The Glue Protein
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. Structurally, it is a tightly-packed, fibrous protein that connects tissue, holding us together. Collagen is predominantly found in our bones, muscles, skin and tendons, providing strength and structure, but it also coats fragile organs for added protection.
Internally, collagen works toward reducing joint pain and degeneration. Although strong, its flexible, gel-like texture absorbs impact between joints and allows us to move smoothly without pain—increased levels have been shown to help those with rheumatoid arthritis. It’s also been said to boost metabolism, because it can help add lean muscle mass to the body, and it’s beneficial for cardiovascular health, digestive processes and liver function.
Collagen has amazing effects on hair and skin. Increased levels promote skin cell renewal and repair, keeping skin moisturized and looking firm and smooth. It can also reduce the chances and severity of cellulite and stretch marks, two problems that both arise when elasticity decreases. In addition, studies show that collagen strengthens nails and reverses signs of hair loss.
The Bad News
Ok, so—here’s the bummer: age. As you get older, your body doesn’t create and maintain the levels of collagen it once did. Thanks to the degenerative process, our skin begins to wrinkle and sag and joint pain increases due to weakening cartilage. But luckily, you have options.
What You Can Do
There are numerous ways to get the collagen your body needs, but the best way is by incorporating it back into your diet. Here are some all-natural foods that either contain collagen or boost its production.
Bone Broth: A huge source of natural collagen—mainlines into the cells.
Leafy Greens: Protect against free radicals that break down collagen.
Red Veggies: Boost collagen levels and protects against sun damage.
Fish: Helps protect the fatty membrane around skin cells.
Citrus Fruits: Aid production of collagen.
Beans: Help retain collagen by boosting the body’s ability to produce hyaluronic acid.
Garlic: Rebuilds collagen fibers that have been damaged.