There’s no doubt you’ve heard the word “collagen” repeatedly when it comes to skin health and appearance. Collagen and elastin are the building blocks for firm, youthful-looking skin and as we age, we tend to lose both over time, which can result in more wrinkles, fine lines, and a less taut complexion. That’s why so many skincare products boast collagen as a top ingredient and why collagen supplements and powders are all the rage. But which collagen-rich products do the most for your skin? Turns out you can incorporate several beverages and foods into your diet that can support your skin and help boost collagen production.
“Our bodies need vital nutrients to be able to produce them naturally,” said Nina Wawryszuk, a wellness and beauty expert for Natu.Care. “Besides positively impacting our skin, this protein improves bone health and heart function. There are several foods that you can incorporate into your diet to enhance the production of collagen. Although, for individuals following a vegan diet, it is more challenging to eat collagen-rich foods, as collagen comes from animal sources. Thankfully, many ingredients can help in our body’s natural collagen production.”
Start with these two beverages and foods that Wawryszuk recommends for more youthful skin.
A nutritious broth from animal bones that contain high levels of collagen, bone broth is rich in iron, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus that support healthy joints and bones, Wawryszuk says. “It is recommended to drink one cup of bone broth (around 250ml) that contains about 5 grams of collagen for maximum benefits.”
Although spirulina does not contain collagen, Wawryszuk says it is an excellent source of amino acids, such as proline and glycine, that are important for collagen production and help keep the skin firm and wrinkle-free. You can also easily add a scoop of spirulina to smoothies to boost your nutrition.
“Collagen is synthesized in the presence of vitamin C,” Wawryszuk said. “Therefore, the diet must include fruits and vegetables rich in this vitamin. Additionally, incorporate amino acid-rich foods to increase natural collagen production. The best source of vitamin C and amino acids are oranges, broccoli, red peppers, kale, and strawberries.”
It’s not a beverage, but snow fungus (also known as Tremella fuciformis) is an ingredient that induces the production of collagen in our bodies, according to Wawryszuk. “The polysaccharides in this mushroom improve skin collagen synthesis, which minimizes fine lines and wrinkles and boosts elasticity, leaving the skin more plumped and moisturized,” Wawryszuk said. “It originated in Asia and has been popular for centuries for its medicinal and anti-aging properties. I recommend trying snow fungus soup, which is often part of the menu in some Asian restaurants, or going grocery shopping at one of the Asian shops and getting the ingredients for the soup. You can cook it with red dates and dried longan for a sweet flavor.”
“Most popular and used in supplements around the world, marine collagen is present in the entire body of the fish, apart from cartilaginous tissues,” Wawryszuk said. “It can slow aging, improve skin elasticity, and prevent fine lines from forming.”
For Vegetarians and Vegans:
If you are vegetarian or vegan, don’t be discouraged — an ideal option for you will be a collagen substitute that is 100% made of vegetable protein. “Hydroxyproline comes from the cell walls of green algae,” Wawryszuk said. “With the proper diet, we can also stimulate the production of collagen. Genistein is one of the essential substances influencing the production of collagen in a vegetarian and vegan diet. This substance belongs to the group of isoflavones. It slows down the decline of collagen and elastin that occurs with age. Its natural sources are, among others: soybeans, red clover, lentils and legume seeds.”