in cooking can be a great way to support your natural collagen production.
Some fish are more nutritious than others. For instance, specific types of fish, such as salmon, tuna, and cod, are typically better sources of collagen. Other fish that are high in collagen include sardines and trout.
Additionally, fish is a healthy source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and other nutrients that can benefit overall health. However, it is essential to note that consuming too much fish or taking fish collagen supplements may have potential risks, so it’s best to run any new additions to your supplement routine by a qualified healthcare professional.
Egg whites are low-calorie and are a fantastic source of high-quality protein and essential nutrients, including vitamins B2 and B12, selenium, and choline. One large egg white contains only about 17 calories and less than one gram of fat while providing about 3.6 grams of protein.
Their high proline content makes egg whites especially beneficial for collagen production. Proline is a vital amino acid required to produce collagen — without it, your collagen production may not be able to keep up.
Some popular ways to add egg whites to your diet include making omelets, scrambled eggs, egg white protein shakes, or using egg whites as a substitute for whole eggs in baking recipes.
Egg whites and egg white protein powder can also be made into zero carb bread. They are versatile and easy to incorporate into various dishes, making them an excellent option for anyone looking to increase their collagen intake.
Do Collagen Supplements Increase Collagen Intake?
Collagen supplements are amazing! They are designed to be easily absorbed by your body, providing a concentrated dose of collagen peptides that can work wonders for your skin, hair, nails, joints, and gut.
However, not all collagen supplements are the same, and the quality and effectiveness of the supplement can vary depending on the source of collagen and the manufacturing process.
You can feel good about adding Dr. Kellyann's Collagen supplements to your diet because they’re made with grass-fed bovine collagen. Just add them to your smoothie, coffee, or your favorite meal to enjoy the benefits of collagen.
The Bottom Line
By incorporating these collagen and nutrient-rich foods into your diet, you can support your body's natural collagen production and reap the many benefits of balanced collagen levels.
Adopting a healthy and balanced diet that includes nutrient-dense whole foods doesn’t just help support collagen production — it can also support your overall health and wellness. With so many delicious options available, there's never been a better time to start incorporating these foods into your daily routine. Your body will thank you for it!
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Database
Efficacy of Vitamin C Supplementation on Collagen Synthesis and Oxidative Stress after Musculoskeletal Injuries: A Systematic Review | PubMed
Current Insights to Collagen Type I | PubMed
Proline Precursors and Collagen Synthesis: Biochemical Challenges of Nutrient Supplementation and Wound Healing | PubMed
Effect of a Daily Collagen Peptide Supplement on Digestive Symptoms in Healthy Women: 2-Phase Mixed Methods Study | PubMed
Collagen Supplements for Aging and Wrinkles: A Paradigm Shift in the Fields of Dermatology and Cosmetics | PubMed
Oral supplementation with specific bioactive collagen peptides improves nail growth and reduces symptoms of brittle nails | PubMed
Oral supplementation of specific collagen peptides has beneficial effects on human skin physiology: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study | PubMed
24-Week study on the use of collagen hydrolysate as a dietary supplement in athletes with activity-related joint pain | PubMed