What foods can help boost your collagen production naturally? Read on to learn about the many collagen-boosting foods that you can eat for healthy skin, joints, and bones!
9 Natural Collagen Building Foods
The Importance of Finding Natural Sources of Collagen in Food
Collagen is the buzzword you’ve probably heard from your favorite beauty gurus, health experts, and even friends. Many turn to various sources of collagen in the hopes of reversing the signs of aging.
From moisturizers and cosmetics to supplements, it can be found in just about everything. Collagen and youthful skin are known to go hand in hand, but it actually has several other benefits.
As the most abundant protein in the body, collagen is found in your muscles, bones, digestive system, skin, blood vessels, and tendons. In fact, various cells, especially connective tissue cells, produce collagen daily.
The benefits of collagen are great, but you don’t need to take an animal-based collagen supplement to receive them. Your body produces collagen naturally.
Just as specific supplements and food choices boost collagen production, there are certain things that can contribute to decreased collagen in the body as well. These include unhealthy habits and lifestyle choices, such as smoking, high-sugar diets, and excessive sun exposure.
If you want a natural collagen boost in your body, here are several collagen-boosting foods you can incorporate into your diet:
- Dark leafy greens
- Flax seeds
- Bell Peppers
Why Everyone Needs Collagen-Producing Foods in Their Diet
I didn’t use to pay any attention to natural collagen production whatsoever. All I knew about collagen at the time was it was supposed to help your skin look younger.
I’m in my twenties, so I didn’t think I needed to worry about my skin too much. That’s why I wasn’t interested in learning how to increase collagen formation in the body yet.
About six months ago, I started noticing that I was developing expression lines. I couldn’t believe it. How could I have expression lines in my twenties?
I had a few creases around my eyes and a few lines on my forehead from where I smile so much.
Smiling a lot isn’t normally considered to be an issue, but my expressive face was causing some fine lines to develop.
I tried putting on more moisturizer, applying a hydrating serum, and using a variety of masks, but it looked like my expression lines were there to stay.
I accepted that this must be the price you pay for being happy. Then, I started incorporating collagen-producing foods into my diet and increasing my vitamin C intake.
Not only did my expression lines start to disappear, but I also noticed my joints felt much better after a hard workout.
Collagen is something that everyone needs, and everyone can become deficient in, regardless of age.
Incorporating more collagen building foods in your diet helps you feel and look more youthful. You’ll recover faster from exercise, speed up the wound healing process, and may even notice that your skin looks plumper.
Overall, collagen-producing foods allow you to smile more, exercise longer, and stay healthier.
What Is Collagen?
Collagen is a protein that forms the building blocks for your bones, skin, teeth, muscles, and all your connective tissues. Making up more than a third of your protein, collagen is primarily made from the amino acids glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, and arginine.
There’s a number of different types of collagen, but type 1, 2, and 3 make up between 80% and 90% of the collagen in your body.
Found naturally in the body, collagen is the ‘glue’ that holds the body together. As you age, your body starts producing less collagen naturally.
You have the aging process, stress, processed sugars, too little sleep, pollutants, and pesticides to thank for those pesky wrinkles, loss of firmness, and sagging.
Collagen is essential to your health and helps:
- Promote skin elasticity Hold your muscles and bones together
- Improve digestive health
- Ease joint pain
- Improve sleep
- Prevent bone loss
Eating collagen-boosting nutrients as part of a healthy, plant-based diet can help create beauty from within. By making the right dietary choices and consciously reaching for collagen-promoting foods, you’ll strengthen your bones, joints, skin, and gut.
What Should You Eat to Naturally Build Collagen?
Some of the most common natural food sources of collagen include:
1. Dark Leafy Greens
Vitamin C plays a major role in the production of collagen, and dark leafy greens are filled with it. It’s also an antioxidant that helps fight against free radicals in the body that break down healthy collagen.
Organic leafy greens like kale and spinach are packed with antioxidants and minerals, providing natural energy. The alkalizing effects of kale and spinach also make it ideal for detoxing. Rich in nutrients like vitamins C, A, and K, leafy greens help support the natural production of collagen in the body while fighting free radicals that can damage collagen.
The oxidative stress on the body’s cells can result in rapidly aging skin. Collagen makes the skin more elastic and youthful.
Try eating more leafy greens like spinach, kale, Swiss chard, arugula and beet greens. If you don’t like the taste of leafy greens, try putting spinach or kale in your daily smoothie. The other ingredients will mask the flavor of the greens. Here is a delicious superfood green smoothie recipe to try and get more greens in your diet. Superfood Green Smoothie Recipe
Although you can get collagen building nutrients through your diet, it can be difficult to meet those nutritional needs through diet alone. Plant-based collagen builders can help you meet all your collagen building needs easily and quickly. With Sunwarrior’s Beauty Greens Collagen Booster you can benefit from the anti-aging and skin-glowing effects of collagen while following a plant-based lifestyle.
Who doesn’t love avocados? Whether it’s smothered on toasted sourdough or added to a smoothie, the avocado is a must in any plant-based diet.
Creamy and satisfying, avocados are packed with omega-3 and vitamin E which help fight free radicals. These tasty fruits are a great way to support skin health and boost collagen.
They’re also a great source of healthy fats, so you can use these superfoods as a good source of energy throughout the day.
One study highlighted the essential relationships between the extracellular matrix (ECM) and hair follicle regeneration. This suggests that collagen could be a potential therapeutic target when dealing with hair loss and other skin-related diseases.
