Collagen is the main structural protein in various connective tissues in a person’s body. It is responsible for skin elasticity. So if you notice developing wrinkles, it is a signal that your body’s level of collagen has been reduced. Keeping a good diet is one of the ways to slow down the protein-breaking process.
Here at Enlighten, we love taking care of ourselves and we want to share a list of foods that you can eat in order to prevent the premature aging of your skin. In order to understand all this even better, we will start with an explanation of what collagen is.
Collagen is sometimes called “glue” because our body would simply fall apart without it.
Like we’ve said before, collagen is a protein. It is 30–40% of the entire protein material in our bodies. Collagen keeps the skin young, but it can also be found in oils, hair, joints, and intestine tissue. There are 16 types of collagen. The most widely spread (90%) consist of only 3 types. Collagen type I and type II are found in the skin, bones, and tendons; collagen type III is also found in the joints.
The human body can produce the necessary amount of collagen on its own. However, after the age of 25, the level of its natural production starts to slow down. This is the time when the first wrinkles may appear, followed by arthritis. And now, let’s take a look at what we should eat in order to prevent this from happening.
Meat broth and fish
Marco Verch / flickrMatt Baume / flickr
- Bone broth is probably one of the best food options because all other foods just stimulate the production of collagen. This broth contains the bioactive form of the protein which the body can start using immediately. Beef broth is full of collagen type I which is really beneficial for skin health; turkey and chicken broth contain collagen type II that supports joint function. Bone broth should be consumed every day (6-12 oz).
- Salmon contains zink and minerals that stimulate collagen production. Additionally, its omega-3 fats hydrate the skin which helps to keep it young-looking. It’s recommended to eat salmon 2 times a week (4-5 oz).
Vegetables, fruit, and berries
Permavultur / flickrForest and Kim Starr / flickr
- Green vegetables are the best foods to prevent different diseases. They can also prevent a premature collagen breakdown. All green vegetables contain chlorophyll that increases the amount of procollagen in the skin. Chlorophyll protects the skin from harmful UV-radiation and free radicals that also lead to skin aging. The amount of vegetables you should eat depends on your physical activity: the more you move, the more you can eat. If you are active for more than 30 minutes a day, you can easily eat 3 bowls of vegetables, if you move less, eat 2.5 bowls.
- Citrus fruit contains Vitamin C which helps the amino acids to produce proline. Proline is a necessary chemical for collagen production. Vitamin C also protects the body from the toxins in the environment. In order to get a good dose of vitamin C, you should eat 2 servings of fruit a day.
leis18 / flickrSharon Al-Momani / flickrhesadevil / flickr
- Tomatoes contain lycopene, an antioxidant chemical that protects the skin from UV-light. Lycopene also stimulates the synthesis of collagen. In order to get more of lycopene, you need to bake the vegetable, and an even better option is to choose tomato juice. You should drink at least one glass a day.
- Avocado is a product that contains vitamin E which helps to prevent the breakdown of collagen in the body. Additionally, avocado contains beneficial fats that are good for the skin — and avocado oil increases the production of collagen. Specialists recommend eating half of an avocado, but be careful and pay attention to the way your body reacts to certain foods.
- Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and cranberries all contain ellagic acid which is necessary for the body to prevent the breakdown of collagen caused by UV-light. Berries also contain vitamin C. The portion you should eat every day depends on your age: an adult person (older than 18) can eat up to 2.5 oz a day.
Michael / flickr
Eggs are a product that like bone broth, contain collagen itself. Your body can get it right from the yolk. Eggs also contain sulfur which is necessary for the production of collagen and liver detoxication. This means that the toxins that destroy collagen are removed from the body. However, you shouldn’t eat too many — 2 eggs a day is enough.
Thomas Cizauskas / flickrMind Terms / flickr
- Pumpkin seeds are a source of zink that stimulate the production of collagen. The foods that contain zink slow down the breakdown of the protein. Also, zink increases the speed of skin regeneration which is necessary for healthy skin. Fried seeds are the best choice because they contain more healthy substances. 2 tablespoons a day can be added to salads.
- Chia seeds contain omega-3 fats that stimulate the rejuvenation and hydration of skin cells. The skin becomes smooth. An adult person should eat up to. 7 oz of seeds per day. You can add them to cereals, smoothies, or baked goods.
Your diet isn’t all that matters — your lifestyle does too.
The foods from this list can surely support the necessary level of collagen but you should also remember that aside from age, collagen production is influenced by:
- a dirty environment
- a lot of refined sugars and fried food in your diet
How do you support the health of your skin? Tell us in the comment section below!