Lately collagen has been getting a lot of press as an important addition to a healthy diet. Collagen is the main structural protein found in hair, skin, nails and connective tissue. It is the most abundant protein in the body and is made up of the amino-acids glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, and arginine. Your body produces collagen on its own but as we age this production slows down. Smoking, unhealthy diet and sun exposure may also contribute to a slowing of collagen production. Here are some of the reasons collagen is important for your body.
Collagen composes over 70% of the protein in our skin, contributing to the skin’s elasticity and flexibility- think less wrinkles and a healthy, glowing appearance.
Collagen is an important protein in the ligaments and tendons that connect our muscles and bones together. Studies have shown that increasing your collagen intake may help reduce joint pain and mitigate symptoms of arthritis.
Increasing your collagen intake may also help with building muscle.
Collagen is an important component of the lining of your gut. Increasing your collagen intake may help build up the tissues that line your gastrointestinal tract, decreasing the chances of leaky gut syndrome, an inflammatory condition that may contribute to a whole host of symptoms like joint pain, diarrhea, fatigue, headaches, sugar cravings and brain fog.
The best way to add collagen to your diet is by brewing up a
batch of bone broth.
Bone broth can be made by simmering organic bones in water for 1-2 days to draw out all the vitamins, minerals and collagen hidden in the bones. This broth can be used as a base for soups or consumed on its own.
If you don’t have time to make bone broth or don’t want to buy it, you can supplement with collagen peptides. Hydrolyzed collagen (or “collagen peptide”) powder is relatively flavorless and dissolves easily in smoothies, beverages, soups and sauces. Many people add it to their morning coffee.
There are no vegan sources of collagen but focusing on eating a variety of nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables should help you get the amino acids, enzymes, vitamins, and minerals you need for your body to produce and protect its own collagen.
How will you add this vital substance to your life?