Collagen is the connective substance that holds people and all other animals together. On the outside, collagen increases elasticity in the skin and strength in the hair. Inside, collagen has a wide range of benefits from strengthening the walls of your internal organs to increasing the tensile strength of your tendons and ligaments. There are a lot of ways to get collagen into your diet, but the old ways of our ancestors are mostly gone by the wayside. We don't much eat the chewy connective tissue in meat, stew up organ meats, or make sausage from the less edible meaty regions. But we can still get a healthy dose of collagen by eating foods with both collagen and the building-blocks of collagen production inside your body.
To increase collagen in your body, you need to either eat collagen directly or eat its building blocks. Those blocks are amino acids, V vitamin C, zinc, and copper. Let's dive into the top 11 foods for boosting your own collagen production.
1. Egg Whites
Eggs are full of the building blocks of life. While most eggs won't become baby chickens, every egg ready with all the right nutrients should they be called upon to build an entirely new little creature. Egg whites, in particular, include a large portion of proline. Proline is one of the amino acids (proteins) that is essential to build collagen inside your body. Eating plenty of egg whites will fuel you up on collagen-building amino acids.
2. Handfuls of Berries
Berries are extremely good for you for a wide number of reasons. One is that they are high in Vitamin C, the same vitamin best known in citrus fruits. Vitamin C is one of the basic elements of collagen production and berries tend to concentrate this vitamin. Berries also feature a rich dose of antioxidants and some berries have a higher zinc content, doubling their collagen-building power.
3. Whole Fish
Fish meat has very little collagen in it, but there are many snacks and meals that invite you to eat the entire fish cooked soft and delicious. Maybe you enjoy a tin of anchovies over your pizza or eaten whole on a party night. Or maybe you love the taste of a whole trout caught fresh from a nearby lake. Or perhaps your favorite restaurant serves a mean whole-fish dish that is as tasty as it is stunning. Eating the skin, eyes, and other parts of the fish beyond the meat are where the natural collagen comes from.
4. Leafy Green Vegetables
Leafy green vegetables that you might use as a base for your salad are extremely good for you. Especially if you stray past lettuce into the realms of spinach and kale. These foods are not only rich in Vitamin C, they also feature zinc and copper, a tripple-hitter for generating new collagen inside your body.
5. Stews Made with 'Stew Meat'
Eating meats with connective tissue introduces collagen into your body, but this is a challenge for many recipes. Stew is an exception. Stews made with 'stew meat' aim to soften the ingredients and blend the flavors until the entire stew is one delicious experience. Using meat cuts with connective tissue in the cubes includes collagen in your stew recipe and makes for a richer flavor in the broth.
Garlic is one of the few things we eat that is high in sulfur. This is a trace mineral that is useful in generating your own collagen and breaking down the collagen that you eat into new useful collagen cells. Garlic helps best when eaten in large doses, so if you really like garlic in your cooking then you're in luck. Double the garlic in your recipes and enjoy the kick in flavor and health at the same time.
Shellfish have two benefits. First, their segmented bodies package the collagen right in with the meat which is why many shellfish like shrimp have a slight crunchy or chewy sensation. In addition, shellfish and especially oysters are high in zinc which adds a natural collagen builder to a supply of ocean life collagen.
8. Bone Broth
Bone broth is the number one way that humans used to get collagen in our diets. This is done by boiling fresh bones and slices of bone. The collagen in the bone and connective tissue will boil into the water, making it thicker and provide a strong meaty flavor. The broth will become rich with collagen and if you drink it, you can quickly introduce natural collagen into your system.
9. Citrus and Tropical Fruits
All fruits from the tropical region are high in Vitamin C and some also feature additional key building blocks like zinc and copper. Exotic tropical fruits like guava, kiwis, pineapple, and mango have good concentrations of Vitamin C in the fruit segments. Guava is also known to include more than a trace amount of zinc to boost your internal collagen production.
10. Colorful Vegetables
As you may have guessed, colorful vegetables ranging from tomatoes to bell peppers are also surprise-sources of vitamin C, zinc, and sometimes copper. The more color-diverse your produce diet is, the easier it will be to produce collagen from its natural building blocks. Decorate those leafy green salads with colorful vegetable slices, stew up colorful veggies, or even fry and dip them.
11. Mixed Nuts
Last but not least, don't forget handfuls of nuts. Nuts are high in protein which makes them a good source of certain amino acids that can be useful for producing collagen. More importantly, nuts are a good source of zinc and copper because nuts tend to carry trace earth minerals. Cashews are particularly well known for their zinc content if you're trying to increase your natural production of collagen.
Consuming Collagen vs Producing Collagen
The two ways to boost collagen in your body are to consume animal collagen and to eat a diverse diet of collagen building blocks. The best approach is to do both. Seek out animal collagen supplements from natural grass-fed sources that only use one type of protein at a time like Native Path. Combining collagen supplements with whole fish, bone broths, and a wide variety of produce is the best way to significantly increase the healthy collagen in your body keeping your skin, hair, and internal tissues strong.
For more insights on physical health through a balanced natural diet, contact us today!