Beautiful, youthful skin. We all want it, and try to reverse the signs of aging.
The foundation of youthful skin hinges upon the protein collagen. Collagen gives skin elasticity, firmness, resiliency, and suppleness to the skin. As we age, production starts to decrease leaving us with sagging and thinning skin.
Looking to maximize collagen production and guard it from breaking down, slathering on creams, oils, or serums are not enough. Most of it starts with what’s on your plate.
You are what you eat.
Every organ reacts to the foods and nutrients we eat. Remember, skin is the body’s largest organ so of course it will react too. When someone eats well and has proper hydration it shows. Many of the foods to focus on are plant based. The high water content of fruits and vegetables is hydrating to skin, which prevents sagging and dullness.
Avoid consuming refined carbohydrates and refined sugars, as well as fried foods. Sugar has been cited in studies as causing collagen to become almost unrepairable by cross-linking fibers. Prevention is key. So once again health comes back to fruits and veggies, and laying low on the sugars.
Here are a few foods to eat for a collagen diet:
Vitamin C Rich Fruits and Vegetables
Vitamin C is not only great for immunity health, but amazing for the skin as well. It neutralizes skin damaging free radicals which causes collagen breakdown, and thus aging. Most importantly it facilitates the production of amino acids that are major components of collagen. Dark greens, like kale, spinach, and asparagus, and broccoli, as well as citrus foods are full of Vitamin C.
Lean Organic Protein
Just like our muscles, collagen relies on protein for repair and production. Why does collagen use protein? Protein is needed to produce any strong fibrous tissue in the body. Lean meats, nuts, and seafood are all great sources of protein. Want a food that does double duty? Eat those egg whites. They not only contain protein, but are also rich in crucial collagen building blocks, lysine and proline.
Load up on the Lycopene
Normally the color red and skin are not a good combination. In this case red is not a bad thing. Red vegetables like beets, tomatoes, and red peppers contain lycopene, an antioxidant that has been shown to protect skin from the sun and increasing collagen production. Want something a little sweeter look to watermelon, papaya, and grapefruit.
Chocolate can firm your skin. No, you didn’t read that wrong. Cocoa is high in zinc. Stick to the dark kind, think dark baking chocolate bars. Zinc repairs damaged cells, protects collagen and elastin, and reduces inflammation, aiding in the collagen production process. If you are like me and do not eat chocolate, find zinc in wheat germ, pumpkin and squash seeds, spinach, white mushrooms, and oysters.
As we learn more and more about collagen, how nutrition plays into building and preserving collagen, we will see more collagen infused supplements hit the market. Just look around it’s a popular trend right now! Before just grabbing any old powder take a second and learn about some of the health benefits of collagen protein.