3. Flax Seeds
Flax seeds are an excellent plant-based source of omega-3. Omega-3 fatty acids are healthy fats commonly associated with minimizing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
These healthy fats also have collagen-boosting and healthy age-promoting qualities. Flax seeds also happen to be a great source of magnesium, fiber, protein, and vitamin B1. Flax ‘eggs’ are essential in vegan baking, and act as a great binder in egg-free recipes.
Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are all loaded with antioxidants. Eating a handful of berries helps fight those skin-ravaging radicals and boost collagen.
Did you know that some types of collagen fibrils, gram-for-gram, are actually stronger than steel? Collagen can also be used to help heal wounds by attracting new skin cells, promoting healing.
Though it may make your breath a little unpleasant after you eat a lot of it, garlic contains both taurine and lipoic acid, both of which help rebuild collagen. It’s also a fantastic source of sulfur.
Sulfur is a mineral in the body and is crucial in the production of collagen. It helps support the structure of the body’s connective tissues.
Since your bones are made mostly of collagen, when you age and your body naturally produces less collagen, your bone mass can also deteriorate. This may lead to conditions such as osteoporosis, which is often linked with a higher risk of bone fractures.
Fear not, as instead of reaching for a medication, collagen can be used as a natural treatment for osteoporosis and to improve bone health.
Mushrooms contain collagen-friendly zinc, vitamin B, potassium, magnesium, fiber.
Both zinc and copper are minerals that help maximize the function of antioxidants. This leads to better collagen production.
Collagen can be found in your gut’s connective tissues and helps support and strengthen your digestive tract. Problems such as frequent headaches, acne, and constipation can be caused by a leaky gut.
Collagen can help improve your digestive system and heal a leaky gut.
Citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and limes are all high in vitamin C which helps to increase hyaluronic acid levels.
Tomatoes, grapefruit, and oranges are also a good source of naringenin. This compound inhibits the enzyme hyaluronidase, which breaks down hyaluronic acid.
As a result, increasing naringenin intake should reduce the loss of hyaluronic acid.
Next time you want to snack on something, skip the usual sweets and opt for a handful of cashews. They’re rich in zinc and copper, which both stimulate the production of collagen in the body.
On top of that, cashews are filled with healthy fats and protein, so it might help those who want to slim down or add lean muscle mass.
9. Bell Peppers
Spice up your meals with these delicious veggies that increase collagen formation!
The zinc, vitamin C, and anti-inflammatory properties in these peppers complement the health benefits of collagen. All these nutrients together might be able to combat the negative effects of premature aging on the skin.
Plus, they’re very easy to incorporate into your diet. Just chop up a few of them and use hem in salads, fajitas, soups, stews or superfood stuffed peppers.
Take a Collagen-Building Supplement Instead of Collagen (From Animals)
Collagen is created by humans and animals from specific amino acids and is stored in the bones, joints, ligaments, and other connective tissues.
Collagen supplements are by-products from the bones, skin (hides), and connective tissue of animals, including cattle, fish, horses, pigs, or rabbits.
Collagen is a hard, fibrous, insoluble protein, making it very difficult to be used by the body.
This is also true for topical uses of collagen, because the molecules are so large the skin is unable to absorb the collagen.
The body generates its own collagen if it is given the proper building blocks.
Collagen is made from amino acids (primarily Glycine, Proline, and Hydroxyproline) and is absorbed with the essential assistance of Vitamin C.
Most people don't get enough collagen-building nutrition to fully resupply their storehouse.
For this reason, Sunwarrior created Plant-Based Collagen Building Protein Peptides with hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, biotin, and silica from bamboo extract.
Every product Sunwarrior develops, we look to—and work with—nature.
Here’s what’s inside:
Organic Pea Protein with Complete Amino Acid Complex
Organic Rice Protein Peptides (Hydrolyzed)
Hydrolyzed protein peptides are smaller molecules that are easier to absorb.
- Organic Sea Buckthorn
- Organic Spirulina
- Trace Minerals
- Silica from Bamboo
- Hyaluronic Acid
- Organic Tremella Mushroom
- Organic Leafy Green Blend (Kale & Spinach)
- Organic Vitamin C from Amla
With the building blocks for collagen, your body has the resources to:
- Tighten & Smooth Skin
- Burn Fat & Build Muscle
- Reduce Wrinkles
- Strengthen Hair & Nails
- Regain Healthy Joint Function
- Hydrate Skin Cells
- Decrease Inflammation
- Repair Intestines/Leaky Gut
- Regenerate Cells
- Improve Memory Retention
- Lower Bad Cholesterol Levels
- Increase Bone Density
These Collagen Building Protein Powders can be taken daily. Add it to your protein shakes, smoothies, coffee, plant-based milk, or water.
Sunwarrior’s vegan collagen building peptide powder includes everything you need to support your body’s own production of collagen.
Instead of putting animal-derived external collagen into your body, this supplement focuses entirely on naturally boosting your body’s production of collagen. Mix the peptide powder into a smoothie for a delicious, healthy treat.
You don’t need to take an animal-based collagen to increase the collagen levels in your body. In fact, all you really need is the nutrients needed for your body to produce its own collagen, and then your body takes over and does the rest for you.
Learn more about plant based collagen building protein peptides in this video from Sunwarrior:
Collagen is an important protein the body produces to help keep skin tight hasten wound healing, and repair tissues, among others. You can speed up collagen synthesis and production by taking collagen powder supplements and eating foods that naturally boost collagen levels.
To maximize the benefits, make sure you lead a healthy lifestyle by eating whole foods, exercising and getting plenty of rest. After all, unhealthy lifestyle choices are one of the causes of decreased collagen production in the body.
What are your favorite natural collagen food choices? Share your diet with us in the comments section below!
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on February 22, 2019, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.